On September 11, 2001, deep inside a White House bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney was ordering U.S. fighter planes to shoot down any commercial airliner still in the air above America. At that moment, CIA Director George Tenet was meeting with his counter-terrorism team in Langley, Virginia. Both leaders acted fast, to prepare their country for a new kind of war. But soon a debate would grow over the goals of the war on terror and the decision to go to war in Iraq. Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others saw Iraq as an important part of a broader plan to remake the Middle East and project American power worldwide. Meanwhile Tenet, facing division in his own organization, saw non-state actors such as Al Qaeda as the highest priority. . It is the third documentary about the war on terror from the team that produced "Rumsfeld’s War" and "The Torture Question."
Amid revelations about faulty prewar intelligence and a scandal surrounding the indictment of the vice president's chief of staff and presidential adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to investigate the internal war that was waged between the intelligence community and Richard Bruce Cheney, the most powerful vice president in the nation's history. In "The Dark Side," FRONTLINE tells the story of the vice president's role as the chief architect of the war on terror, and his battle with Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet for control of the "dark side." FRONTLINE’s investigation of the ensuing conflict includes more than 40 interviews, thousands of pages of documentary evidence and a substantial photographic archive and provides a step-by-step examination of what happened inside the councils of war.