Americans’ long-standing belief that our country was invulnerable to a terrorist attack changed forever on a wintry Friday morning four years ago. On Feb. 26, 1993, New York’s 110-story twin World Trade Center towers were rocked by a devastating bomb explosion. Six people died and 1,000 more were injured.
A year later, four Muslim extremists - all followers of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a Muslim cleric who viewed the United States as an enemy of the Islamic world - were sentenced to life imprisonment for that crime, as was Abdel Rahman in a separate trial last year on conspiracy charges.
HBO’s latest movie, “Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center Bombing,” which airs Saturday, chronicles the often unbelievable behind-the-scenes story of how these men eluded investigators before the bombing and then wound up being caught by the FBI and the New York Police Department.
“It’s a very striking story,” offers co-producer Alasdair Palmer. “You are seeing things in the movie that you haven’t seen before. One thing that comes out clearly is essentially how easy it is, in any free society, for a small group of very determined and ruthless individuals to wreak appalling havoc through bombs.”
“Path to Paradise” depicts the FBI as being aware of the extremists before the bombing but failing to realize just how serious and deadly they were. Agents weren’t the only ones who blundered, however. The sheik’s followers were disorganized and rocked by infighting. They made several major mistakes, including one that ended up saving lives and preventing more destruction: They parked the truck with the bomb in the wrong area in the World Trade Center garage.
Peter Gallagher (“To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday”) and Marcia Gay Harden (“Spitfire Grill”) star as FBI agents John Anticev and Nancy Floyd.
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