Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 29: Episode 16
Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste…..Fred Armisen
Richard Clarke…..Darrell Hammond
Jamie S. Gorelick…..Rachel Dratch
John F. Lehman…..Chris Parnell
Announcer: We now resume our live coverage of the hearings by the committee investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks already in progress.
Commissioner: Mr. Clark you have told this committee that despite repeated request you were not granted a private meeting with the President to discuss the terrorist threat until the 15th of August 2001 is that correct?
Richard Clarke: That’s Correct.
Commissioner: Can you describe to the committee what went on at that meeting?
Richard Clark: I told the president that in my opinion Al-Qaida represented an absolutely urgent threat to our national security but that no one in the administration would listen to me.
Commissioner: And what was his response?
Richard Clark: He said that he didn’t see how addressing the Al-Qaida threat would benefit the wealthy then he offered me a beer.
Commissioner: Did you accept?
Richard Clark: No. I told the president that it was a little early in the day for me to be drinking and that frankly he ought not be drinking either.
Commissioner: What happened next?
Richard Clark: The President opened a bottle of beer and started to drink it and for the next hour or so I just watched him drink beer after beer.
Commissioner: What did you and the president talk about?
Richard Clark: Mostly the president wanted to talk about …beer. About how much he enjoyed drinking it, and how he liked to drink as much beer as he could whenever he could.
Commissioner: Did you ever return to the subject of terrorism?
Richard Clark: Yes after the president had finished drinking all the beer on hand…which was alot. He told me that because of the enormous quantity of beer he drank he couldn’t remember what we were meeting about. So once again I brought up the urgency of dealing with Al-Qaida.
Commissioner: And do you recall his response?
Richard Clark: Vividly. He said Al-Qaida, Al shmata. And then passed out on his desk.
Commissioner: Did you attempt to revive the president in order to continue urging him to take the threat from Al-Qaida seriously?
Richard Clark: I was about to but the door opened and Karl Rove came in.
Commissioner: And what was his reaction?
Richard Clark: He sourda of laughed and said not to worry about it. This sourda think happened all the time.
Commissioner: And since the president was unconscious did you raise with Mr. Rove your concerns about the terrorist threat.
Richard Clark: Yes I did.
Commissioner: And did he listen?
Richard Clark: No, he simply said, “Terrorist threat, shmerrorist shmeat.” Then warned me that if I told anyone what I had seen in the room I would end up “like the others.”
Commissioner: So Mr. Rove was in the habit of having members of the White House staff murdered.
Richard Clark: Yes, it was a regular practice.
Commissioner: That’s something that certainly bears further investigation but unfortunately I see my time is up.
Chairman of the Commission: Mrs. Gorelick.
Jamie S. Gorelick: Now Mr. Clark after this incident you were never again allowed a private meeting with the president. Is that correct?
Richard Clark: Correct.
Jamie S. Gorelick: But about 10 days later on the 25th of August 2001 you did meet privately with Vice-President Cheney.
Richard Clark: Yes.
Jamie S. Gorelick: What happened at that meeting?
Richard Clark: I told the vice-president that no one in the administration was taking me seriously. But, I was convinced that some kind of Al-Qaida attack was imminent.
Jamie S. Gorelick: And your warning turned out to be eerily prophetic didn’t they.
Richard Clark: Yes. Yes they did.
Jamie S. Gorelick: And did the vice-president say anything in response?
Richard Clark: He told me that I worried too much…that I had a very handsome face. And that when I looked…I looked more handsome when I smiled. And then he…touched me in what I considered an inappropriate manner.
(Jamie S. Gorelick looks dazzled and shocked)
Jamie S. Gorelick: Mr. Clark I can see this is difficult for you but I must ask you why wasn’t the incident with the vice-president not mentioned in your book?
Richard Clark: I felt that under the circumstances it was more appropriate to withhold that information for my next book.
(Jamie S. Gorelick nods her head)
Jamie S. Gorelick: Mr. Clark I thank you for your testimony.
Chairman of the Commission: Mr. Lehman.
John F. Lehman: Mr. Clark apart from the matter of terrorism, where there any other issues where you felt the White House failed to listen to your warnings.
Richard Clark: Yes, although not as important as the Al-Qaida threat.
John F. Lehman: Could you elaborate?
Richard Clark: Well, last October during the 7th game of the playoffs between the Yankees and the Red Sox I became convinced that Pedro Martinez needed to be pulled after the sixth inning. I felt strongly that he was losing his stuff and that without pressure from the White House the Red Sox manager would leave him in and the consequences would be disastrous. But I couldn’t get through to the president.
John F. Lehman: And I guess you’d say that once again your warnings turned out to be prophetic didn’t they.
Richard Clark: Yes, yes they did.
John F. Lehman: Anything else.
Richard Clark: Well, when I learned that Janet Jackson was going to do the Super Bowl Halftime Show I tried desperately to get the White House to intervene. I just had a bad feeling about that one. And I was right.
(John F. Lehman nods his head)
John F. Lehman: Uh huh.
Richard Clark: Also I tried for years to get somebody to clean the White House gutters, they’re absolutely filled with leaves. That it’s an accident waiting to happen. But, don’t get me started on the White House maintenance department.
John F. Lehman: Alright, very good. Well I have no further questions and unless Mr. Clark you have anything to add.
Richard Clark: No, those are the main points.
John F. Lehman: Alright, in that case I suggest this committee adjourn.
(camera shows actual footage of 9/11 hearings as announcer begins to speak)
Announcer: This concludes our coverage of to fays hearings of the committee investigating the September 11th terrorist attacks we know return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
Submitted by: Roman R. Silva