THOMAS KEAN: Good morning. We will now resume our reconvened 9/11 Commission hearings. For the purposes of this sketch, I would like to remind everyone that we are dispensing with formalities, including boring opening statements, and questioning is limited to such time that will result in short, mildly humorous outbursts.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to point out, for the record, that 9/11 was all George W. Bush's fault and any attempt to try to deflect the blame elsewhere is not going to be tolerated!
THOMAS KEAN: Mr. Ben-Veniste, you have stated that very thing now about 500 times since this commission has reconvened! Your position has been duly noted in the record. Now please, if you don't mind, can we continue? We will now swear in today's witnesses. Vice-Chairman Hamilton, will you do the honors?
LEE HAMILTON: Raise your right hands. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the half-truth, the innuendo, the dodge, the outright falsehood, or whatever else it takes to make yourself look good and displace all blame for anything that might be unethical, immoral or criminal, to someone you find to be politically expedient, so help you God?
WITNESSES: I do.
THOMAS KEAN: To start the questioning off today, the Chair recognizes Ms. Jamie Gorelick.
JAMIE GORELICK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question for Ms. Gorelick. Ms. Gorelick, did you ever erect a so-called "wall" between the Department of Justice and the Intelligence community, as has been alleged by some?
JAMIE GORELICK: (Runs across the room quickly to sit at the witness table.) I am sorry, Ms. Gorelick, I have no recollection of that. I am not very good with masonry, so I would have to say, in all likelihood, that the answer would probably be no.
JAMIE GORELICK: (Runs back to the Commissioner's table.) Thank you, Ms. Gorelick.
JOHN LEHMAN: Mr. Chairman, I must object! Having the witness direct questioning to herself is ridiculous!
THOMAS KEAN: That's okay, Mr. Lehman, thank you for your concern, but we decided long ago by keeping Ms. Gorelick as a member of this commission that we would give up any hope of looking anything short of ridiculous. Please proceed, Ms. Gorelick.
JAMIE GORELICK: I yield the balance of my time to Mr. Ben-Veniste. (Runs back to the witness table.)
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Ms. Gorelick, would you agree that all the blame for 9/11 lies with President George W. Bush and his Administration and no one else?
JAMIE GORELICK: (Out of breath.) Yes... yes I would!
THOMAS KEAN: The gentleman's time is expired. The Chair recognizes Governor Thompson.
JAMES THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to address my question to our mystery witness. What may we call you, sir?
MYSTERY WITNESS: (Face completely obscured by yellow post-it notes.) Call me... "Mr. Danger."
JAMES THOMPSON: "Mr. Danger," is it true that you and other members of your team had uncovered evidence that a terrorist cell, involving the coordinator of the 9/11 attacks, Mohammed Atta, was operating in the United States well before the events of 9/11, and that your findings were kept from being followed up on by a so-called "wall" that had been erected...
NETWORK NEWS ANCHOR: I think we should interrupt here, while nothing of much importance is being discussed, and take a moment to review Ms. Gorelick's testimony.
ANALYST #1: Yes, I believe that what Ms. Gorelick had to say was key to this entire proceeding. It now must be glaringly obvious to anyone who heard her testimony, that the Bush Administration is entirely at fault for 9/11.
ANALYST #2: Yes, I must agree with that assessment. That was masterful questioning on the part of the brilliant Richard Ben-Veniste! I also think that when Ms. Gorelick informed everyone how she could never have erected a wall due to a lack of masonry skills, it put that issue to bed once and for all. The Republicans are now left without a leg to stand on here!
TOKEN CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: I must respectfully disagree, all that we saw was more of the same artful dodge from a former member of the Clinton Administration, whose very presence on this committee is a sick joke!
NETWORK NEWS ANCHOR: Okay, I believe anything that could have been damaging to the Clinton Administration's reputation has been safely obscured by our yammering, so we can now return you to live coverage from the hearing.
JAMES THOMPSON: I would like to thank you for your very revealing testimony here today, "Mr. Danger."
THOMAS KEAN: The gentleman's time is expired. The Chair recognizes Congressman Roemer.
TIMOTHY ROEMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question for Ms. Reno. How are you today, Janet?
JANET RENO: I'm fine, Congressman, thank you for asking.
TIMOTHY ROEMER: That's wonderful, Janet. I yield the balance of my time to Mr. Ben-Veniste.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Ms. Reno, did you or any members of your staff put some sort of "wall" in place that impeded communication between departments?
JANET RENO: Mr. Ben-Veniste, as you must know, my only job as Attorney General was to protect the Clintons' behinds. I have no recollection of any sort of "wall" being erected. As I recall, most of the people in the Justice Department worked in cubicles.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Ms. Reno, who was the President of the United States on September 11, 2001?
JANET RENO: I believe, to the best of my recollection, that would be George W. Bush.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Of course it was, Ms. Reno. Would you therefore agree that all of the blame for 9/11 lies with President George W. Bush and his Administration and no one else?
JANET RENO: I have no problem with that statement.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Ms. Reno...
THOMAS KEAN: The gentleman's time is expired. The Chair recognizes Mr. Fred Fielding.
FRED FIELDING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a few more questions for "Mr. Danger"...
NETWORK NEWS ANCHOR: I think we should interrupt here again to discuss Ms. Reno's testimony.
ANALYST #1: Janet Reno was simply brilliant! Just brilliant! Again, I think the point has been driven home that 9/11 is all George W. Bush's fault, and no one else's!
ANALYST #2: I again concur. Ms. Reno's testimony is a slam dunk for the Democrats. Things are looking very bleak for Mr. Bush, I must say. The attempts to deflect any of the blame for 9/11 away from Mr. Bush just went down in flames! Mr. Ben-Veniste reminding everyone who the President was when the attacks took place, that sealed it! Absolutely brilliant strategy from an absolutely brilliant lawyer!
TOKEN CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: My God! What are you people watching? This whole thing is a sham! Why are we not allowing people to hear the testimony from the team member from Able Danger...
NETWORK NEWS ANCHOR: Sorry to interrupt, but I am being informed that, once again, the coast is clear, so let us now return to the floor again for more live testimony.
THOMAS KEAN: The gentleman's time is expired. The Chair recognizes Senator Bob Kerrey.
BOB KERREY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to direct my question to Mr. Berger. Good morning, Mr. Berger.
SANDY BERGER: Good morning, Senator.
BOB KERREY: Mr. Berger, did you ever remove anything relevant to these proceedings from the National Archives, as some have alleged?
SANDY BERGER: I'm afraid I am going to have to take the Fifth, Senator.
TED KENNEDY: I could go for a fifth myself, who'll join me?
THOMAS KEAN: (Banging gavel.) Senator Kennedy, for the last time, you are not, nor have you ever been, a member of this committee. Kindly refrain from interrupting these proceedings, or I will be forced to have you removed!
TED KENNEDY: I yield the balance of my time to Mr. Ben-Veniste.
THOMAS KEAN: (Banging gavel.) Senator Kennedy, you have no time to yield, Senator Kerrey has the floor.
TED KENNEDY: I yield the balance of Senator Kerrey's time to Mr. Ben-Veniste.
THOMAS KEAN: (Banging gavel.) Senator Kennedy!
BOB KERREY: That's alright Mr. Chairman, I will yield to Mr. Ben-Veniste.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Mr. Berger, would you agree that President Bush is at fault for the events of 9/11 to the exclusion of any blame on any one else, including the terrorists themselves?
SANDY BERGER: If you say so...
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Mr. Berger.
THOMAS KEAN: The gentleman's time is expired. The Chair recognizes Senator Slade Gorton.
SLADE GORTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to direct my questioning to Mr. Berger's trousers. Do you have anything you would like to add?
SANDY BERGER'S PANTS: Yes, Senator. Mr. Berger has often stuffed things down me, but this time I just feel that I cannot, in good conscience, keep my zipper shut!...
ANNOUNCER: Due to time constraints, we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming. For more coverage, remember to tune in to our nightly news, where we will be certain to regurgitate the DNC talking points regarding today's testimony, in their entirety, while safely filtering out anything we wouldn't want you to hear. This has been a special presentation of our news division, still watched by more people than an all-night test pattern.
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