updated 12/21/2005 3:31:59 PM ET 2005-12-21T20:31:59

Guests: Richard Thompson, Eric Rothschild, Pat Buchanan, Gerald Lefcourt, Darren White, Larry Ford, Diamond Dallas Page, Christine Lepera, Jill Pietrini

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, a federal judge rules so-called intelligent design has no place in biology classrooms. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  The judge, a Bush appointee and Republican, ruled school board members repeatedly lied about their intention and were really just trying to teach religion, rather than evolution. 

And President Bush says it‘s shameful that someone leaked the story about the administration secretly spying on Americans after 9-11.  We debate. 

Plus, hundreds of pounds of explosives missing in New Mexico.  The thieves used blowtorches.  No leads, many now fearing the worst. 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  First up on the docket, a federal judge says no to teaching so-called intelligent design in public schools.  The Dover, Pennsylvania School Board had ordered a disclaimer touting intelligent design as an alternative to evolution read to ninth grade biology students, a theory that suggests that life is too complicated to be understood by evolution alone.  But Judge John Jones, III, a lifelong Republican appointed by President Bush, ruled that‘s unconstitutional and he had scathing words for the intelligent design supporters, who won‘t admit publicly anyway that the so-called intelligent designer must be God. 

Quote—“Although proponents of the intelligent design movement occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or a time traveling cell biologist, no serious alternative to God as the designer has been proposed by members of the intelligent design movement.”

Those are just some of the harsh words that the judge had for the intelligent design team.  He called the school board‘s policy breathtaking (INAUDIBLE), said school board members lied under oath to cover up their religious convictions and that students, parents and teachers in the district deserve better. 

“My Take”—somewhere on the Galapagos Islands the birds and tortoises Darwin described in his origin of species are sleeping easier tonight.  And so am I, because you don‘t have to reject the biblical theory of creation to recognize a fundamentally dishonest argument and that‘s what the school board‘s defenders offered the court.

If you want to put religion in the schools, even in biology class, come out and say it, we‘ll have the debate.  But to claim a religious belief is really science is just an attempt to make an end run around Supreme Court rulings that make school sponsorship of a religious message impermissible and I say the courts saw through it. 

Eric Rothschild is the lead attorney for the parents who sued the school board and won and Richard Thompson is the attorney for the school board and is president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.  Thank you both for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, Mr. Thompson, you really got an intellectually spanking from this judge (INAUDIBLE)? 

RICHARD THOMPSON, SCHOOL BOARD ATTORNEY:  Well I think the judge ruled in a particular way, discounting the evidence that was presented by two credible scientists, Michael Behe and Scott Minute (ph), who testified not on the basis of religious conviction, but on the basis of the empirical data that they observed through their instruments, that certain biological systems are so complex that they could not be explained by Darwin‘s theory of evolution, which involves natural selection, acting on random mutations...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON:  This was a scientific theory...

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what the judge said about the lead defense expert. 

The lead defense expert admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses intelligent design, would also embrace astrology.

THOMPSON:  Well, again, that was taken out of context.  At one point, astrology was viewed in the same light as astronomy and merely in the—

Michael Behe was merely making the assertion that at some point, some scientific views develop out of what are basically superstitious.  But to take Michael Behe‘s statements about the bacterial flagellum and the irreducible complexity that he sees in these various cellular mechanism is basically a scientific theory. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

THOMPSON:  What concerns me, also...

ABRAMS:  Why don‘t you guys just admit it...

THOMPSON:  ... is this judge places himself...

ABRAMS:  You guys need to...

THOMPSON:  ... places himself...

ABRAMS:  Why don‘t you just come clean? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Just come clean.  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... come clean and say, look, you know look, we feel that we can make an argument here and that‘s what you made.  You made an argument and you—and look, it sounds like you made a legal argument and you called an expert, et cetera, but the bottom line this is about religion.  Just say it.  It‘s OK. 

THOMPSON:  It‘s what? 

ABRAMS:  It‘s about religion. 

THOMPSON:  It is not about religion.  It‘s about scientific theories.  One scientific theory versus the other and the court should not place itself in the position of determining the validity of a scientific theory.  This should be done in the scientific community, debating it out...

ABRAMS:  Because no one...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You guys have so little support in the scientific community and that‘s the reason that it‘s so difficult—you say let‘s debate it in the scientific community, there is no debate in the scientific community. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You guys are viewed as this...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You guys are viewed as this outlying source that no one believes as a scientific...

THOMPSON:  You know what?  The big bang theory, when it started out, Albert Einstein looked at the person who developed the big bang theory...

ABRAMS:  So we just throw up our arms and we say...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... no science is valid, right? 

THOMPSON:  Well you‘re saying that just because a position is a minority position, therefore it is invalid. 

ABRAMS:  You said...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You‘re the one who said we should debate it in the scientific community...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I said they did and you lost...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON:  No, the debate is still going on.  It‘s a new debate. 

ABRAMS:  Number one and this is the ruling again from the court.

Intelligent design‘s official position does not acknowledge that the designer is God.  However, it is notable that defense witnesses admitted their personal view that the designer is God...

THOMPSON:  Isn‘t that an argument—isn‘t that a fallacious argument just because a person believes that—personally believes that the designer is God, all at once, disqualifies him from making a scientific conclusion.  That is an argument...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

THOMPSON:  ... ad hominem.

ABRAMS:  You know, Mr. Rothschild look, I really—I think it is a valid debate to have in this country about the extent of religion in public places.  It‘s a legitimate debate to have about where religion should be placed in schools, et cetera, but what really just drives me nuts about this is the notion, as I just said to Mr. Thompson, that I view this as a dishonest argument.  It seems you guys really the judge gave you a sort of an all-out win here, (INAUDIBLE)? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Let me just—let me ask Mr. Rothschild...

THOMPSON:  Sure.  Go ahead.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

THOMPSON:  Sure.

ERIC ROTHSCHILD, PLANTIFF‘S ATTORNEY:  Thank you, Dan.  And this really is a complete victory.  It‘s a vindication for these parents, who stood up for their kids to make sure that they got good science education and didn‘t have particular religious views imposed on them in school.  It‘s a great victory for the legal team we put together, my colleagues...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I don‘t want to hear all about sort of how great everyone is.  Let‘s talk about the substance of what we‘re talking about.  I mean the bottom line is...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  This is number five.  This is what the ruling said.

The disclaimer—and this is about the intelligent design disclaimer

singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment,

misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource, and instructs students to forego scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead seek out religious instruction elsewhere.

When you were coming into this case, Mr. Rothschild...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  When you were coming—when you came into this case, were you concerned about the fact that you know look, this case to some is viewed as political—I don‘t view this as a political case—and the fact that you had an appointee of President Bush.  President Bush has expressed some support for intelligent design.  Were you concerned about that? 

ROTHSCHILD:  Judge Jones always gave us the chance to try this case fairly.  And you have it exactly right that this has really been a dishonest argument.  One of the things Judge Jones said in his opinion is that he was astonished to find out that the intelligent design textbook used in the Dover high schools (INAUDIBLE) has a creationist history that when you—we were able to discover the drafts of that book, it was written as a creationist book and only after the court—the Supreme Court ruled that creationism can‘t be taught in public schools.  They just changed all the words...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  And here‘s what it says in the book.  I mean this is quoting, again, from the—“What kind of intelligent agent was the designer—this is a quote from the book—on its own science cannot answer this question.  It must leave it to religion and philosophy.” 

How do you respond to that, Mr. Thompson? 

THOMPSON:  Well that‘s exactly right.  The...

ABRAMS:  So it‘s not science...

THOMPSON:  ... presented showed—well the experts that we presented said that there is intelligent design and that‘s how far the science goes.  But as a personal viewpoint, both experts said that they believe the intelligent designer is God.  Just like the evolutionists many times used Darwin‘s theory of evolution to propound an atheistic theory or a theory or a religion of secular humanism.

Both theories have religious implications, but those religious implications should not make the theories invalid.  The big bang theory has a religious implication.  So I think you have to look at what the scientists said the—and those scientists...

ABRAMS:  Well I think that‘s what the judge did...

THOMPSON:  ... ruling—well I mean that‘s one viewpoint. 

ABRAMS:  Yes...

THOMPSON:  That‘s one viewpoint...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON:  ... and the judge should not have gone that far. 

ABRAMS:  Mr. Thompson, you didn‘t actually think you were going to win this case, did you? 

THOMPSON:  We thought that the judge—we though we could win this case...

ABRAMS:  Come on.  Really?

THOMPSON:  ... yes, we did. 

ABRAMS:  Really? 

THOMPSON:  You have to keep in mind, Dan, you have a one-minute statement read to biology students that mentions the phrase intelligent design twice.  The policy further goes to say that students will only be taught evolution, will not be taught intelligent design nor creationism.  The founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they thought that the establishment clause, which they enacted, would be used to throw this modest curriculum change out the door. 

ABRAMS:  Mr. Rothschild, your response.

ROTHSCHILD:  Yes, Dan, their lead expert, who claims to be doing science, has written that this is a theory, intelligent design, that is more persuasive the more you believe in God.  This is about making the case for God.  It‘s always been about making the case for God.  In fact, it‘s the historical argument for the existence of God.

THOMPSON:  Well you know what...

ABRAMS:  You get the final word, Mr. Thompson... 

THOMPSON:  Dan, you know what?  It‘s ironic—OK, it‘s ironic that in 1925, in the Scopes trial, the ACLU was on the other side at that trial and they said that there should be no dogma, no orthodoxy in the public education system.  Once you turn the public education system into an orthodoxy, you‘re not teaching anymore.  You‘re indoctrinating and that‘s what this judge‘s opinion does.  It indoctrinates the (INAUDIBLE) that there‘s only Darwin‘s theory and there cannot be...

ABRAMS:  Very quickly...

THOMPSON:  ... of that theory.

ABRAMS:  Mr. Thompson, you get the final word on the substance.  Very quickly, are you going to appeal? 

THOMPSON:  It‘s not up to us.  The Dover School District...

ABRAMS:  Yes, there‘s a new board, right...

THOMPSON:  ... I think has made indication—yes...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

THOMPSON:  They probably are not going to appeal. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  All right, Mr. Thompson, thanks for playing with us. 

Eric Rothschild, I appreciate you coming on the program as well. 

ROTHSCHILD:  Thank you.

THOMPSON:  It‘s a pleasure, Dan...

ABRAMS:  Coming up, President Bush calls it shameful that someone told the press about the administration‘s program to spy on some Americans after 9-11, but some are calling it patriotic.  We‘ll talk to Pat Buchanan, have a debate. 

Federal authorities say thieves used blowtorches to steal 400 pounds of explosives, 400 pounds, from a New Mexico bunker.  It‘s being called the largest chemical heist in history and it‘s making many people very jittery. 

And pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page is suing rapper Jay-Z over the use of this hand signal.  Diamond Dallas is with us for a legal smack down. 

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)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program at a time of war.  The fact that we‘re discussing this program is helping the enemy. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But is it really?  In an effort to thwart terror attacks here in the U.S. the president has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on certain Americans‘ international phone calls and e-mails without court-ordered warrants to do so.  The president admitted the program was in place after “The New York Times” revealed its existence on Friday.

Some say without any court supervision even from the secret FISA Court, President Bush‘s actions are illegal.  What about the government insiders who leaked the story to the press?  Should they be held accountable?  The president says the past proves this disclosure of information is helping the enemy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  In the late 1990‘s our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone.  And then the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as a result of a leak.  And guess what happened?  Saddam—Osama bin Laden changed his behavior.  He began to change how he communicated. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  “My Take”—this is nothing like that example, where bin Laden may have learned that we knew about his cell phone, and therefore he stopped using it.  What, in this instance, terrorists learned that their conversations may be monitored without a warrant from the special FISA Court?  Oh so they‘re going to say well, when they have to get a warrant that I would have never known about, I wasn‘t worried, but now that I know they can do it without going to that secret court that changes everything. 

Come on.  Al Qaeda operatives have long assumed their phones are bugged.  That‘s why they talk in code, and that is also why it‘s important to monitor their conversations.  But that says nothing about why it has to be done without even notifying the secret court.  Americans deserve to know this and for the terrorists, there‘s no difference to being monitored with or without a secret court‘s approval. 

Joining me now MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and criminal defense attorney, civil rights advocate Gerry Lefcourt. 

Pat, what am I getting wrong? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  What you‘re getting wrong is it‘s the individual who leaked this presumably had access to a top secret of the United States government in a time of war that the president of the United States considered critical to national security.  Mr. Rockefeller apparently did, to the extent that he was writing handwritten notes...

ABRAMS:  Talking about Senator Rockefeller. 

BUCHANAN:  Senator Rockefeller, yes.  And no individual who takes an oath to secure the secrets of the United States has a right to blab to the press in time of war and reveal and expose a national security secret. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  They ought to be indicted, convicted and put in prison.

ABRAMS:  But Pat, and I know you‘ve been—you‘re one of the few intellectually consistent people out there.  But this is the same argument that was made during Vietnam, right, about those who were opposing the war and the release of the Pentagon papers, et cetera...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Well, Dan, you recall yourself that General Ellsberg was rightly prosecuted for that.  The conviction or the prosecution was overturned because it was an abuse during the investigation.  But he was rightly prosecuted.  Dan, for heaven‘s sakes, our network has been all over the case, the terrible case of who leaked Valerie Plame‘s name. 

Now which is more of a threat to the national security, the fact that somebody said Valerie works at the CIA or the fact that the president of the United States and the NSA have a secret program, which deals with foreigners in the United States, maybe some Americans, calling overseas to people with contacts with al Qaeda. 

Nobody, no GS-13 or 15 should take it upon themselves to take and blab these secrets to “The New York Times” and if they do it, they shouldn‘t be working for the government and they ought to be in Louisburg.

ABRAMS:  Gerry? 

GERALD LEFCOURT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well you know this is much ado about nothing.  I mean can you imagine intelligence people in foreign countries monitoring the United States not knowing that the National Security Agency has the capability to do exactly what this so-called secret program says they were doing.  What is really outrageous about the reaction of the administration to the disclosure is that you know they‘re now attacking people when they should be attacked. 

As you know Senator Leahy said, no act of Congress, not the Patriot Act, not the Foreign Intelligence Security Act authorizes this.  This is totally illegal and thank God there are whistleblowers.  You know this country is about preserving freedom, not about destroying it in the name of some kind of national security and foreign war.  This was a good act to disclose it. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, well Gerry...

LEFCOURT:  It‘s important that “The New York Times”...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

LEFCOURT:  ... has it on the front page just like they had the Pentagon papers.  Certainly, Ellsberg or whoever leaked it, who took an oath shouldn‘t be doing that and they should be prosecuted, but we want to know when it is done because we want to preserve our freedom and not allow it to go down the drain. 

BUCHANAN:  Well first off, OK, then we agree that Ellsberg was rightly prosecuted.  I think he could have gotten 35 years in jail for what he did. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  This individual...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Hold it, Gerry. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me talk briefly.  This individual ought to be put in the penitentiary and so should the individual who leaked to “The Washington Post” the fact that we have these camps in Poland.  Suppose some terrorist blows up a bomb in Warsaw in retaliation for some jerk leaking this news...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  Aren‘t you talking about the wrong thing here...

BUCHANAN:  ... “The New York Times”...

LEFCOURT:  Why do you support...

BUCHANAN:  As for “The New York Times”...

LEFCOURT:  ... camps torture, national security...

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t...

LEFCOURT:  ... wiretapping without court order? 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t...

LEFCOURT:  Why do you support those things?

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t support any of that thing.  What I do support...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... is that those of us...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let him respond...

BUCHANAN:  ... those of us...

ABRAMS:  Hang on, Gerry.  Let him respond.  Go ahead, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  ... those of us who put up their right-hand as I did and take an oath to preserve the national security secrets of the United States.  I knew about the Cambodian bombing because the president of the United States told me and he told me why we were doing it.  Now if I had gone out and leaked that I should have been put in prison. 

And people who take an oath, Gerry, you might not understand these things being an ACLU type, but they have to do with the national security of the country and they make those judgments.  You don‘t.  “The New York Times” should not either. 

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  Are you saying “The New York Times” should not publish what is an illegal act by the United States government?  Is that what you‘re saying? 

BUCHANAN:  Well “The New York Times” withheld information...

LEFCOURT:  ... should they or should they not have published that...

BUCHANAN:  ... and rightly should.  They should not have published the Bay of Pigs...

LEFCOURT:  No, no...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  ... what about this last Friday.  Last Friday they published a story that our government is committing illegal acts by illegally wiretapping American citizens...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  ... without the approval...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  Do you think they should publish that?

BUCHANAN:  Here‘s what I think.  I think “The New York Times” did that deliberately and politically to (A) sink the Patriot Act thing and (B) because a book‘s coming out which this guy wrote.  Why did they hold it for a year?  You tell me that.

LEFCOURT:  Well because they were asked to hold it.  It was some kind of frightening threat to national security.  That‘s what the government does.

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  They try to prevent...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  ... the truth from coming out. 

BUCHANAN:  Apparently...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Apparently, then the people from “The New York Times”...

LEFCOURT:  ... you cannot support torture and illegal acts like that...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t support torture...

LEFCOURT:  ... and just attack the accusers. 

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  You‘re attacking the messenger. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me just tell you Keller and Sulzberger withheld it at the request of the government for a year.  Now they apparently thought themselves, considered the gravity of what they were doing, withheld it for a year, decided to withhold some material and then go with it.  At least they considered this as a serious matter.  I consider it a grave matter for the individual who takes it upon himself to say I‘m a hero and I‘m a whistleblower.  I don‘t like this secret being kept...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait, wait...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Pat, when you talk about...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... the person being a hero...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Pat, when you talk about the person being a hero, and the bottom line is they‘re not out there getting any credit for it, it‘s not as if people are saying hey, great job out there.  And it was the legitimate belief of whoever was doing this that there was something illegal going on in the government. 

BUCHANAN:  Well look, people might have leaked Valerie Plame‘s name thinking we‘re helping the country.  I‘m a whistleblower, and you guys, Dan, have been all over their case.  “HARDBALL” has been, MSNBC.  Did Rove do it?  Shouldn‘t Rove be in prison?  Is it more serious...

ABRAMS:  I have a lot of problems with that investigation, I‘ll tell you that right now...

BUCHANAN:  I‘ve got a lot of problems with that investigation, too...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Yes.  No, I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  You know, it‘s all right to keep a secret that the United States and my name is torturing people, to keep a secret that the United States, in my name, without going to a court that would approve any act that‘s requested of them, to go to a court before you illegally wiretap American citizens and look at their e-mails for no reason without any suspicion...

(CROSSTALK)

LEFCOURT:  ... without any probable cause. 

BUCHANAN:  Gerry, why don‘t we have somebody...

LEFCOURT:  Why don‘t you oppose that...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Pat gets the final word. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  What I want to see is people stand up and be heroic.  Now I disagreed with Elliot Richardson when he wouldn‘t take (INAUDIBLE) but he stood up and he resigned.  If you feel that badly about it, be a man, stand up and say there are things going on in this government I can‘t live with.  I‘m resigning.  But you don‘t sneak around to “The New York Times” and then hide behind anonymity and expect to be called a hero when you‘re breaking the law.  People don‘t have a right to choose...

LEFCOURT:  Pat...

BUCHANAN:  ... what laws to obey. 

LEFCOURT:  ... you‘re sidestepping the real issue.  You‘re sidestepping...

BUCHANAN:  No, we‘re not.  We‘re right on the issue.

LEFCOURT:  ... the real issue.  It‘s whether this is an appropriate thing for the government of the United States to be doing.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, that‘s something I agree, the Congress of the United States should take it up.  Bush made his case.  Attorney general did...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... but there are no heroes up there in Congress...

ABRAMS:  We got to wrap it up...

BUCHANAN:  ... who are going to move against the president on this and you know it.

ABRAMS:  Sometimes you get two good guests, and I can just shut up.  It doesn‘t happen all that often, as my viewers know.  Pat Buchanan and Gerry Lefcourt, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

BUCHANAN:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, 400 pounds of plastic explosives missing.  The thieves apparently used blowtorches to get in there to steal them.  We talk to the nervous authorities who at this time have no leads. 

And later, what could a former pro wrestler, now a yoga guru, possibly have in common with rapper Jay-Z?  How about this hand symbol, for starters.  Diamond Dallas Page is suing Jay-Z and both sides are here. 

Our continuing series—sex offenders before they strike. Our search today is in Kansas.  Authorities need your help finding Jason Chaney.  He‘s 29, 5‘10”, 180.  Convicted of rape in 1996, current address, they don‘t know, because he hasn‘t registered.

If you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please contact Kansas Bureau of Investigations, 1-800-572-6 -- sorry -- 572-7463.  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, 400 pounds of plastic explosives are missing.  Federal authorities say it‘s one of the largest heists in history.  Many are fearing what it was stolen for.  The details after the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It is one of our biggest security fears a pile of explosives enough to level a building goes missing.  In New Mexico hundreds of pounds of commercial plastic and high powered explosive, more than 2,000 blasting caps, 20,000 feet of explosive detonation cord disappeared from a private storage sight.  The explosives, all roughly big enough to fit into a truck or SUV went missing sometime between December 13 and Sunday. 

Investigators now following up on leads, trying to track down the explosives.  Joining me now is Bernalillo County New Mexico sheriff, Darren White, who is investigating this case and on the phone we‘re joined by Larry Ford, assistant director of public and governmental affairs for the ATF.  Gentlemen thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, so Sheriff, give us a sense here.  I mean we hear that this amount could fit into a truck or SUV, but how serious a threat is that getting into the wrong hands?

SHERIFF DARREN WHITE, BERNALILLO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO:  Well, Dan, you can‘t minimize the seriousness of this.  This material in the hands of the wrong person, especially someone with evil intentions can prove to be very, very destructive and deadly.  So this is serious business. 

ABRAMS:  Mr. Ford, have you had other cases like this, where we‘re talking about this much explosives missing? 

LARRY FORD, ATF ASST. DIR. OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS (via phone):  Well obviously, you know as a priority for ATF is public safety.  You know in this investigation we‘re going to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to locate the missing explosives and the perpetrators.  You know our unique expertise in this area, we regulate, but we also enforce the federal explosives laws. 

ABRAMS:  How does this compare, though, in terms of the amount of explosives that are missing?  I mean are we overstating it to say that it‘s one of the largest heists? 

FORD:  Well you know this is one of approximately 30-so explosive thefts reported this year.  You know each and every incident is a priority and is very important to us.  Again, going back to the public safety issue...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

FORD:  ... we take them all very seriously and we will do everything that we can within our powers, with our partners, Albuquerque police, New Mexico state police, Bernalillo...

ABRAMS:  All right.

FORD:  ... County sheriffs and the FBI...

ABRAMS:  Sheriff, they used blowtorches to get through what was not a particularly secure area, right? 

WHITE:  Well, Dan, I don‘t want to get into the specifics of how they were able to breach these particular magazines, but I think it‘s safe to say that the level of security around these particular sites where they‘re storing high-grade explosives was a little less than desirable.  And so it‘s something that we‘re very, very concerned about.  And separate from the investigation itself is the issue of the security at these sites and something that we‘ll be looking into.

ABRAMS:  But I guess my question is there was enough security, was there not, such that someone wouldn‘t just be passing by and see it and be able to just go put their pickup truck there and just pour it into the pickup truck? 

WHITE:  No.  This was in a very, very remote area of Bernalillo County and so it could have been—this particular case it could have been days actually before it was discovered, so that‘s a concern especially in a post 9-11 era. 

ABRAMS:  Sheriff, any suspects? 

WHITE:  Say again, Dan? 

ABRAMS:  I said do you have any suspects, any leads? 

WHITE:  Dan, we‘re getting some phone calls.  We‘re very encouraged by that.  But the one thing we‘re not doing is we‘re not sitting on our hands.  We have teams of detectives with agents from the ATF and the FBI out scouring the streets, say we know who our bad guys are and so we‘re not leaving any stone unturned and as you heard, hopefully, from our activity, we‘re able to actually gin up some leads on our own as well.

ABRAMS:  All right, Sheriff, who should people call if they‘ve got any information about this? 

WHITE:  Well, here in Albuquerque we‘re asking people to call Crime Stoppers and that‘s 505-843-STOP.  Dan, we need the public‘s help with this.  We—again, we cannot minimize the seriousness of this.  We need to get this material off the streets as quickly as possible.  Even if it‘s somebody that just committed a burglary and is not—doesn‘t really know what they have.  Please give us a call.  Just abandon it, we‘ll come and get it.  Our concern is getting this stuff off the street as quickly as possible.

ABRAMS:  All right, Sheriff White and Larry Ford, thank you very much. 

Appreciate it. 

FORD:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up...

WHITE:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  ... who says a diamond isn‘t forever.  A legal smack down is underway over this hand symbol.  Former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page is suing rapper Jay-Z.  Diamond Dallas says it‘s his symbol.  He wants Jay-Z to stop using it.  Both sides are here and as they say in the world of wrestling, ready to rumble. 

And later, my week of holiday tips continues.  Tonight for all you guys out there waiting for the last minute to buy your lovely a gift, Dan‘s last minute tips on what to get or not to get your sweetheart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, former pro wrestler Dallas Diamond Page takes rapper Jay-Z to court over this hand signal.  He says Jay-Z stole his bling and Diamond Dallas is with us.  We‘ll talk to both sides.  Up next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  What do a ‘90‘s world championship wrestler turned yoga guru and one of today‘s hottest rappers have in common?  This hand symbol.  Former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page is suing rapper Jay-Z over his use of what Diamond Dallas says is his trademark move, the diamond cutter.  Diamond Dallas says he created the symbol for fans to associate with him, but that Jay-Z is using it now to promote himself. 

It‘s clear that Jay-Z and his fans use a similar symbol to communicate with each other, but Jay-Z denies stealing the stellar diamond move from the wrestler.  Diamond Dallas Page says Jay-Z‘s use of the symbol, flashing it during concerts and in music videos, as well as on his CD covers is hurting his business reputation and is diluting his trademark. 

Joining me now is world champion wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, along with his attorneys, George Gallegos and Jill Pietrini and Jay-Z‘s attorney Christine Lepera.  Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, Diamond Dallas...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... let me start with you.  Do you really think that there is confusion out there, that people are seeing Jay-Z and they‘re thinking oh wait a sec, I‘m not sure if that‘s Dallas or that‘s Jay-Z.

DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER:  Well absolutely.  But for starters, I do want to start off by saying, I never wanted to sue Jay-Z.  OK, I got too much respect for the guy.  What I wanted to do was work out a—you know, resolve the matter.  The bottom line, after months we couldn‘t do that.  And over this period, there‘s been so many—there has been a lot of confusion. 

I was in a movie called “Driftwood”.  It‘s a dark course entertainment movie.  I have a leading role with a guy named Ricky Ullman.  Ricky Ullman is on “Phil of the Future”, he plays Phil.  I have a picture of me and him doing the diamond cut assignment, was on my site and then clicked to his site, and under it was a list of comments and one little girl says why does he—that man have Ricky doing Jay-Z‘s sign under it.  You can go look that up on Ricky‘s site and under it it‘ll say you idiot, that‘s Diamond Dallas Page...

ABRAMS:  Let‘s assume for a minute...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let‘s assume there are some kids out there, right, that know Jay-Z and don‘t know you, you know kids who are rap fans, and you know they‘re not watching your movies.  They weren‘t wrestling fans, et cetera, but so what?  I mean what—is it—do you want money?  I mean you‘re basically saying that he‘s benefiting from your name?

PAGE:  Without question he‘s benefiting from the sign.  But here‘s the sign.  You back off (INAUDIBLE) see this is my brand sign.  I want to protect my trademark, my copyright.  I want to protect this sign because I just came up with this book that is “Yoga for Regular Guys”, which is YRG.  There‘s about to be 20 different symbols with this, you know from yoga mats to heart monitors. 

I mean it goes on and on.  It‘s been a use I‘ve been building since 1996.  I have myself on film, throwing it up and no one doing it—three people, five, 10, 100, 1,000 (INAUDIBLE) my move 20,000 people would throw it up.  I mean I built this brand and it is synonymous with Diamond Dallas Page. 

ABRAMS:  All right, let me ask Christine Lepera, the attorney for Jay-Z, what do you make of that? 

CHRISTINE LEPERA, ATTORNEY FOR RAPPER JAY-Z:  What I make of this case and frankly what Jay-Z makes of this case is that it‘s a publicity stunt and that the hand gesture that Jay-Z has used and is entitled to use has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Page, with his sign.  In fact, this sign, whether it be Mr. Page‘s or the one that Jay-Z uses, which are not identical in any way...

ABRAMS:  How are they different? 

LEPERA:  ... have been around for—let me finish if you don‘t mind...

ABRAMS:  I just want to know how they‘re different...

LEPERA:  They‘re different if you look at the actual structure of the hand.  There‘s a position that‘s used differently by Mr. Page and by Jay-Z.  But with respect to either one of them, you can see common sources and common origination.  We‘ve just begun the investigation into this.  Obviously, it‘s a recently filed suit, but Mr. Page should look at the preexisting uses. 

In fact, we found uses in the beginning of the 1900‘s.  A well-established sorority has been using the sign, very similar.  It‘s not identical and there are signs that have been used in martial arts for over 1,000 years.  So to the extent Mr. Page thinks he (A) has originated this and to the extent he thinks that Jay-Z needs to trade off of him persona in order to promote himself, that‘s just ridiculous.

Jay-Z does not need to trade off of anyone to promote himself and he‘s not doing that.  He didn‘t copy anything of Mr. Page.  And Mr. Page can throw around the words trademark and copyright...

(CROSSTALK)

LEPERA:  ... in fact, there‘s nothing infringing about what Jay-Z has done at all. 

ABRAMS:  Ms. Pietrini, look, you‘re the trademark expert on the team

there.  You have to show that it‘s sort of distinctive, unique and that

there‘s a sort of risk of confusion out there.  I think—it seems to me

you‘re going to have a hard time as a legal matter proving that

JILL PIETRINI, DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE‘S ATTORNEY:  Well actually not at all.  Keep in mind that anything can be a trademark.  That‘s evidenced by the NBC chime is a registered trademark has been.  Paramount Studios owns the registration that includes the Spock symbol, so you know we definitely have trademark rights.  We have common law, which are unregistered...

ABRAMS:  Let‘s be clear.  Just so my viewers know that there was no registration, but you don‘t have to register under the law.  It just helps. 

PIETRINI:  Correct...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

PIETRINI:  ... and this is not—trademarks is not a matter of originality, per se.  This is not a patent.  This is not a copyright. 

(CROSSTALK)

PIETRINI:  This is acquired by use. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

PIETRINI:  And he has used it and he has acquired a substantial amount of fame in connection with this.  And if there weren‘t that, you wouldn‘t see the confusion that you‘re seeing, happening in the marketplace and a lot of it.  I mean we don‘t have to prove actual confusion.  We only need to prove likelihood and here we have actual. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

PIETRINI:  So that‘s on the trademark claim and then on the copyright claim we have substantial similarity. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Diamond Dallas, let me get back to you on one of the points that was made before, about the notion that Jay-Z doesn‘t need to be making money off of your name.  And Ms. Lepera seems to almost be laughing about that.

PAGE:  Well you know and to me Jay-Z—I mean like I said, I got a lot of respect for this guy and whether—I don‘t even want to use the words you know ripped off or anything, because the bottom line is he‘s using the sign and he has a lot of fame.  And like I said, he came up from nothing, that‘s why I‘ve got so much respect for him.  But I came up from nothing. 

I came up from being a 35-year-old wrestler.  That‘s the first time I broke in, tore my rotator cuff at 36, came back at 37.  I developed a name not just Diamond Dallas Page, a move, the diamond cutter, but I got the fans to be synonymous with this when they saw me.  I (INAUDIBLE) being out by cops and in the middle of being cussed (INAUDIBLE) being cussed out (INAUDIBLE) oh God, Diamond Dallas Page, you‘re my favorite. 

You know so I mean I know that this brand is worth a lot to me personally.  And do you know how many wrestlers in this world that are top guys that work at the show own their name?  You can count them on two hands.  Guys that are marketable you can count them on one hand, that actually go out or continue to market themselves and this is a part of who Diamond Dallas Page...

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE:  ... just like Jay-Z is doing Jay-Z Blue and he‘s licensing that out. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me give Ms. Lepera the final word on this...

LEPERA:  Thank you very much, Dan.  I think that it‘s very important to recognize in the context of this litigation when Jay-Z was allegedly infringing for the first time, according to Mr. Page, in 2000, when he put out his “Dynasty” album, he had the hand sign that was allegedly at issue here.  It is now 2005.  If you look at and we will be looking very carefully at the allegations here and Mr. Page‘s claim of a famous mark. 

Mr. Page took virtually no action and you look at the PTO records, they‘ve all been recently filed in connection with the claimed use in this area of entertainment.  So I think that the timing of this is very important and I think that Mr. Page will recognize when he goes back and his attorneys go back and look at the marks that exist, that he does not have a trademark in this.  Others may.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well it sounds like...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, I don‘t agree with that...

ABRAMS:  Ms. Lepera, you know have Jay-Z give him a call.  I mean I‘m sure you guys have tried this, but it sounds like Diamond Dallas would appreciate a call from Jay-Z saying hey, buddy, you know I like you.  You know this and that.  Maybe—I could settle all this, right Diamond Dallas, if he gives you a call. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Drop the lawsuit and maybe he‘ll give you a call.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Fair enough. 

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.

PAGE:  If we had that, we could have done it that way before...

ABRAMS:  All right...

PAGE:  ... we can go back before there‘s so much (INAUDIBLE).

ABRAMS:  George Gallegos, I‘m sorry I didn‘t get to you.  We just ran out of time.  Thanks to everyone...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you very much...

ABRAMS:  ... appreciate it, for coming on the program. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Appreciate it.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the moment you‘ve all been waiting for, my holiday gift suggestions for your sweetheart.  You can say there‘s a reason why I‘m mot married, but I say that means the art of giving becomes that much more important for me.  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.  Our search in Kansas, authorities need your help finding Robert Wilson.  He‘s 30, 6‘3”, 190.  He was convicted of kidnapping and rape in 1998.  He has not reported his address to the state. 

If you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please contact the

Kansas Bureau of Investigation, 1-800-572-7463.  Be right back

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—only a few days until the holidays and I‘ve got another holiday shopping tip, this one for the men out there who still haven‘t bought the perfect gift for that special someone.  Recent polls confirm that men are significantly more likely than women to do their holiday shopping at the last minute. 

My advice, do not give in and do the last minute over the top jewelry purchase.  A story in “The Washington Times” yesterday said that the most dangerous place to be on Christmas Eve is between a desperate husband and a jewelry counter.  It doesn‘t have to be that way. 

You don‘t have to choose the easy, pricey way out just because you‘re a champion procrastinator, although jewelry stores are counting on suckers like us showing up this Saturday.  A circular that went out to jewelers recently stated—quote—“Holiday shopping is stressful for men.  They do it later than women and spend much more than usual than gifts, up to 70 percent.  The last Saturday before Christmas is here, also the day before Christmas is the year‘s busiest shopping day.  Stock up for last minute shoppers.  Re-polish, re-tag and re-box slow moving merchandise.” 

Don‘t be the guy who buys the re-polished, re-tagged and re-boxed, slow-moving merchandise.  Show a little creativity.  I know it‘s hard to be creative at 3:00 on Christmas Eve when the stores close in an hour, but here are some suggestions to save you from the inevitable credit card bill holiday hangover.  Tip number one, spend some extra time on the card, tell her how special she is to you, even think about writing a poem or at least choose your words carefully. 

Some choice words can make up for the lack of choices at the store the night before Christmas.  As for the gift, how about a spa package, a massage, a facial, manicure, whatever.  What woman will not appreciate your desire to help her relax and it is so easy.  You just pick the services, then present her with the often-decorative card.  I can‘t tell you the number of times I have been scrambling for a last minute gift where I have been saved by the spa. 

It never disappoints and if you can, why not throw in a bath package, one of those fancy bath stores, you know candles, the whole shebang.  Or how about booking a weekend at a great hotel or even promising a weekend at a particular hotel.  You can deal with the details later.  If you‘re really strapped for time, just printout the home page from the Internet to give it to her, but make sure you characterize it as a romantic getaway, even if it‘s right off Route Five.

What not to get?  The most recent shopping in American survey ranked gift cards as the last top last-minute holiday gift.  Twenty percent of procrastinators choose one.  And while it‘s practical, it‘s about the least romantic thing I can think of.  Also and this is important, do not, I repeat do not try to buy shoes unless you know exactly what she wants.  Other types of clothing, OK, but no shoes. 

In fact, if it‘s shoes versus jewelry this December 24, bang away at the window of the jewelry store late on Christmas Eve.  One caveat to all of this that my primarily female staff wanted me to add.  I am single and many have said that is not by chance. 

Coming up, me tacky?  It‘s what one of you said after my “Closing Argument” on re-gifting last night.  Your e-mails are up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Yesterday President Bush admitted he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on certain Americans and foreigners in this country placing or receiving calls from abroad as part of the war on terror.  The key though without first getting a warrant from a court.

J.B. Francis in Atlanta, “I have to believe if someone from the U.S.  is calling Afghanistan, it‘s not to order a pizza.”  

Susan Kell in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, “If tapping a telephone could have prevented 9-11, would anyone be complaining now?  Let the government do what it has to do to protect us.”

Susan, no one is talking about not tapping phones.  That‘s not the issue.  The only question is whether you have to go to a court, a secret intelligence court to get permission, even after the fact. 

And last night in my “Closing Argument” re-gifting, I said it‘s OK, but there‘s etiquette involved.  You should come clean as much as you can.

Judy Bennett, “Re-gifting?  I‘ve never heard of anything more tacky or inappropriate.  If you receive gifts you don‘t care for, donate them to charity.”  

Have a great night.  “HARDBALL” up next.

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