updated 12/22/2005 9:31:28 AM ET 2005-12-22T14:31:28

Guests: Annie Hoffman, Ken Stethem, Debbie Schlussel, Donna Rice Hughes, Michelle Collins, John Timoney, Adriana Gardella, Michael Cardoza, Tim Thomas, Jennifer Brevorka, Mandy Locke

CATHERINE CRIER, GUEST HOST:  Now, right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, he survived a tour of duty in the war zone, only to be killed while home for the holidays.  Was he the victim of a setup?  Did his wife and her lover plan this deadly homecoming? 

And a developing story, police on a massive manhunt for a suspected serial rapist who escaped from jail.  Cops call him one of the worst they have seen, and we have got the latest live.  

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

CRIER:  Thanks for being here tonight.  I‘m Catherine, in for Joe.

In a moment, a story that is causing an international firestorm.  The terrorist who killed a U.S. Navy diver in the infamous TWA hijacking is now a free man.  How could this happen, and will he be brought to America to face our justice system? 

And the best friends of missing honeymooner George Smith IV—tonight, what they think about what happened just days after they were groomsmen in his wedding. 

But, first, a Navy reservist just back from a tour of duty in the Middle East gunned down in cold blood.  The most shocking development, police have charged his wife with killing her husband with the help of two 18-year-old men.  Monique Berkley is accused of being romantically involved with one of the alleged shooters.

During this frantic 911 call, she claims not to know her attackers. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DISPATCHER:  911.  Location of your emergency?

MONIQUE BERKLEY, WIFE OF NAVY RESERVIST PAUL BERKLEY:  Hello?

DISPATCHER:  Hello?

BERKLEY:  Hello?  I have been shot.  I have been shot.  And my husband, he‘s...

DISPATCHER:  You have been shot?

BERKLEY:  Yes. 

DISPATCHER:  What is your address?

BERKLEY:  I‘m in a park.

DISPATCHER:  All right.  The paramedics are on the way, OK?

BERKLEY:  OK.

DISPATCHER:  I want you to stay quiet and stay out of sight and tell me immediately if you see anybody moving around or anything.  OK?

Can you tell me anything about the people, what they look like, that shot you?

BERKLEY:  No.  They—no.

DISPATCHER:  Other than it was two people?

BERKLEY:  I heard two voices.  They were male.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRIER:  Joining us now from Raleigh, North Carolina, are Mandy Locke and Jennifer Brevorka.  They‘re reporters with “The News and Observer.” 

All right, let‘s start, Mandy, with—with you.  This story was replete with holes, I think, before we even got to the issue of whether or not anybody is going to confess or rat on the others in this case.  This woman is saying she didn‘t see the guy, she doesn‘t know the guys, and yet they are quite involved with this particular woman.  What is the relationship of the wife with the two 18-year-olds? 

MANDY LOCKE, “THE NEWS & OBSERVER”:  Well, it‘s an interesting relationship, for sure. 

We spoke with the—Andrew Canty is one of the suspects.  We spoke with his mother earlier in the week, and she divulged to us her son had been involved in a romantic relationship with Monique for the better part of the year.  In fact, he moved out of her house in April into Monique‘s home, and it was quite clear to everyone around them, including neighbors, that her son, Andrew Canty, had had a romantic relationship with Monique. 

CRIER:  All right.  And tell me who Latwon Johnson is. 

LOCKE:  Latwon is Andrew‘s friend.  The two met about a year-and-a-half ago when they were working at a Wendy‘s food store in Clayton.  And the two just became buddies. 

And Latwon was also dating the daughter of Paul Berkley, Becky (ph), for some period of time this year, but the relationship between the two dissolved about a month ago. 

CRIER:  All right. 

And, Jennifer, what was the relationship between Monique and her husband?  Quite a bit older.  She is 26.  He was 46, Paul Berkley.  Did people think this was a good relationship, or was the marriage in trouble? 

JENNIFER BREVORKA, “THE NEWS & OBSERVER”:  Well, apparently, his employer said that he didn‘t sense anything was awry or amiss.

And her family, when we spoke with them, said that the only people that could answer that question about the relationship would be Monique and Paul.  But as far as we can tell from the blogs that the children posted and from speaking with neighbors and those who knew them in Clayton, there was really no signs that this was a troubled relationship. 

CRIER:  Well, this poor man came back from Iraq on R&R for three weeks, was home four days.  Now, they were in a park about 30 minutes from their home in the wee hours of the morning, and I understand the weather, it was cold and rainy.  What is your explanation for that? 

BREVORKA:  At this point, there has not been an explanation presented, certainly not by the police, who are keeping pretty mum on what they know about the events leading up to the shooting and what happened afterwards. 

It was bitterly cold that night, and it was pouring rain, and so the idea of taking a walk in a deserted North Raleigh park 30 to 40 minutes from your home is strange. 

CRIER:  All right.  Now, they have arrested the wife.  They have arrested Monique now, so one would assume somebody has been talking.  Do you have any sort of rumors out there? 

BREVORKA:  No. 

CRIER:  All right. 

(CROSSTALK)

LOCKE:  We don‘t, Catherine.  Stay tuned.  Keep reading us. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Absolutely.

Mandy and Jennifer, thank you very much. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Now, on the phone with us is Tim Thomas, a friend of the murdered reservist. 

Tim, what sort of understanding did you have about the relationship between Monique and Paul? 

TIM THOMAS, FRIEND OF PAUL BERKLEY:  When they—since the first day I met Paul and Monique, I mean, they were like—held hands, were loving and caring of each other. 

In the evenings, Paul was always—you know, we would work hard, and after we were done, he was ready to go home and be with his family. 

CRIER:  I understand that there was a lot of blogging done by this family.  They had their own Web sites, and comments that Paul had posted just shortly before his death sounded like everything was fine as far as he was concerned. 

THOMAS:  Yes. 

Paul said they—he—when Paul—with my conversation with Paul about Monique, he—when he met Monique, he said he had—that that was the person for him.  And they had spent quite a bit of time walking and talking.

And, I mean, that was fairly natural for them.  I mean, they seemed to do it in all seasons.  And they liked doing it at night, which is kind of strange, but that‘s when they did their talking.  He would come to work sometimes exhausted from them being out at night. 

CRIER:  All right.  So, they did take walks in these odd hours, wee hours of the morning, but when you heard that it was very cold and very rainy, did that, you know, set off any bells in your head? 

THOMAS:  That was just Paul.  Paul was kind of strange, you know, in certain respects.

And, I mean, that was—I don‘t know.  Paul did—they would go out.  That was their time to be together.  So—and, I mean, those two used to just have long conversations. 

CRIER:  All right. 

Well, Tim, thank you very much. 

Now, before we bring in our panel, let‘s hear some more of Berkley‘s 911 call.  But, first, I want to warn you, some of the sounds you will hear are pretty graphic. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DISPATCHER:  Who is that I hear in the background?

BERKLEY:  My husband.

DISPATCHER:  What is he—has he been shot?

BERKLEY:  Yes.

DISPATCHER:  Who shot him?

BERKLEY:  I don‘t know.

DISPATCHER:  You don‘t know?

BERKLEY:  No.

DISPATCHER:  How did you—did you get shot?

BERKLEY:  Yes. 

DISPATCHER:  Did somebody shoot in to your car?

BERKLEY:  No.  We were walking.

DISPATCHER:  You were walking. 

(CROSSTALK)

DISPATCHER:  Did you see—did they—did they fire from a car?

BERKLEY:  No.

DISPATCHER:  Were they—were they in the park?

BERKLEY:  Yes. 

DISPATCHER:  Did you see them?

BERKLEY:  No.  There was—there was two people, though.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CRIER:  All right, joining us now, senior editor of “Justice” magazine, Adriana Gardella, and criminal defense attorney Michael Cardoza.

Michael, they—they obviously got to her pretty quickly on this, but you do have to ask yourself, even if it was a practice to walk in the park, rainy, cold, seems pretty bizarre.  If, in fact, these two men, even if the boyfriend was doing this on his own, she tells police she doesn‘t know who these guys were, came out of nowhere.  And, of course, she was shot, certainly not apparently a very bad injury, but those things don‘t look good for someone who was not complicit. 

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  See, I am not enamored with the fact that they are walking in the park at 3:00 in the morning, because remember what the victim‘s friends said.  It‘s not unusual for them to do that. 

CRIER:  In the cold rain. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARDOZA:  Yes, but, remember, he is there voluntarily.  He didn‘t get dragged there in chains, so he goes there for his own reasons. 

What is interesting here, from all we know right now, I don‘t think there‘s enough to charge her with first-degree murder, which leads to what you said, and I think you are spot on.  One of these guys had to confess, which then leads to, if they confessed, it doesn‘t affect her, because, as you know, if they go to trial, they can‘t use Canty or Johnson‘s confession against her. 

There would have to be separate trials, so what they have had to have done to charge this first-degree murder is to get one of them to get into some sort of agreement to say, yes, I will testify against her.

So that‘s got to be what‘s going on here, because right now, with all that we know, there‘s not enough even to charge this case.  Somebody had to talk, and that‘s why the district attorney brought the first-degree murder.  We are going to have to watch this one and see how it develops from here, but I can almost guarantee they have got more evidence.  I don‘t think they have an independent witness out there, so it leaves only two, those two guys.

And the other thing that you said, Catherine, was that she said she didn‘t recognize the person.  I think what she said was, I didn‘t see them.  So, you know, her defense may well be in this case, hey, if those two guys did it, they did it on their own.  I didn‘t know anything about this. 

CRIER:  Of course, then, Adriana, this is not really to sort of argue the merits yet.  We don‘t know enough.  They went to a park that wasn‘t the normal walking place.  It was 30 minutes from the house, and in the wee hours of the morning, so either these two would have had to stake them out, expecting them to come out and go somewhere, and be able to follow them, or they had information about where the two would be at a particular time. 

ADRIANA GARDELLA, EDITOR, “JUSTICE”:  Right. 

We just don‘t have any information on that yet, but listening to those tapes, what comes to mind is, again, no talk of motive yet, but if, in fact, this is one of these love triangle cases, you just wonder, isn‘t it easier to just get a divorce?  These cases are just incredible to me. 

CARDOZA:  Yes. 

Well, the case that this reminds me of is Pam Smart. 

GARDELLA:  Yes. 

CRIER:  You certainly remember Pam Smart.

And, Michael, in that case, it was sort of to get to it.

CARDOZA:  Yes. 

CRIER:  But she had the two young students that basically she convinced to kill her husband. 

CARDOZA:  Right. 

Oh, no question about it.  Here did they collaborate and decide to kill him?  Did they know to go to the park at night, or did they know enough because, remember, Canty lived with her while he was off at war.  He had lived with her, so I am sure he got enough information to know where they went walking, but it smells like this was a plan to do this.  And if it‘s about money, and if she killed for money, and was there an insurance policy, it could be a death penalty case behind that.

But, right now, we truly don‘t know enough to know what went on here and other than to say one of them had to confess and the government had to make a deal with them to testify against her, because, other than that, I don‘t think they have a whole lot here. 

CRIER:  Yes, well, I will bet you they are pretty confident at this point in time. 

CARDOZA:  Oh, they have got to be.  They have got to be. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

We will continue to follow this. 

CARDOZA:  Right. 

CRIER:  Adriana Gardella and Michael Cardoza, much appreciated. 

CARDOZA:  You‘re welcome. 

CRIER:  And we are following a developing story out of Miami tonight, a suspected serial rapist on the loose.  Police call him one of the worst sexual offenders they have ever seen.  Next, we are live with the latest on the manhunt.

And his murder shocked the world.  Now the man responsible for killing a Navy diver on board a hijacked plane is free.  How could this happen?  His brother is here tonight demanding answers. 

Stay with us.  We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRIER:  His name is Reynaldo Elias Rapalo.  He‘s an accused serial rapist.  Tonight, he‘s on the loose after tying together bed sheets to escape from a Florida prison. 

Welcome back.  I‘m Catherine Crier, in for Joe tonight.

Let‘s go live to Tom Llamas of NBC station WTVJ in Miami.

Tom, I don‘t know that I have ever heard of so many prison breaks in one couple of month period.  We have got another one here.  What‘s the latest? 

TOM LLAMAS, WTVJ REPORTER:  That‘s right.

The City of Miami Police Department has a massive dragnet right now that includes Miami-Dade County‘s police department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, all looking right now for this man, Reynaldo Rapalo, known as the Shenandoah rapist.  Apparently, he escaped last night through a ceiling vent in his jail cell, crawled up to the roof, then somehow tied bed sheets together and lowered himself down all the way to the ground. 

He has been missing ever since.  Now, police really want to capture this man, because they think he raped up to seven female victims in the Shenandoah and Little Havana neighborhoods of Miami.  Those victims were as old as 79, some as young as 11.  Now, they are searching all over Miami-Dade County for him right now. 

They are also working with police in Honduras, because this man is an Honduran immigrant.  So, in case he tries to flee the country, police want to be ready to catch him over there.  It took police one year to catch him when they first started investigating the case in 2002.  It took prosecutors two years to put the case together, but who knows how long it‘s going to take to find him—Catherine.

CRIER:  All right.  Tom Llamas of WTVJ, thank you for the report. 

Now want to bring in John Timoney.  He‘s the chief of police in Miami. 

He joins us on the phone. 

Chief, start off.  I understand you are concerned this guy may actually be armed, in addition to being terribly dangerous for the crimes he has been convicted of. 

JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF:  That‘s right, Catherine.

We have got a report, initially, after the investigation, once he broke out, that he is possibly armed, so we consider him armed and dangerous, and this—the guy is certainly dangerous.  There are at least seven victims, probably more. 

We just arrested him, as you are well aware, over two years ago, only to have him escape from the correctional facility tonight—or actually last night.  And, so, we are back to square one. 

CRIER:  OK.  Can you give us some details, sort of the M.O.?  I understood from earlier reports, he was conniving, kind of a con man.  He might actually be able to sort of charm people.  What should people be looking for? 

TIMONEY:  Well, it‘s interesting. 

I spoke to him myself when he was arrested over two years ago, and he is—he seems like a nice enough fellow.  He is very charming.  He‘s very endearing.  And our investigation so far, as we interview other people just that have had contact with him in jail over the last four or five months, he is disarming and charming. 

And, so, he may not appear—I don‘t know what people‘s impression or feelings or ideas about what a rapist is, but this guy wouldn‘t fit what you would normally think. 

CRIER:  Now, is there a particular area of the city where the victims were?  Or was this sort of ranging around, where his friends are, or are there areas you would like people to take particular note of? 

TIMONEY:  No.

I would say it‘s mostly Latino.  It‘s in the Little Havana-Shenandoah area, which is—it‘s completely Latino.  But in the Little Havana area, it used to be all Cuban.  Now it‘s mostly Central American.  So, it‘s people that he knows.  He knows the language.  He knows what they do.  His big M.O., back two-and-a-half years ago, he would pretend like he was going to rent a room or an apartment or a house, which gave him a rationale for being in the area.

And then he would accost folks, and, then, all of a sudden, ingratiate himself, and, before you know it, he would engage in the sexual activity. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  OK.  One final question. 

TIMONEY:  OK.

CRIER:  Why would you have a vent in a jail cell that is big enough for a human being to crawl through? 

TIMONEY:  That‘s the $64,000 question that has to be answered.  And there‘s a separate investigation going regarding the whole facility there, and how it‘s possible they can get this guy, who is like—he‘s the number-one guy here for the last four or five years.  How could he possibly escape. 

CRIER:  Yes, to get up through a vent, to be able to pull the bed sheets up, and then get off the roof, and run off without anybody seeing him, Chief, yes, I think some investigation needs to take place right there. 

Miami Police Chief John Timoney, thank you very much. 

TIMONEY:  Catherine, thank you. 

CRIER:  OK. 

Could your child‘s time online be spent running an Internet porn site?  Monday‘s “New York Times” left some parents asking that question, but are reports of a teenage boy running and profiting from his own porn site the latest Internet danger or a bunch of hype?  Wait until you hear this. 

Joining me to talk about the very real dangers your child faces online, Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, and Michelle Collins, director of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Donna, I tell you, I read this article by “The New York Times,” and my jaw dropped.  I had no idea this kind of stuff was going on as extensively as it is.  Webcams are ubiquitous now.  Kids have them all the time.  Tell me about the lead character in this story, and how he found himself literally a businessman in the porn industry. 

(CROSSTALK)

DONNA RICE HUGHES, VOLUNTEER PRESIDENT, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH:  Well, from what I understand—and, again, Michelle could probably answer this a little bit better than me, because I believe she worked on the case.

But, you know, here was a child whose mother, 14 years old, gave him a Webcam.  He was very astute at the Internet and very astute at computers, and she felt that this would be a good thing for him.  And he went online, and went into some of the more common areas.  I think it was a chat room, Michelle.  Is that right? 

MICHELLE COLLINS, EXPLOITED CHILD UNIT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR

MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN:  Yes.  Yes, you are right. 

HUGHES:  And yes.  And thinking that he was going to be interacting with teenagers—and this happens so often in chat rooms.

And what happened was, there weren‘t any teens in there that were interacting with him, but instead older men, in fact, predators.  Predators do spend a lot of time in chat rooms looking for younger kids, for vulnerable kids, and they began to build some relationship with him, and then I will let Michelle take it on from there. 

CRIER:  Yes.  Let me ask Michelle about that, because it was really the Webcam.  I understand that the moment he put up a photograph, wanting to make friends and chat, boy, those guys were all over him like ugly on an ape, and messaging him, e-mailing him and making friends. 

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS:  Yes. 

It‘s absolutely dangerous when children are using and teenagers are using the Internet to try to fill a social void that they feel in their lives.  And that was the case with this young boy. 

CRIER:  So, they came on and basically started complimenting him.  He had some family problems, needed a father figure.

COLLINS:  Right. 

CRIER:  And the next thing, would you take off your shirt for 50 bucks?  And they taught him to have the PayPal site, where he could make money off this thing.

I understand this kid has told authorities that he made literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts. 

COLLINS:  Absolutely. 

Yesterday‘s “New York Times” article really described the worst-case example of a teenager with too much privacy, too much technology at a sexually curious age.  And what can really happen as a result was just—just so traumatic to read, and certainly for the young boy.

CRIER:  Well, I find it absolutely extraordinary that—that people, these guys—I mean, these guys, I understand—and, Michelle, clarify it for me—the perverts, I will call them, have places to go where they discussed how to seduce these kids, how to groom them, as we heard that term in the Michael Jackson case, how to buy them presents on other online sites and send it to them. 

COLLINS:  Absolutely. 

And when they found a particular teenager who‘s going to be vulnerable to needing the attention that they desire, these individuals are quick to jump in, and certainly look for commonalties with the teenager, or with the child, that they can establish a relationship. 

And once that relationship is there, it‘s very difficult for the kids to actually see through it and see that the person is trying to exploit them. 

CRIER:  And he even developed a monthly subscription site.  So, he had lots of sites.

But when he basically starting talking to authorities, he was giving them producers, all sorts of people in the business, but was also able to direct them to a lot of other young people who were involved in literally the business side of this. 

COLLINS:  Right. 

Well, the Internet is the greatest connector of all time.  Individuals who are looking to prey on kids are going to use it to share information, as you mentioned, on where to find the children, on where—what exactly to say to them, as well as the kids are going to use it online to lead each other to different areas, where they are going to have something that they are looking to gain. 

CRIER:  All right, Donna, I also think that there were some admonitions in there that people ought to realize.  These kids may think they are being cute in various stages of undress, even for their friends.  Well, here I am in my underwear, but these pictures, once they are out there, they are out there forever, essentially. 

(CROSSTALK)

HUGHES:  They are out, and you can‘t retrieve it.  It‘s like letting a gas loose in the air.  Once it‘s out there, it‘s out there.  So, even if the site comes down, all those pictures are still there. 

And about 89 percent of all the sexual solicitations happen in chat rooms or through instant-messaging, which is one of the reasons that in our rules and tools program, we tell parents to disallow chat rooms.  I don‘t know of any chat rooms that are safe, because even if it‘s just a child‘s chat room, or they are just interacting with other kids, they think, a predator can be in there, get their e-mail or screen name, and then begin an e-mail relationship with them or an instant-messaging relationship with them. 

And then that‘s where they have the opportunity to groom them.  And then, with instant messaging, we try to teach parents to limit who their kids instant-message to people that the parents pre-approve, and if parents, with all of these things that seem innocent, like a Webcam, or sites like even MySpace.com, if they would just run through a rules and tools litmus test, go through some basic safety rules, and implement some type of filtering technology, then they could avoid so much of the downside to some of these technologies that, in and of themselves, are neutral...

CRIER:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK)

HUGHES:  ... they can limit the downside or the misuse of that. 

CRIER:  All right. 

Well, everybody, this is “New York Times”‘ Monday article, is well worth reading. 

Donna Rice Hughes and Michelle Collins, thank you very much. 

HUGHES:  Thank you. 

CRIER:  Still to come, an infamous terrorist and a killer is now a free man.  Why would any country set him free?  Tonight, the brother of one of his victims is here, demanding answers. 

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW LUFKIN, FRIEND OF GEORGE SMITH:  I just kept expecting to get a call.  You know, all right, we found him.  And it‘s—and everything is OK.  But, obviously, that never happened. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRIER:  He disappeared from a honeymoon cruise.  Now the men who stood by George Smith at his wedding speak out, what they think happened that night. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRIER:  His murder at the hands of terrorists shocked the world.  Now the man responsible for killing a Navy diver on board a hijacked TWA plane is a free man.  His brother is here to demand answers. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news from MSNBC world headquarters. 

(NEWS BREAK)

CRIER:  Missing honeymooner George Smith IV‘s best—the groomsmen from his wedding will tell their story.

And superstar Britney Spears says she was never in a sex tape.  Now she is headed for a $20 million showdown with a popular tabloid, but can big stars really win cases like this? 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Catherine Crier, in for Joe tonight—those stories in just minutes.

But, first, outrage tonight over the release of this man.  He‘s a convicted terrorist and killer responsible for the brutal murder of U.S.  Navy diver Robert Stethem during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA plane that captivated the nation for 17 agonizing days. 

The hijackers beat and tortured Stethem, then shot and killed him, finally dumping his lifeless, unrecognizable body onto the tarmac.  Now the men responsible for that horrific murder is walking free in the Middle East after serving only 19 years of life sentence, but it‘s not over. 

A U.S. State Department spokesman said today: “We will track him down.  We will find him.  And we will bring him to justice in the United States for what he‘s done.”

Well, joining me now is Ken Stethem, the brother of that murdered U.S.  Navy diver, Debbie Schlussel, who broke the story of the terrorist‘s release, and former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova.

All right, Ken, let me come to you this.

I read this story, and I was absolutely furious.  I understand that you have gotten the heads up that there was the possibility that this guy might be released on parole, but I understood you thought it was in January, and you have been trying to get the State Department and others paying attention to this.  What sort of response did you get? 

KEN STETHEM, BROTHER OF MURDERED NAVY DIVER:  We have actually been trying, Catherine, since late May to get a meeting with the State Department and Condoleezza Rice through the Justice Department as well, and no response. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Right. 

Alberto Gonzales, U.S. attorney general, has come out and said, we called them; we contacted them; told them not to do this. 

You are not convinced. 

STETHEM:  No, absolutely not. 

In fact, Sean McCormack, the spokesman for the State Department, that line that—it‘s a great line, that we are going to track them down and get them, but the family is shocked and furious, and, you know, absolutely disappointed.  And that line that he gave is the same line that we have heard for the last 20 years. 

CRIER:  Well, and, basically, they waited—they let the Germans give this guy up.  They immediately put him on a commercial liner, send him back to Beirut, and I understand that there was some sort of temporary custody in Lebanon, but he may have already been released, so he is on the streets. 

STETHEM:  That‘s right. 

CRIER:  All right.  So, in terms of extradition, we don‘t have an extradition agreement with Lebanon. 

How in the world are we going to find this guy?  Have they—have they given you any answer to that question? 

CRIER:  You know, Catherine, my family has contacted President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice‘s office, Congressman Brown‘s (ph), Senator—one of the senators, Graham, from South Carolina.

You know what?  They have heard nothing, absolutely nothing.  And—and I will tell you, you are right.  We don‘t have an extradition treaty with them, but my family absolutely believes that—that right now is the time to act, not argue about what to do.  And we might not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon.

But I will tell you what.  We give them taxpayer money, and President Bush has defined what a terrorist nation is.  He has said, if you are not with us, you are against us.  If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist nation. 

And it‘s time that our actions back up what our words say.  And them chasing down terrorists, that‘s a great concept of op, operations. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

STETHEM:  But we don‘t have a lot of proof in that concept of operations.  And our military in Iraq, because they are operating in Iraq, and they have an infrastructure, they are able to go after terrorists that are there, but we don‘t have that infrastructure in Beirut. 

And so that is not a military front.  That‘s a political front.  And our administration should demand the immediate turnover, custody of Hamadi, period. 

Let me bring Susan (sic) in on this, because, Susan (sic), a couple elements of the story continue to shock me. 

When this guy was finally captured in 1987, he was captured in

Frankfurt.  He was getting on a plane, I think, and had liquid explosives

with him.  What excuse are the Germans giving for letting this guy out on -

paroling him after only 19 years? 

DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL, ATTORNEY:  Catherine, this is an outrage, and Germany has no excuse. 

They said, he did his time.  He didn‘t.  He was sentenced to life without patrol.  The other thing is that Germany has a history of doing this.  You know, in 1972, when Palestinian terrorists murdered Israeli athletes, the Germans allowed three of the Munich terrorists to go free in exchange for a plane being freed after it was hijacked. 

And Germany has a history of doing this.  We shouldn‘t stand for this.  We ought to be recalling our ambassador.  And not only that, but our government has unfortunately a sad path that we have taken this year in attempting to recognize Hezbollah as a legitimate political party.  There were headlines in “The New York Times” earlier this year that our government was going to recognize them. 

We have federal officials here in Detroit, in the heart of Islamic America, we had the U.S. attorney and the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement joking around about how they didn‘t think Hezbollah should be on the State Department terrorist list, and clapping when an imam here said that Hezbollah was legitimate resistance, and not a terrorist group. 

CRIER:  Yes. 

SCHLUSSEL:  We need to get tough on these groups, not soft. 

CRIER:  OK.  Let me bring in Joe, because, Joe, I know that you have just got to be spitting nails on this.  What in the world is our government doing, and what are the Germans up to? 

JOE DIGENOVA, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Well, Catherine, first of all, let me just say that I have a phenomenal amount of respect for the Stethem family.  As you know, my office brought this case against Hamadi. 

I and Victoria Toensing, my wife...

CRIER:  Yes. 

DIGENOVA:  ... took the witnesses on planes on very short notice from the Germans, when Hamadi was captured, flew over there, ending up—the Germans made an unprecedented request.  They demanded that in order to keep him under our warrant, that we bring witnesses from the United States for a lineup. 

There is no such requirement in international law, but the United States government and those of us working for it did that.  Every single witness identified Hamadi without error.  What the Germans have done here is what they always do.  They release people early in exchange for the release of German citizens anywhere in the world.  This is the worst possible start for the new prime minister, Ms. Merkel.

This is a cowardly, dastardly, despicable act by the German government.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  And I think that the United States government should declare the German ambassador to the United States persona non grata. 

This is one of the most outrageous acts of duplicitous diplomacy since Neville Chamberlain came back declaring victory from Munich.  This is once again the Germans, who brought us genocide and World War II, doing the despicable act, most inhumane, and all in the German interests—nothing for anybody else. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Yes.  Why don‘t you think, though, we saw—we didn‘t see a more public pronouncement, the president coming out very publicly calling on them to do this? 

DIGENOVA:  I would like to see the American government explain itself at this point.  I am extremely disappointed in our government. 

I believe that the response was less than tepid.  I think the government has a lot of explaining to do.  If there is some secret negotiation going on with the Germans for something, what, I can‘t know what it is.  You know, after Gerhard Schroeder left office and joined the Russian oil company, I think the Germans have a lot of explaining to do. 

After all of their highfalutin criticism of the United States about how we got into the war on Iraq, here are the people that brought us the Holocaust doing the same thing all over again, because, remember, Hamadi will be in the war zone again.  He will be fighting again, but one thing is going to happen to him this time.  There will be Navy SEALs and other special forces out there who know who he is, and wherever he goes, there will be a bullet with his name on it. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  No, no, I have got to give the final word here to Ken on this. 

Ken, now is your chance, if you can‘t get that meeting with Condoleezza Rice.  What are you going to say to her? 

STETHEM:  You know, it‘s real simple. 

The most valuable national treasure that this country has is the blood of the men and women that serve our country to protect our way of life and preserve our freedom.  We need to show how much we value the sacrifices that have been made, are being made, and will be made, period. 

Bring Hamadi to the states now. 

CRIER:  All right, sir. 

Thank you very much, Ken Stethem, Debbie Schlussel, and Joe diGenova. 

All right. 

SCHLUSSEL:  Thank you. 

I‘m joined by Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER

CARLSON.” 

What is the situation tonight, Tucker? 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Catherine, I was transfixed by the last segment.  That was terrific.  That was really nice. 

We have a Navy chaplain on tonight who says he is being fired from the armed services—he is a Protestant chaplain—because he used the word Jesus in a prayer.  He is being canned for that.  He is now staging a hunger strike outside the White House, asking the president to sign an executive order allowing chaplains of all faiths, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, to talk about their faiths in the course of their job as chaplains.  It‘s amazing there isn‘t such an order already. 

We are going to get details from him tonight. 

CRIER:  OK.  Thank you, Tucker, very much. 

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

CRIER:  And be sure to tune in to “THE SITUATION” next at 11:00. 

And coming up next here, they knew missing honeymooner George Smith best.  Now the friends who stood with him at his wedding are telling their story. 

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRIER:  One of the happiest moments of George Smith‘s life, celebrating his new marriage with his best friends.  Just days later, George vanished from his honeymoon cruise, never to be seen again. 

“Dateline”‘s Dennis Murphy sat down with George‘s groomsmen and asked what they think happened to their best friend and what his relationship with his wife, Jennifer, was like.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW LUFKIN, FRIEND OF GEORGE SMITH:  As soon as they met, I mean, it was totally different, in a good way. 

DENNIS MURPHY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  What do you remember about the wedding? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Perfect day. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, beautiful day. 

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY:  She is a pretty girl. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

(CROSSTALK) 

LUFKIN:  She looked gorgeous that day.  She really did. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Handsome couple, both of them. 

MURPHY:  So, what were your obligations as the groom‘s guys? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To be there for him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Help celebrate. 

MURPHY:  Did you have to talk him down the aisle or out to the edge of the bluff or whatever it was? 

DANIEL DIAPALO, FRIEND OF GEORGE SMITH:  No.  He was ready, ready and willing to walk up, ready and willing. 

MURPHY:  Did he talk about this honeymoon? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, God. 

MURPHY:  In particular? 

DIAPALO:  I was—about six months prior, we were sitting down in his living room.  I would stop by there several times a week, go over his excursions every day, so excited to go here, and his port of call, so excited.  The honeymoon was just, you know, a planned ecstasy for him.  It was...

MURPHY:  So, he liked it as much as she did? 

DIAPALO:  Oh, yes.  They were so much involved together, you know, planning of the wedding, everything, you know, from slapping the labels on the bottles for the party favors to seating arrangements, to invitations. 

MURPHY:  So, how did you hear?  How did you get the awful news? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Me, personally, I received a phone call from one of my friends, who had received a phone call from another friend.  And I was in my apartment.  And that‘s it. 

You know, at first, when I received the phone call, it was kind of strange, because you didn‘t know anything.  All I heard, it wasn‘t, you know, someone has been murdered or, you know, they are just—it was just, George is missing.  So, of course, I am thinking, not that he is gone.  I am thinking, he didn‘t get back to the ship from an excursion on time or something like that. 

(CROSSTALK)

LUFKIN:  The first person I called was Eli (ph), and I said, Eli (ph), what‘s going on?  And when he didn‘t know, that‘s when I kind of was like, whoa, this is a little weird.

And from there, it kind of just escalated.  I mean, it was kind of a blur.  I mean, I just kept expecting to get a call.  You know, all right, we found him.  And it‘s—and everything is OK.  But, obviously, that never happened. 

DIAPALO:  Yes, were not expecting the worst, you know, when we all got the news. 

MURPHY:  Here it is months later, and FBI knows a lot stuff nobody at this table knows.  We are all kind of passing around the same little fragments of information. 

What do you think happened?  It‘s either an accident or foul play.  Do you guys have any feelings one way or the other what happened out there? 

LUFKIN:  It wasn‘t an accident. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s definitely not an accident. 

MURPHY:  Too much to drink, just tumbled off the rail? 

LUFKIN:  He wasn‘t that type of guy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No way. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Also, I mean, cruise ships are built in a fashion that prevents that type of thing from happening. 

And this is not a kind of guy either that, even if he was going to go out and get drunk, he is not one of these guys that tries to stand on a ledge or...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He is a level-headed, wonderful guy, you know.  It‘s not—not an accident-prone type of person, so I don‘t see that happening. 

MURPHY:  Too much to drink, wobbly, has a cigarette, sitting up on the rail? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s impossible. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not that kind of guy. 

MURPHY:  So, all five of you think it‘s foul play? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Without a doubt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The kid had everything in the world to live for. 

MURPHY:  Which means murder.  Your friend was murdered by somebody. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Evil. 

MURPHY:  For reasons...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Something evil. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CRIER:  Joe is going to have a special hour on the cruise ship mystery coming up this Friday.  You won‘t want to miss it. 

Now, up next, it‘s the season for scams.  We are going to show you a hidden camera investigation that could change the way you shop next time you hit the malls. 

And pop princess Britney Spears starring in a sex tape?  She calls it a lie.  And now she is fighting back.  But can she beat the tabloids? 

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS:  Undercover at the mall.  ‘Tis the buying season, but your holiday presents are a perfect target for thieves. 

As NBC‘s David Gregory shows us, when you out shopping, you better check your packages twice. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Bill Stanton is a security specialist.  His job is to identify vulnerable situations.  Today he takes us to the mall where shoppers rush to finish last-minute holiday shopping.

Bill will show how easy it is to prey on people at the busiest time of the year.  It is as easy as reaching into an unattended bag.  How well do you pay attention?

BILL STANTON, SECURITY SPECIALIST:  I‘m going to go into the mall and look for the person that is absent-minded, that is wandering around, that has their bag open.

GREGORY:  Bill found just the woman.  She jumped from department to department, unaware of bill‘s presence or the hidden camera following her.  Her bags piled up and began to be too much to carry.  Watch as she turns her back, leaving hundred of dollars worth of merchandise unattended.  Bill approaches and pulls not merchandise, but a credit card case from a shopping bag.

We confronted this woman on her way out.  By now, a real thief would be long gone.

STANTON:  I‘m a security specialist.  And I would like to say, you dropped this.  But I got it out of your bag.  I would like you to look at the camera.  Once you got caught up in the moment, in that shopping frenzy, I saw my opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was so embarrassed.  I was shocked.  I was embarrassed.  These are things, you know, I should know.

GREGORY:  What made the shopper the ideal target?  She had more than four bags.  She set the bags down and left them unattended.  And she had an open purse which suggested to us that she wasn‘t overly cautious.  So before you go holiday shopping, be aware so the only people getting your gifts are the ones on your list.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CRIER:  Important tips. 

Well, Britney Spears, “Us Weekly.”  She‘s going after one of the biggest celeb magazines in the business.  Did they lie, and do stars ever win these kinds of cases? 

Plus, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” is just minutes away.

Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRIER:  Don‘t forget Joe‘s Operation Phone Home.  Help our troops get connected to loved ones this holiday season. 

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CRIER:  Superstar Britney Spears is suing celebrity magazine “Us Weekly.” 

Spears says the magazine‘s October report that she and husband Kevin Federline were worried about a sex tape scandal is a lie.  And now she is suing.  The lawsuit attacks the report, saying the article is a despicable work of fiction comprised of blatant lies from beginning to end. 

Joining me now to talk about this latest celebrity libel suit is entertainment reporter Annie Hoffman. 

Annie, I understand the article basically talks about the couple reviewing this tape in the lawyer‘s office and how they carried on during the showing of the tape.  It sounds like, one way or the other, the source has to be part of a law office that represents her.  What do you know? 

ANNIE HOFFMAN, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER:  Well, you know else what I think, Catherine?  I mean, you have been an attorney.  The funny thing to me is, who ever talks to their estate planning lawyers about things like, you know, their...

CRIER:  Oh, everybody. 

(LAUGHTER)

HOFFMAN:  ... sex tapes they have with their husband?  That just seems like, when does that ever come up?  It just seems like kind of a funny thing. 

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  Yes, it‘s a pretty wild story, but she is pursuing 20 million bucks.  Is this just sort of a P.R. stunt? 

HOFFMAN:  I think, actually, it‘s going to be great publicity. 

I mean, everywhere you look now, on all the celebrity magazines, she is always on the cover, ever since she got married with Kevin.  Actually, it‘s been—she‘s been on the covers of every magazine for many years.  But this will only help that. 

In addition, I will tell you what else I think is kind of interesting about this case.  I have kind of a funny theory.  I wouldn‘t be surprised if we end up finding out that Kevin Federline maybe had something to do with it.  Their marriage is not going well.

CRIER:  Oh.

HOFFMAN:  And he did sign a prenup.  So, that to me is something—maybe something—someone, like, in the entourage, he and Kevin hooked up and decided to maybe do something.  That‘s kind of a theory I have about this case as well. 

CRIER:  Well, we know we have had our “Desperate Housewife” succeed.  You have had Cameron Diaz—a couple lawsuits, surprisingly.  But these have been in England.  What is her chance here? 

HOFFMAN:  I think the whole case, don‘t you think, in many ways, it‘s

I don‘t think it has much legs. 

Don‘t you think—it‘s very hard to prove something did not happen, as opposed to something that prove—to prove something that did happen.  So, I think it‘s going to be—she has a hard case, I think.  On the other hand, “Us” is not issuing—they‘re just saying no comment. 

CRIER:  They‘re not rolling over.  Yes. 

HOFFMAN:  No.  So...

CRIER:  We will follow this. 

HOFFMAN:  And I think more and more....

CRIER:  Real quick, Annie.  We got to go. 

HOFFMAN:  And there‘s so much competition. 

CRIER:  All right. 

HOFFMAN:  OK.

CRIER:  Annie, thank you very, very much. 

HOFFMAN:  Thank you, Catherine.

CRIER:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  I‘m Catherine, in for Joe.

“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” now.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Catherine.             

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