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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

9/11 Spokesmodel

by digby

Now that we know "The Path to 9/11" is not actually based on the 9/11 Commission report, it is probably a good idea to take a look at what is actually was based on (aside from the fevered wingnut dreams of its creative team.) ABC had optioned a couple of books for the project. The first is called "The Cell" co-written by John Miller, formerly of ABC's 20/20. It follows the story of John O'Neill, who is played by the star of the movie, Harvey Kietel.

Miller, you'll recall, is the ABC spokesmodel who left the network and went directly work as the head of counterterrorism for the LAPD. This was, as you might imagine, something of a shock to the locals, who expected that their new counterterrorism chief would be someone who had at least a tiny bit of law enforcement experience. LA, after all, is a serious terrorist target, having been the destination of the thwarted Millenium plot. We take our terrorism quite seriously here.

He gained quite a reputation:

When was the last time a top LAPD official made the tabloid's gossipy Page Six? Umm--never? But John Miller, the ex-TV journalist brought in by chief William Bratton to head up the local anti-terrorism fight, makes the New York Post over his rocky reception here in Los Angeles.

"New Yorker and former ABC anchor John Miller is having a hard time fitting in at his new job with the Los Angeles Police Dept. Miller, who was hired by his pal Bill Bratton to be the LAPD's head of counterterrorism, is technically a civilian...When notoriously nightlife-loving Miller showed up to a crime scene at Club Lingerie on Sunset Boulevard, a fellow officer quipped, "So John, did you really respond to the call? Or were you here already?"

This was the real kicker:

Miller, the ex-ABC reporter who chief William Bratton found a $157,000-a-year job at the LAPD — as anti-terrorism boss and head of the Critical Incident Management Bureau, despite no cop experience — has enough trouble being taken seriously by LAPD officers and by journalists in town. On Thursday, his burden got heavier. He was stopped at LAX with a loaded gun in his computer bag and briefly detained before boarding a flight to New York with his wife and child. The LAPD-issued .38 and a license to carry it are two of the perks Bratton gifted Miller with to go with the job. (Miller was Bratton's PR spokesman back at the NYPD). Miller was allowed to go ahead and fly to New York to celebrate Barbara Walters' retirement, but he may face a fine and the wrath of his sponsor. At an evening press conference, Bratton said:

"I talked to John when he was on the plane, and he was incredibly embarrassed for himself, for his family and for the department. Apparently, he was moving things around from one case to another when he was packing and he forgot the gun was there."

He gets the gun back when he returns. But if you're inclined to forget where you put a loaded handgun, should you really be one of only about 100 civilian Angelenos licensed to carry one? The chief quipped, "I'm confident that he did not try to smuggle a weapon on the plane, that he and his family did not plan to hijack a plane and fly off to Cuba or something." L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News, N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post

Even in Lala-land, having a showbiz counter-terrorism chief running around carrying loaded weapons on airplanes was a bit much.

LAPD chief Bill Bratton's anti-terrorism commander, John Miller, has turned in the handguns he was caught with while boarding at LAX a few weeks back. Miller, the ex-ABC newsman who Bratton brought when he came here from New York, also gave up the department-issued Chevy Tahoe with lights and siren. Apparently everyone agreed the PR downside wasn't worth the upside, and the official line is Miller voluntarily surrendered the perks.

After showering himself in ignominy for a few years here in LA, he is now doing PR for the FBI. He is a member of the Bush Adminstration. You can see why ABC isn't advertising the fact that their soap opera is partly based on his work.