I thought with all the apparent lack of interest in Iraq/ Aghanistan/9.11-type movies that Against All Enemies, a film based on former terrorism czar Richard Clarke‘s novel about the failures of the Clinton and Bush administrations to stop the terrorist plotters who eventually brought about the 9.11 attacks, was dead. Indeed, Variety‘s Michael Fleming has reported that Columbia Pictures, “[which] had been developing the project, put it into turnaround last month.”

But the guys who run Capitol Films (i.e., the owners of ThinkFilm) have picked up the project and and are raising financing, and if and it all comes together Robert Redford (whose troubled Lions for Lambs opens on 11.9) has agreed to direct.

I ran a piece in April 2006 about James Vanderbilt‘s adaptation of Clark’s novel — a “gripping, pared-to-the-bone screenplay, which Paul Haggis was going to direct with Sean Penn as Clarke.

It has a 24-page opening sequence that kills in terms of tension and psychological suspense, showing the White House staffers in turmoil on the morning of 9/11. Then it rewinds back to start of Clarke’s government career in the late ’70s (when he was in his late 20s) and takes us on a journey of gradual discovery as Clarke learns more and more about the Mujahdeen, Islamic fundamentalists, offensive Jihad, “Usama” bin Laden and so on.

Then it’s back to 9/11 and Clarke’s confusion when the Bushies decide to use the attacks as an excuse to go to war with Iraq, and then his leaving the White House and writing his book and delivering his rant before a Congressional 9/11 committee, and finally his apology…even though he’s arguably the least guilty guy in the Washington establishment as far as 9/11 negligence is concerned.