Mar 24, 2004

Clarke apologizes.

Amidst two days of blame avoidance and "what if" hypotheses, Richard Clarke, the man in the center of the current political storm over 9/11, does what no one else has had the humility (or the humanity) to do: apologize.

Because I have submitted a written statement today, and I've previously testified before this commission for 15 hours, and before the Senate-House Joint Inquiry Committee for six hours, I have only a very brief opening statement. I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do to prevent a reoccurance. I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11. To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness. With that, Mr. Chairman, I'll be glad to take your questions.