This documentary runs to around an hour and a half, and has apparently been meticulously researched. It remains to be seen, though, how seriously it is to be taken.
This one-off documentary screened by ITV is currently on iplayer, for those who can receive it. It is a no-expenses-spared production, and - apart from serving and former presidents - speaks to all the major players. However, the first question we should ask is, How much credibility should we give a documentary that begins with a bare-faced lie?
Osama Bin Laden was not the mastermind of September 11; it is quite likely he contributed towards its finance, and he more than anyone else inspired it, if one may speak of mass murder as being inspired. And was the raid on Bin Laden's compound really daring? Not for US Navy SEALs armed to the teeth, though it could have sparked a major diplomatic incident, and would have if so many of Pakistan's leaders weren't in Uncle Sam's pocket.
Al-Qaeda is referred to as "The Base"; an alternative translation is the toilet. Former counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke says the didn't even know what the organisation was called. This is hardly surprising because it was the Americans who came up with the name Al-Qaeda. It is also not true that Al-Qaeda is an organisation in any meaningful sense, the often used term "network" is more accurate, although even that misses the mark, rather it is a movement, and one that has developed the concept of leaderless resistance to a fine art. The big difference, though, is that leaderless resistance as originally conceived was to be used against a tyrannical government - and its willing servants - not against innocent civilians.
Clarke said too they were flabbergasted that the CIA was not allowed to kidnap Bin Laden from the Sudan during the Clinton years. Amazing isn't it, security agencies are obliged to act within the law? Or they were. Now it seems the President may order, without due process, the murders of people who have been designated terrorists, as he did Bin Laden, and as he has now done to at least one American citizen.
For all its faults, this documentary is worth watching, and we should never forget that the West and indeed the world is facing an enemy who is not only totally ruthless but devoid of all humanity, including towards the Moslems it claims to be saving from the Great Satan.
Also, inadvertently or otherwise, it exposes the real villain in the Bush Administration. When the American Government had recovered from the initial shock and was deciding when and where to strike, it was Paul Wolfowitz who chirped up with the suggestion of linking the attacks to Iraq. The first reaction of the President was, if not outright anger, then certainly negative. If Bush had stuck to his guns, countless billions of dollars saved would have been the least of our blessings. There would have been no invasion of Iraq, no massive loss of American lives and countless Iraqi ones. The Middle East although turbulent would not have descended into chaos. There would probably have been far few terror attacks elsewhere - including 7/7 in Britain - and we wouldn't now have these other lunatics trying to goad the US into attacking Iran.
Right at the end, the film contains some snapshots of the bodies of those killed in the raid on Bin Laden's compound, but not of the man himself, which begs the question why not? At least that would have helped put to rest the claims by the conspiracy mongers that he is still alive - or was killed ten years before.