updated 11/15/2005 9:09:11 AM ET 2005-11-15T14:09:11

Guests: Ray Poole, Tom Mannon, Clint Van Zandt, Arlene Ellis-Schipper, Dave Holloway, Pat Woodward, Bernard Kalb, Donny Deutsch, Todd Boyd

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, police capture an 18-year-old wanted for killing his 14-year-old‘s parents and then taking her on the run with him. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  Police say David Ludwig shot his girlfriend‘s parents in the head.  Today a high-speed chase ended when he crashed into a tree.  Now the question was Kara Borden purely a victim or could she have been in on it? 

And after many months Aruban authorities clear the father of the chief suspect in the Natalee Holloway investigation.  The dad who had been arrested becomes the first former suspect to be cleared.  We talked to Natalee‘s dad. 

Plus, Kobe Bryant‘s back, Nike again using him in its ads even after he apologized to the alleged victim saying he understood why—quote—“ she feels she did not consent to this encounter.”  Is that good business? 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, a massive manhunt is over.  An 18-year-old man accused of abducting his 14-year-old friend and killing her parents has been captured.  David Ludwig taken into custody after a police chase reached speeds over 90 miles an hour, it ended with his car crashing into a tree. 

Fourteen-year-old Kara Beth Borden whose parents were killed yesterday allegedly by Ludwig was with him and was also taken into custody.  The two were found in Belleville, Indiana about 600 miles from where they were last seen yesterday morning at about 8:00 a.m. in Lititz, Pennsylvania. 

Ludwig‘s time on the run started yesterday morning after he allegedly gunned down Borden‘s parents in their Pennsylvania home.  According to police documents, Kara Borden‘s 13-year-old sister Kaitlin—quote—“ saw David Ludwig with a handgun pointed towards her father and saw David Ludwig pull the trigger, heard a gunshot and then she ran into the bathroom.

Kaitlin reportedly then heard the second shot, the one that probably killed her mother.  Their 9-year-old brother was also there and ran to a neighbor‘s home to call police. 

Joining me now on the phone is Sergeant Ray Poole from Indiana State Police, the agency has custody of Kara Borden and David Ludwig right now.  Sergeant, thank you for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  So how did you first get the tip as to where Ludwig was?

SGT. RAY POOLE, INDIANA STATE POLICE (via phone):  Well, believe it or

not, we have had tips all morning on the suspect‘s vehicle and it was near

the Fort Wayne area, which is in northeast Indiana.  And we had pictures

and videotapes and different things like that (INAUDIBLE) what we thought

(INAUDIBLE) the suspects.  And through notification of other state police

agencies and police departments throughout the state of Indiana, we kind of

we had the word out that they could be possibly in the area. 

ABRAMS:  So how did this end like we see it on camera there?  What led to him crashing the car into a tree? 

POOLE:  Well believe it or not, where Belleville, Indiana is, is about

it‘s approximately 25 to 30 miles west of Indianapolis, and obviously him being from Pennsylvania, didn‘t have an idea where he was at, but he was traveling on westbound I-70 and he turned on to a state road in which believe it or not, tips from motorists and I heard it on a local radio and an off duty trooper happened to spot that same vehicle and he—it peeked his interest and he radioed in to tell our dispatchers that he had possibly seen a red Volkswagen. 

From there, an astute trooper said that is the car and turned behind the vehicle and led chase for about four minutes.  It started at about 12:13 our time and it ended about 12:17 where like I mentioned earlier, Ludwig not knowing the road and the curvature straightened the road out, started taking the curve left, he went straight into a tree. 

ABRAMS:  Now look, I know that it was the Pennsylvania authorities initially investigating this murder and not the officials from your office, but with that said, he is found with her in the car.  Did you treat her as a victim or treat her as a possible suspect? 

POOLE:  At this point she was a subject of a nationwide Amber Alert. 

She was like any typical 14-year-old girl you would see, crying, upset.  She walked or kind of ran to the back of the car, and she was crying and very upset and shaking just like any other kid would be.  And you know it pretty much struck me first was she had braces on her teeth, and I‘m thinking, you know, she‘s just a regular kid that probably is in a bad, bad situation. 

But at this point, you know not being able to talk to her because of her age and she does not have any legal guardian or parent to be there with her, we can‘t talk with her.  And anything that happened here in Indiana basically from the pursuit of the vehicle and then of her being a subject of a nationwide Amber Alert. 

ABRAMS:  You point out that of course that she can‘t be questioned because she‘s a child and of course both her parents have been killed so they are going to have to appoint a guardian for her to represent her to determine if she does want to speak, et cetera.  Has she given any indication that she didn‘t know about her parents dying?  Has she yelled out or anything that‘s been said apart from any questioning? 

POOLE:  Not at all and like I said, it‘s inappropriate for us and we can‘t—by law we cannot ask her any questions that would incriminate her and we cannot talk to her and we don‘t want to talk to her until she has the proper representation there. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Sergeant, thanks very much for taking the time. 

We appreciate it. 

POOLE:  Thank you for having me. 

ABRAMS:  Joining me now is Tom Mannon, a neighbor of the Bordens whose 16-year-old daughter knows both David Ludwig and Kara Borden.  Thanks very much for coming on the program, Mr. Mannon.  We appreciate it.

All right.  What do you know about this family? 

TOM MANNON, NEIGHBOR OF VICTIMS‘ FAMILY:  The Bordens?

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

MANNON:  Well, they are neighbors and friends two doors down from us and very, very nice family, you know great to have them as neighbors.  We‘ve known them for about nine years, and of course my two daughters, being about the Borden‘s daughters‘ ages have you know struck up friendships with them over the years.

ABRAMS:  You know both the Ludwig and the Borden families.  Do you know anything about this? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I mean was this—was there anger on the part of the parents of this girl that maybe she was 14 and he was 18 and there was some relationship going on or anything like that? 

MANNON:  Well, just a quick correction there.  We only know the Bordens.  We really do not know the Ludwig family.  But we had heard that there were objections you know with both sets of parents, objections to the relationship that was going on. 

ABRAMS:  Did you know anything about the boy Ludwig being called to the home? 

MANNON:  I heard that as one possible story or I heard that there was a possibility that Kara, herself, may have placed the call.  I just don‘t know about that.  You know, if there was the meeting with the Ludwig boy at the same time that Kara returned home from the evening or if he had gone—if he had dropped her off and gone home and come back, we just don‘t know. 

ABRAMS:  Now there was a report I read that there was a duffel bag filled with guns that Ludwig went to the house with.  That would certainly indicate—if it‘s true, premeditation, and it would also demonstrate this is a very troubled kid.  Do you know anything about him? 

MANNON:  No, I don‘t.  I really don‘t.  I just know that my daughter was an acquaintance of his given the fact that they had both worked as lifeguards at the same time at the local recreation center. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  You know, Tom, if you don‘t mind just—Tom, if you don‘t mind sticking on the phone for a moment, I just want to check in with Clint Van Zandt, our former FBI profiler, MSNBC analyst. 

Clint, I want to ask you a couple of questions and if you‘ve got any questions for Tom Mannon, let me know.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  But what—how do you go about assessing whether a girl like this was a victim or an accomplice? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know Dan, at 14 there‘s going to be a lot of fantasy perhaps going on in her mind.  I‘ve read one interview already where someone who used to work in the household, a housekeeper, said the mother was worried because her 14-year-old daughter was quote-unquote, “boy crazy.”  Well, Dan, that‘s a 14-year-old girl.

That‘s what girls do many times at 14, so I think the challenge is going to be, just as you pointed out, I mean she‘s 14.  Law enforcement can‘t formally interview her unless she‘s in the custody of a parent, which obviously is impossible, or a guardian or something like that.  So now it‘s trying to develop information from the brother and sister who were at the homicide scene. 

What did they see?  What did they hear as witnesses to the crime and then talking to the shooter, himself, and finally talking to the 14-year-old girl and putting this story together.  But Dan, whatever it‘s going to be, you know short of her calling on the phone and demanding he show up with a bag of guns, you know this girl‘s whole life, as well as the shooter, as well as everybody in this family and community have been turned upside down in one moment of anger, frustration and murder. 

ABRAMS:  Tom, what do you know about the night before all this happened? 

MANNON:  Well, I really don‘t know too much about the night before.  It all erupted in the morning, you know, in the early morning hours.  So we had heard that perhaps a fictional alibi had been given to the parents, Kara‘s parents, by Kara, that she was going to a friend‘s that night.  Then just today I heard that she actually snuck out during the night, but it was when she returned that she was confronted by her parents. 

VAN ZANDT:  I guess, Dan, the question...

ABRAMS:  Hang on one sec...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Tom, I got to ask you a follow-up question though.  Are you -

when you say you‘re hearing these things, are you hearing these things from the people you know in the community or are you hearing these things on the news? 

MANNON:  Well, it‘s from the people who live on the street...

ABRAMS:  OK.

MANNON:  ... you know and I suppose they probably have, you know, their own sources, but, you know, we just don‘t know. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Go ahead, Clint.  What were you saying?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  And I guess, Dan, through you to Tom, you know Tom, you say your daughter was close with her.  What did your daughter know about this supposed secret relationship?  And what did she talk about?  How did she describe the relationship between her and this boy?  Was this just puppy love?  Has she talked about running away with him or anything like that? 

MANNON:  The boy was infatuated with Kara, that the commonality there was their home schooling.  And there was evidently some kind of bonding that really happened between them.  And neither sets of parents wanted that to develop, and so you know they said it had come to a point where it has to end, and so they responded by doing it on the sly. 

ABRAMS:  And Clint, what do you make of this notion that they met each other through home schooling? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know, I know a lot of people who home school their kids.  You know you do it for religious reasons.  You do it because you don‘t want—you don‘t particularly want your kids exposed to some of the things you think may or may not be in the public school system.  But you know the reality is, you know you can‘t hot house your children. 

They are still going to have social interactions, relationships.  I think this may point out with this young man, somehow Dan, he didn‘t have the ability to develop conflict resolution skills.  He wasn‘t wearing a black raincoat.  He wasn‘t a member of the you know trench coat mafia...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  ... but there is something that developed in this young man‘s life that his parents were aware of, her parents were aware of, but you know the conference on the mound, we would have liked to have taken place where this could have been worked out otherwise.  You know a lot of people get angry. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  Few people pick up a gun and come and kill you.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Tom Mannon and Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

Coming up, Aruban authorities clear the father of a suspect in the Natalee Holloway investigation.  Yes, he‘s no longer a suspect.  Remember he was arrested and then released, but now he says he‘s going to sue the Aruban government for damages.  Natalee‘s family still thinks that he may know more than he‘s saying.  Her father joins us.

And the CIA calling for another investigation into who leaked classified information.  This time it‘s about those alleged secret CIA prisons around the world.  Are all these investigations just bad for everyone? 

Plus, Nike puts Kobe Bryant back at the forefront in its advertisements, using him for publicity, even after he was forced to apologize for what happened with a young woman in that Eagle, Colorado hotel room.  Is that really smart marketing? 

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Paul van der Sloot, the father of the Dutch teen who was the chief suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway has been formally cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with the unsolved case.  Remember, he was arrested in June, then released three days later. 

Now, he has been cleared, and that‘s not all.  He plans to sue the Aruban government, he says for damages to his reputation, asks for monetary compensation after being kept from working since his arrest. 

Joining me now on the phone is Aruban attorney and member of the island‘s strategic Communications Task Force, Arlene Ellis-Schipper.  Arlene thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it.

What does this mean...

ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY (via phone):  You‘re welcome. 

ABRAMS:  What does it mean that he has been cleared? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, basically it‘s not so much cleared as in the words that the prosecution has taken a final decision, whether he will not be prosecuted anymore for anything in this case.  However, what it did mean, is if you recall, his release was based on a decision of a judge of instructions that said that his arrest was wrongful, thus, he could not at that moment be considered a suspect. 

What he did then, we have a statute of limitations here.  This is the reason for its timing of three months after your case has ended.  And this was a discussion during the last hearing where the case has ended for him.  And a judge ruled it‘s under these circumstances, it did...

ABRAMS:  All right.  Arlene...

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  ... and therefore he can now submit. 

ABRAMS:  We had the deputy chief, Dompig, on this show on October the 12th...

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  ... about a month ago, and I talked to him specifically about Joran van der Sloot‘s father and here‘s what I said and what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you about the father of Joran.  He was under arrest for a brief period of time before a judge released him.  Do you think that he knows something? 

GEROLD DOMPIG, ARUBAN DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF:  Well, we—he is—has been, and still is a person of interest.  And I wouldn‘t like to say more than that at this time. 

ABRAMS:  But let‘s be clear, a person of interest in connection with Natalee‘s disappearance...

DOMPIG:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... or in connection with something after the fact? 

DOMPIG:  Both. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Arlene, so we have Deputy Chief Dompig saying that a month ago.  Has that much changed in a month? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, that is what I meant by he has not been completely cleared as to a final decision of the prosecutor that says they will never prosecute him anymore if there‘s no evidence.  That would mean a final clearance of this complete case.  However, what this does say that under these circumstances that they have in front of them, the case has ended for him as to the suspicions what he was arrested for and ruled a wrongful arrest. 

So Mr. Dompig chose the right words.  He can still be a person of interest.  However, he did deliberately not choose the word suspect because he was ruled out at this moment because of the wrongful arrest that he could not be considered a suspect. 

ABRAMS:  You‘re now—you‘ve been on this program as an analyst, just giving us the legal issues.  You‘re now a member of Aruba‘s Strategic Communications Task Force or at least speaking...

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Correct.

ABRAMS:  ... on that behalf at this point.  What do you make of the effort by the Alabama governor and by the family of the Natalee Holloway to boycott Aruba? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, I understand the family‘s ordeal, what they are going through and not getting answers and not getting a resolution of this case.  However, I think the call for a boycott is completely disproportional and it does—and it‘s based on unfounded grounds in our opinion because there is a lot of innuendoes and guessing going on and you know the bottom line is you can‘t force a country to set aside its rule of burden of proof and that‘s the only thing that we need in this case, more evidence.

ABRAMS:  But you know that they are saying that it‘s not about evidence.  They‘re saying it‘s also about the way they‘ve been treated and the direction the investigation has been going. 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, you know, of course I wasn‘t with them in certain rooms, and I‘m not and we‘re not saying that the police is infallible.  However, it does—I really and the Strategic Task Force with me and the people of Aruba, we really do not believe the allegations that there‘s allegations of corruption.  We have a strong belief in the integrity of our judicial system and our police force. 

We see—I‘ve spoken to each and every player in this investigation, and all of them, they assure me how committed they are to solve this case.  There‘s so much goodwill.  And even after the call for boycott, no, Mr.  Dompig called his team together and he said let‘s not lose focus.  We need to be committed.  This is an ongoing investigation.  And that just goes to show you how much committed they are. 

ABRAMS:  All right.

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  So if anything has happened, it is not about the lack of commitment of the authorities. 

ABRAMS:  Arlene Ellis-Schipper, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

Joining me now also on the phone, Dave Holloway, Natalee‘s father.  Dave, before we get to this issue of the father of Joran van der Sloot being cleared.  What do you make of those comments by Arlene?  You‘ve signed a letter, very critical of the government there.  And I don‘t know if I—I assume you‘re supporting the boycott as well.  What do you make of that? 

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S FATHER (via phone):  Well, you know we‘ve asked the Alabama governor to become involved only after we exhausted all opportunities to, you know, get the police or the prosecutor to move forward in the case.  It sounds like to me that the judge, the prosecutor and the police need to get together and recalibrate what is admissible and what is not admissible. 

You know you‘ve had people arrested and a host of people arrested, and end up turned loose or let go.  And you know, we‘ve had a number of things happen regarding evidence, all these conflicts of interest, the family doing a lot of the investigation, providing leads, and some of those leads have yet to be followed up on.  In fact, we had a witness that was key to I thought resolving this case, who has yet to be interviewed and I can‘t—for whatever reasons can‘t understand why they have not yet interviewed him.  It‘s been over three weeks now.

ABRAMS:  A witness who would say what? 

HOLLOWAY:  We had a witness that initially came forward and in that witness statement according to the assistant prosecutor, some lies turned up, and she just felt like that that person needed to be re-interviewed, and she tried to get the police, from what I understand, to re-interview the guy.  There were some communication issues within the prosecutor‘s office and as a result she ended up resigning from the case because of the dissension between those two parties, and this person has yet to be interviewed.  In fact, I had mentioned to the prime minister, I said look, this person may hold the key to solving this case, and that has yet to be done. 

ABRAMS:  Dave, you mention that a number of people were let go.  Let me play devil‘s advocate for a moment.  The authorities arrested a number of people in connection with this case and in fact, they fought to try and keep some of these people behind bars.  And let‘s put aside for a moment I think everyone concedes that there were some mistakes made here in the investigation, but we see that in many investigations. 

Is it the fault of the Aruban authorities that their laws say a judge has to review the evidence?  A judge has to see if there‘s enough evidence, and judges have said sorry, guys, you just don‘t have enough to hold these guys.

HOLLOWAY:  Well that‘s true.  And that‘s why I said the prosecutor and the police need to get to get with the judge and recalibrate and figure out what is needed to get a conviction or hold someone.  As you recall, early on these kids walked around for 10 days...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

HOLLOWAY:  ... before they were arrested and they pointed—here you give the police the three people who were last seen with Natalee, and yet they arrest the two security guards.  Why didn‘t they arrest all of five of them at the same time?  And then you have a police investigator who interviews a 17-year-old, a 18-year-old and a 21-year-old and a host of other—of his buddies and friends and you know you can interview somebody and then you can do some police interviews. 

And what have they come up with?  Really nothing.  And that‘s what‘s frustrating.  The Alabama governor was provided a list of what‘s gone on and basically he asked them to do this...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

HOLLOWAY:  ... simply, get us another prosecutor who has no conflicts of interest with any of the parties, get us two cold case detectives maybe from Holland and a secretary, and that should resolve this—all of these issues...

ABRAMS:  All right.

HOLLOWAY:  ... but that is falling on deaf ears. 

ABRAMS:  We shall see.  You know I got to give Dave Holloway credit.  This is a man who‘s—you‘ve been very careful, Dave, in what you‘ve been saying publicly and you‘ve been trying to hold your tongue at times and it sounds like you just got particularly frustrated as of late.  And I‘ve always said that you‘ve been a very even—you‘ve been very even-keeled throughout this considering everything that you‘ve been going through.  Thanks a lot, Dave, for taking the time. 

HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the CIA wants another investigation into the leak of classified information.  The last time a reporter went to jail and a top White House aide was indicted.  Do we really need another investigation? 

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  This week we‘re trying to help out the authorities in Georgia. 

Authorities are looking for Douglas McCall, 37, 6‘4”, 195, convicted in ‘92 of four counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child under 14, has admitted to sexually assaulting 16 different boys.  McCall hasn‘t registered as a sex offender as required. 

If you have got any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 1-800-597-TIPS.  That‘s 8477.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the CIA calling for yet another investigation to who leaked classified information to a reporter.  Is this really all good for the country?  Up next, but first the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA PRIEST, “THE WASHINGTON POST” REPORTER:  The most important prisoners have always been kept in the CIA‘s hands, and in secret, undisclosed locations all over the world. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That was “The Washington Post‘s” Dana Priest on “Weekend Today” last June sharing a little not so secret information with millions of viewers on the whereabouts of some of the worst of the worst.  Captured al Qaeda terrorists, like Ramzi Binalshibh, a key 911-planner who repeatedly tried getting into the U.S. to become the twentieth hijacker. 

But when Priest recently reported that eight countries hosted CIA prisons including a—quote—“Soviet era compound in eastern Europe”, GOP leaders, Senator Bill First and Congressman Dennis Hastert, called for an investigation into the possible release of classified information asking that—quote—“any information obtained on this matter that may implicate possible violations of the law be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.”

The House Intelligence Committee says it will look into Priest‘s story as part of an ongoing investigation into leaks of classified material.  And the CIA sent a report to the Department of Justice asking it to review the story just as it did when covert agent Valerie Plame‘s name was leaked to reporters, whether she was covert or not. 

Are these two cases the first into what are going to become regular partisan calls for investigations into who leaked what to whom and does this mean another journalist is just going to be forced to testify again?  “My Take”—this is dangerous business.  I said it when special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald forced Judith Miller to jail for refusing to testify.  I‘ll say it again here if these investigations become the norm, press releases will be all we will ever get about how our government works or does not work. 

Joining us now is Bernard Kalb.  He‘s been a correspondent for NBC and CBS News and “The New York Times”, a former State Department spokesman and host of CNN‘s “Reliable Sources”.  Pat Woodward is a former federal prosecutor and a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association. 

Gentlemen thanks very much for coming on the program. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Pat, let me start with you.  I mean what we really need is another investigation? 

PAT WOODWARD, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Good evening, Dan.  I think it‘s a matter of degree.  When you‘re talking about a story involving serious national security secrets, I do think that people that handle this information should be held to a higher standard, and they are looking at who leaked it and they are not looking to prosecute the reporter. 

ABRAMS:  But that‘s always the argument at the beginning.  We‘re not looking to target the reporter.  We‘re just looking—but how else do you find out who leaked it unless you call the reporter?  That‘s exactly what Pat Fitzgerald said.  He said...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... the only reason we‘re calling the reporter is because they were a witness to a crime.

WOODWARD:  It‘s a last resort, Dan.  You have a limited universe of people who have this information.  You have people on the Hill, I guess, and CIA, and you go to those people.  You can polygraph them, any number of ways you can investigate it without first going to the reporter. 

ABRAMS:  Well Bernard Kalb, whether they first go to the reporter or last go to the reporter, my guess is if there is an investigation and it‘s ultimately with—if there‘s another special prosecutor assigned, Dana Priest is going to be asked to reveal her source. 

BERNARD KALB, FORMER NETWORK NEWS REPORTER:  Dan, you have made me feel superfluous in a matter of the past few seconds because everything you‘ve said is things I agree with.  I the position you‘ve taken outlines the challenge represented—the government challenge to real freedom of the press.  The fact is that “The Washington Post” should be congratulated for what it did in sharing this information with its readers.

And in fact one must say “The Washington Post” was very circumspect persuaded by the government not to identify those countries where the secret prisons are.  I might have a problem with that, but I‘ve covered wars and I‘m thinking of one illustration, for example, back and during the war in Vietnam, a Christmas bombing of 1972, the Pentagon would not say a word about the bombing, the bombing day after day throughout those Christmas holidays.  Certainly the North Vietnamese knew they were being bombed, but we reporters at the official briefings in Saigon were given nothing at all.  I once did the search for the missing hydrogen bomb in the Mediterranean many years ago...

(CROSSTALK)

KALB:  ... endless. 

ABRAMS:  Bernard, here‘s what Frist and Hastert said in their letter. 

They‘re talking about these secret CIA prisons.

If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks.

I mean, they are right, are they not that suddenly eastern European countries are on the defensive, all of them having to say it‘s not us, it‘s not us.  These CIA prisons are not here.

KALB:  Well, of course it depends on who is the finding.  You remember President Clinton; it all depends on what the meaning of “is” is.  It‘s hard to believe, for example, that “The Washington Post” decision not to publish those countries, although the “Financial Times” in the U.K. did mention two countries, Poland and Romania I believe, both countries having denied it.  But it would be hard for me to believe that the terrorists do not know the countries in which these CIA hiding places...

ABRAMS:  How would they know? 

KALB:  How would they know?  How would they not try to know?  Given the competence that they have shown in a variety of ways, given the secrecy with which they‘ve carried out terrible, terrible tragedies inflicted on London, Spain, the United States, et cetera.  What makes it out of the realm of the possible that they in fact do know? 

ABRAMS:  But even if they don‘t know, Pat, is it—I mean isn‘t it fair to say that it‘s important to have a debate about this and that the reality is it‘s not going to change what the terrorists are doing or not doing, the fact that some of their finest are being held in secret prisons? 

WOODWARD:  Well, Dan, I think the debate is going behind closed doors, where it should be, between the leaders in the House and the Senate of both parties who are being—who are privy to this information.  I think the biggest concern on the Hill is that if a Hill staffer or a senator or congressman is the source of the leak, then ultimately they‘ll get cut out of that debate.  So I‘m more concerned about our leaders not having a debate than...

ABRAMS:  I just—I don‘t think we can report anything on Iran and North Korea, for example, without somehow getting information that it‘s probably national security information and as a result there can‘t be a public debate about what we‘re doing in North Korea and Iran, for example. 

KALB:  I think—if I may say so, I think reporters do demonstrate clear responsibility in dealing with these stories.  For example, in Vietnam reporters knew a lot about military actions that were about to take place...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

KALB:  ... but they chose not to print...

ABRAMS:  I got to give Pat Woodward the final word and then I got to wrap it up. 

WOODWARD:  Dan, I would just say that the attorney general has to approve any subpoena to the media, so I do think there are checks and balances here.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Bernard Kalb, Pat Woodward, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

WOODWARD:  Thanks, Dan. 

KALB:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, Kobe Bryant is back as a pitchman.  He apologized to a young woman, said he could understand why she didn‘t think that their sex was consensual.  Of course he was married at the time.  Is this really good for Nike‘s business?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, he apologized to a Colorado woman.  But now it

seems it‘s forgive and forget, Kobe‘s back as the public pitchman for Nike

after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Is Kobe Bryant the man you would trust as the face of your product?  According to Nike, the answer is yes.  This, even though Bryant, who was married, initially denied even knowing a woman who accused him of raping her in Eagle, Colorado in 2003. 

Then as part of a deal, to get criminal charges dropped, he said—quote—“I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident.  I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year.  Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has to endure.”

Then her civil case was settled for an undisclosed sum.  Nike now thinks it‘s again time for Kobe. 

NBC‘s Peter Alexander has the story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Once among the most marketable names in sports, 27-year-old Kobe Bryant is looking to rebound.  Just two years ago the basketball superstar was in jeopardy not just of losing endorsement dollars, but his very freedom.  Weeks after signing a four-year $45-million deal with Nike, Kobe was charged with sexual assault. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, if you win, you get to go to McDonald‘s. 

ALEXANDER:  While other sponsors dropped him entirely, Nike shelved him, hoping to wait his scandal out.  Now with the criminal case dismissed, a settlement signed and a new season underway the company is gambling its fallen pitchman can bounce back. 

DONNY DEUTSCH, “THE BIG IDEA” HOST:  I frankly am very surprised they‘re bringing him back, to tell you the truth.  Because when you endorse an athlete, celebrate an athlete where rape charges were brought up then dropped, at the very least he was an adulterer, what the hell are you doing, Nike? 

ALEXANDER:  Nike has already unveiled new ads.  This one listing criticisms of Kobe, “selfish overrated, uncoachable”, each followed by a line boasting his intense training routine, but will it work? 

(on camera):  Even here in his home city of Los Angeles Kobe Bryant‘s popularity has shrunk.  One marketing firm says he‘s now the least liked player in the entire NBA.  Not just because of his legal issues, but also because of his public feuds with a former teammate and his coach. 

(voice-over):  Still among Nike‘s critical crowd, the urban teenagers and young adults who buy their high-priced shoes, analysts say image is everything and Kobe‘s may finally fit.

TODD BOYD, “YOUNG BLACK RICH & FAMOUS” AUTHOR:  Kobe now I think is somewhere in between the really acceptable, non-threatening players and the real hardcore hip-hop players, and that might turn out to be a good place to be. 

ALEXANDER:  His new signature line will debut in stores early next year.  Whether anyone buys it that is still up in the air. 

Peter Alexander, NBC News, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  “My Take”—it‘s a sad state of society.  We‘re not talking about a presumption of innocence here.  I long believed it would have been nearly possible for those prosecutors to get a conviction based on the evidence they had.  No, it‘s just a married man who said—quote—

“although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.  After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even hearing her testify in person, I now understand how she sincerely feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

I‘m not asking if he should continue to play basketball.  Of course, he should.  I just wonder whether all of us are just willing to forgive and forget too quickly.  Joining me now two men you just saw in Peter Alexander‘s report, Donny Deutsch, chairman and CEO of the ad agency, Deutsch Inc. and host of CNBC‘s “THE BIG IDEA WITH DONNY DEUTSCH” and University of Southern California Professor Todd Boyd, author of “Young Black Rich & Famous: The Rise of the NBA, The Hip-Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture”.

So Donny, what‘s wrong with this?

DEUTSCH:  Everything is wrong with this.  This is corporate hubris.  You know I got to tell you, you know in your setup peace, you kind of said it best.  At the very least, this guy‘s an adulterer and particularly Nike, who more than any other marketer over the last years has done these incredible female empowerment campaigns, and celebrating women and the strength of women. 

I think in a violent crime like this, even though charges were dropped, you know it‘s clearly something went down that was inappropriate there.  That you know I just think Nike is completely ridiculous, so out of line for doing this and I guarantee you they‘ll end up pulling this because I think a lot of women‘s groups are going to bite back at this. 

ABRAMS:  Mr. Boyd.

BOYD:  Well, I would disagree.  Kobe Bryant has not been convicted of a crime.  If you understand the urban shoe market, you understand that it‘s driven by hip-hop culture.  And Kobe never really fit in this culture.  Now he has an edge potentially and Nike‘s looking to exploit the edge.  But I don‘t think there‘s really any issue about the morality because this has absolutely nothing to do with morality.

DEUTSCH:  Well, yes it does...

BOYD:  If someone doesn‘t like the shoes, they don‘t have to buy them.

DEUTSCH:  You don‘t think a corporation has any—as far as the kids, the kids won‘t care, but I think with all of the athletes out there, a corporation does have a responsibility, does have—because when they are getting behind an athlete, they are basically saying we endorse your behavior, that‘s why we want you to endorse our shoe.  I can‘t believe you‘re saying that.

BOYD:  Well I don‘t think they‘re saying that at all.  I think they‘re saying Kobe Bryant is a figure who‘s encountered some difficulties and he‘s trying to overcome those.  That‘s what the ads say.  If you know the history of Nike and their shoes, there‘s always been this element of edge...

DEUTSCH:  Oh I understand...

(CROSSTALK)

BOYD:  ... Charles Barkley‘s I‘m not a role model commercial.

ABRAMS:  Mr. Boyd, but it sounds like what you‘re saying is though you got (INAUDIBLE) kind of street cred for Kobe now because he‘s gotten into trouble and as a result that could he actually sell more sneakers?  And there may be some level of truth to that, but isn‘t there the other concern which is that a lot of other people may come back who aren‘t don‘t—you know who aren‘t specifically buying, let‘s say basketball sneakers and say you know I‘m not going to buy other products from Nike because they have this guy representing them? 

BOYD:  Well, certainly someone may choose to say that but Nike didn‘t get to be the leader in sports apparel making bad decisions.  I think the issue here is a fact that Kobe was not convicted of a crime.  This morality is being imposed on the situation.  It has absolutely nothing to do with it.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But he did apologize...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  He did apologize for his conduct.  I mean it‘s not as if—we didn‘t just walk away from the situation having Kobe Bryant...

BOYD:  And people makes mistakes all the time.  You know he made a mistaken and Nike‘s created an ad that says look, these are the things that have been said about me.  These are the issues and I work every day to become a better basketball player. 

(CROSSTALK)

BOYD:  That‘s simply all the commercial says. 

DEUTSCH:  Nike has...

BOYD:  If people don‘t want to buy the shoes, they don‘t have to buy the shoes...

DEUTSCH:  I think what‘s going to happen is...

BOYD:  ... but the imposition of this morality is inappropriate...

DEUTSCH:  Of course it‘s appropriate. 

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH:  It‘s a major corporation.  This guy has basically...

BOYD:  You‘re making personal decisions and questioning this man‘s morality and integrity.  That is inappropriate here.

DEUTSCH:  So would you say it‘s appropriate for them to endorse O.J.

Simpson at this point?  He was found innocent of a crime.

BOYD:  O.J. Simpson has absolutely nothing to do with this.

DEUTSCH:  He has everything to do...

(CROSSTALK)

BOYD:  ... not Kobe Bryant...

DEUTSCH:  ... corporation‘s responsibility to get in bed with the right (INAUDIBLE) of athletes.

BOYD:  Well, Martha Stewart was convicted of a crime and did time in jail and she had two shows on NBC...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Both of you with good examples...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Good examples...

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH:  ... and I don‘t think you‘re seeing a lot of other corporate sponsors jump in with her, but it‘s a very different situation...

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH:  ... somebody who was accused of rape and somebody who was accused of murder versus somebody who was accused of insider trading. 

BOYD:  No now rape, Kobe‘s been accused of murder.  I don‘t understand where a murder even comes from.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Yes, but then again...

(CROSSTALK)

BOYD:  Murder has nothing to do with this.

ABRAMS:  But he wasn‘t accused of the same thing Martha either.  You both...

BOYD:  Martha served time...

ABRAMS:  I got to say...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... those were good like little touches...

BOYD:  Martha served time.  Kobe was not convicted...

ABRAMS:  Donny stuck it to you and I‘m thinking oh, good one.  But Todd stuck one back...

DEUTSCH:  I don‘t know if sticking back somebody that served 90 days for insider trading is the equivalent of somebody who...

ABRAMS:  Donny, final quick question...

(CROSSTALK)

BOYD:  The man was not convicted of a crime.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I know.  But not convicted of a crime doesn‘t still mean you necessarily...

DEUTSCH:  It still doesn‘t mean Nike is not making...

ABRAMS:  All right...

DEUTSCH:  ... a stupid decision.

ABRAMS:  Donny, final question...

BOYD:  Well we‘ll see if they‘re making a stupid decision...

ABRAMS:  All right.  That‘s the question, is that—Todd was saying that Nike‘s made a business—getting on top making the right choices.  Donny, you made your business getting on top, making the right choices. 

Bottom line, is it going to help or hurt Nike? 

DEUTSCH:  I think the kid—actually I think Kobe is less relevant because (INAUDIBLE) anymore.  I think women‘s groups will bite back.  You‘ll see this ad off the air. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Donny Deutsch, Todd Boyd, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it. 

BOYD:  Thanks. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, are women finally finding a path to equality amongst radical Islamists?  Yes, as long as they are suicide bombers.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to help find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  This week‘s focus is in Georgia.

Authorities need your help finding Emanuel Florence.  He‘s 44, 5‘11”, 145, convicted of aggravated sodomy, kidnapping and rape in ‘86, has not registered with the authorities.

If you have got any information on where he is, contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 1-800-597-TIPS.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—in one area of radical Islamic society, and only one, it seems women finally may be one step closer to achieving equality.  Women like men, it seems, have the right if not obligation to strap a crude bomb around their bodies and blow themselves up in front of innocent bystanders. 

Jordanian authorities confirming that last week‘s three bombings in Amman could have actually been worse.  This Iraqi woman Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi suspected of being a wannabe fourth bomber in this video.  She displays the belt loaded with explosives that she wore underneath her clothing.  She claims it failed to detonate after she walked into a wedding celebration at the Radisson Hotel in Jordan with her husband. 

Her husband killed himself along with 38 others at the wedding.  But after her explosives malfunctioned, she said she ran from the hotel along with the other guests.  According to her confession, her husband planned the operation.  She didn‘t even know about the mission until they were in Jordan.  But regardless, if she tried to set off the bomb, then she‘s just another terrorist. 

And her brother was apparently a terrorist, too.  He was killed by U.S. forces, so she may have felt that killing Jordanian civilians was some sort of revenge.  She joins the ranks of other women who killed or tried to kill civilians, mostly in Israel and Egypt, but also among Chechen and Muslim separatists. 

And studies of female suicide bombers have shown that they often have the same twisted view of the world as the men.  But even so, this is hardly separate, but equal.  While al Qaeda allows women to participate in terrorist activity, they never hold any position of authority or leadership.  So far they‘re just offered up the opportunity to kill themselves and others.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Last week, two Carolina Panthers‘ cheerleaders arrested after they were allegedly caught having sex in a bathroom stall.  They were fired from the team.  We asked, is there a double standard when football players who get in trouble with the law aren‘t fired. 

Mary Reiff from Fair Oaks, California, “A franchise has made a huge investment and star players have huge fan followings.  Players have a union contract to protect them.  Bottom line no one buys a ticket to see a cheerleader or spends millions on cheerleaders gear.”

Patsy York, “Who really cares if these two women got fired?  So what? 

They deserved it.”

How do you know that people don‘t come to see the cheerleaders at the games?

Your e-mails abramsreport—got to go.  See you. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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