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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
9/11 drama loses out in ratings
Harvey Keitel in Path to 9/11
Harvey Keitel starred as FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill
A controversial TV series about the 11 September attacks was beaten in the US ratings by an American football game.

Path to 9/11 drew criticism from aides to former US President Bill Clinton who claimed it was misrepresentative, despite last-minute changes.

However, only 13 million viewers watched Sunday's drama, compared with 20.7 million for the NFL game.

Mr Clinton "made the choice that most Americans made" and watched the game, said a spokesman.

There is, throughout the screenplay, a consistent bias and distortion
Richard Clarke, former White House head of counter terrorism
The two-part ABC drama starred Harvey Keitel and Donnie Wahlberg, and was also shown on BBC Two in the UK.

'Consistent bias'

Former White House head of counter terrorism Richard Clarke, who served under Mr Clinton and was President Bush's crisis manager on 11 September, denounced the programme as "egregious distortion".

Mr Clarke who now works as ABC's national security consultant, said the drama did a "deep disservice" to officials in both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

"There is, throughout the screenplay, a consistent bias and distortion seeking to portray senior Clinton administration officials as holding back the hard-charging CIA, FBI and military officers who would otherwise have prevented 9/11," he said.

"The exact opposite is true,"

President Bill Clinton
The two-part drama ties in with the fifth anniversary of the attacks
The Clinton Foundation claimed the docu-drama "chose fiction over fact and entertainment over education" by misquoting Clinton administration officials.

The foundation released a four-page document outlining three elements of the programme which it claimed were misrepresentative of real-life events.

Programme disclaimer

ABC was wrong to suggest the Clinton administration was "reluctant to kill" Osama Bin Laden, it said.

I think they did a pretty good job
Thomas Kean, 9/11 Commission
The broadcast version of the programme featured a disclaimer, which was aired three times, emphasising that it was not a documentary.

One of the film's backers was Thomas Kean, a co-leader of the 9/11 Commission, which investigated the 11 September attacks.

He told the National Press Club on Monday night that he thought it had been a responsible project.

"I think they did a pretty good job," he said.

The first episode of Path to 9/11 drew two million viewers on BBC Two on Sunday night.




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