updated 4/7/2006 12:12:04 PM ET 2006-04-07T16:12:04

Guests: Tim Susanin, Jerry Markon, Bob Ashley, Yale Galanter, Michael Cardoza, Karen Coleman, Kevin O‘Connor, Rick White, Julia Renfro, Clint Van Zandt, Dave Holloway

SUSAN FILAN, GUEST HOST:  Coming up, big news in the CIA leak case.  Former vice presidential aide “Scooter” Libby says President Bush gave the OK for him to leak classified material about Iraq to the press. 

The program about justice starts now.

Hi everyone.  I‘m Susan Filan.  Dan is off today.

First up on the docket, breaking news in the CIA leak case.  Court documents that show Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney‘s former chief of staff, told a grand jury that President Bush authorized him to leak top-secret intelligence information through Cheney.  Libby was allegedly trying to counter Iraq war critic Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

“HARDBALL” correspondent David Shuster has more.

DAVID SHUSTER, “HARDBALL” CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Susan, what‘s going on here is that the “Scooter” Libby trial is set for next January and at this moment, prosecutors and defense attorneys are fighting over what kind of information should be allowed in the case.  “Scooter” Libby has been arguing that the Valerie Plame matter was a smut—was a minor one.  Prosecutors have been countering that no, it was very much of a major topic. 

And so today in the latest court battle over documents, the prosecutors released part of “Scooter” Libby‘s grand jury testimony.  And in that testimony “Scooter” Libby said that he was authorized to leak classified information that might undercut administration critics, because he had received—quote—“approval from the president through the vice president.”

This is, of course, bad news for the White House, politically, maybe not legally.  There is no indication that anybody is going to be charged with leaking classified information or mishandling classified information, but this could be a P.R. debacle for the White House because the president has repeatedly said that nobody in his administration leaked classified information.  And in fact the “Scooter” Libby testimony released today undercuts such sentiments from President Bush back in September 2003. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don‘t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information.  If somebody did leak classified information, I‘d like to know it and we‘ll take the appropriate action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  Again, “Scooter” Libby is testifying that not only did President Bush authorize him through Vice President Cheney to leak classified information, but Libby also testified, according to the documents, that the president authorized several administration officials to give classified information to Bob Woodward, “The Washington Post” reporter, in the spring of 2003 was working on a book called “Plan of Attack.”

Again, there‘s no indication that the president or the vice president are facing any sort of legal jeopardy or exposure, but this is a huge P.R.  problem for the White House and again, this is a case about whether the administration improperly disclosed classified information in either making the case for war or in defending the case for war.  And now we know thanks to “Scooter” Libby that the president himself was authorizing leaks of classified information—Susan. 

FILAN:  David Shuster, thanks so much.  Stick around while I bring in former federal prosecutor Tim Susanin.  Tim, so what...

TIM SUSANIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Hi, Susan.

FILAN:  ... does all this mean now—Hi, Tim.  What does all this mean now?  I mean does this help Libby?  Does this hurt Libby?  Help us out.

SUSANIN:  Well, I ultimately think this is not going to be an issue for—so much on Libby‘s case.  I think what we‘re going to see is some kind of a press hullabaloo, as David was saying, as this news is breaking, but look, the point here, Susan, is that when a president decides to release information, it‘s no longer classified.  It‘s not leaking. 

And that‘s the reason that David says that neither the president nor the vice president face legal jeopardy.  In fact, in the court papers that we were summarizing in these reports today, there was testimony by Libby in front of the grand jury that David Addington, who I believe now has replaced Libby as the vice president‘s chief of staff, but then was counsel to the vice president, that it was OK for the president to in effect declassify this information. 

And through Vice President Cheney, have it passed on to members of the press.  I think it‘s also important to remember, Susan that we are not talking about—and this is what we will see the White House pressroom zero in on, we are not talking about President Bush authorizing anyone to talk about Valerie Plame.  There is something called the national intelligence estimate on Iraq‘s continuing program for WMD, which is known as NIE and those contain conclusions relevant to security issues that the president wanted out there...

(CROSSTALK)

SUSANIN:  ... and that‘s what was authorized to be passed on.

FILAN:  Let me ask you this.  What we are talking about really doesn‘t counter the actual charges against Libby.  I mean this is in a way a red herring.  Isn‘t he just changing the subject so we‘re all thrown off perhaps now thinking that either the president could be in trouble, although you say he‘s not, David Shuster, you say he‘s not, or the fallout politically could be the trouble that he‘s in.

SUSANIN:  Right.  Well, Susan, you were a prosecutor.  You‘ve been on the other side of these appropriate, really, defense tactics, where Libby‘s lawyers are trying to change the subject, put the government, which is prosecuting the case, on the hot seat by, you know, threatening to expose what went on behind the scenes in the march-up to this now unpopular war.  But you‘re right.  The real issue here is Libby was charged with lying when he testified under oath in front of a grand jury. 

(CROSSTALK)

SUSANIN:  He is also charged with lying...

(CROSSTALK)

SUSANIN:  I‘m sorry.

FILAN:  Tim, real quick.  This tactic though that he is taking, to put the president perhaps in the hot seat, is it really going to answer the charges?  If you could just give me a real quick on that? 

SUSANIN:  Sure.  You know the government‘s position to no—is no, it‘s not.  That Libby is trying to get a wide, wide amount of discovery, pre-trial information in this case and the government‘s position is it‘s not relevant to the fact that he intentionally lied. 

FILAN:  And David, do you agree this is a big change of the subject and to stir up a bit political hornet‘s nest for the president?

SHUSTER:  Yes.  I mean it all (INAUDIBLE) intent.  “Scooter” Libby wants to say look, if I made mistakes to the grand jury, when I talked about reporters, if I made mistakes, they were innocent mistakes, not intentional mistakes.  What prosecutors are suggesting is no, these were intentional mistakes because this was not a minor matter, as “Scooter” Libby‘s defense team has been arguing in these court documents.

The prosecutors are putting this out to show this was a top priority for the Bush White House.  They were very much concerned about conducting damage control.  The president, the vice president authorizing “Scooter” Libby and others to leak classified information, to help bolster the administration‘s case and undercut administration critics.  So to the extent that this raises the profile as far as the idea that this was a big concern for the White House...

FILAN:  Right.

SHUSTER:  ... that is a problem for “Scooter” Libby. 

FILAN:  OK.  So basically, it‘s a big change of subject, but it may not actually defend him.  David Shuster...

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  ... Tim Susanin thanks so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re welcome.

FILAN:  Switching topics now...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thanks, Susan.

FILAN:  ... the death penalty trial of convicted al Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui is under way and among the first to testify, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.  No one who remembers the horrors of September 11 can forget his courage that day.  Giuliani told the jurors he can‘t forget the horrid scenes he saw, body parts scattered on the pavement and stranded office workers forced to take their own lives. 

He testified I saw several people, I can‘t remember how many, jumping.  There were two people right near each other.  It appeared to me they were holding hands.  Of the many memories, that‘s one that comes to me every day.

Jerry Markon is a reporter for “The Washington Post”, who has been in the courthouse today.  Hello, Jerry.  Thanks for joining us. 

JERRY MARKON, REPORTER FOR “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Hi.  How are you? 

FILAN:  What was it like in court today?  What was it like to listen to the mayor testify?

MARKON:  It was—it‘s been an extremely emotional day.  That‘s really the best way to say it.  It was emotional seeing Giuliani, because as you know and as you‘ve said, he sort of was the, you know America‘s mayor and the public face of 9/11.  And he talked in very sort of stark emotional terms about the effect this had on him.  In fact, in addition to the comment that you mentioned, at the end of his testimony, he said he thinks about all of these images every day.  I mean they just stick with him.  He thinks about body parts.  He thinks about all the funerals he went to, the wakes.  And there was a lot of extremely emotionally testimony just in the last couple of hours, since the mayor as well, which I could talk to you about, too, if you want.

FILAN:  Jerry, were you able to observe the defendant, Moussaoui?  How did he react to this testimony?  Did you look at his face? 

MARKON:  I tried.  He appeared bored at times.  I caught him looking at the clock a couple of times.  But he also smiled periodically and I have to tell you that...

FILAN:  As if he took pleasure in this? 

MARKON:  Yes.  Yes.  In fact, when they played videos—they played videotapes of the towers actually crumbling and the planes hitting the tower and he was clearly smiling during those and sort of chanting a little bit to himself.  And at one point...

FILAN:  Do you think the jurors were watching him?

MARKON:  I think the jurors were really riveted by Mayor Giuliani and the interesting thing is, is that as morbid as this all was today, his appearance did inject a bit of star power, for lack of a better word, and you know people were craning their necks to see him and the jurors, you know, were paying very close attention.  They had you know pretty grim looks on their faces when it got morbid.  But they didn‘t seem too concerned with Mr. Moussaoui today from what I was able to see.

FILAN:  So you don‘t think they caught his sick little smile taking pleasure in the towers falling down? 

MARKON:  Well maybe, but I mean if you think about it though, what else can Moussaoui do that would even shock them at this point?  I mean he, you know, as you know, last week testified basically against himself and implicated himself and very calmly and coldly talked about wanting to kill every American and slit people‘s throats. 

FILAN:  Unbelievable...

MARKON:  I think at this point it‘s almost a relative concept, you know.

FILAN:  Right.  Jerry Markon, thanks so much for telling us what went on in that courtroom today.

Coming up...

MARKON:  Yes.  Thank you.

FILAN:  ... the Duke lacrosse player who allegedly sent a disturbing e-mail is suspended.  The team‘s coach resigns and the lacrosse season is scrapped.  Now, new information from the search warrants. 

Plus, emotional testimony from a young boy who told Congress how he was lured into online porn, his story almost unbelievable and hard to listen to.  We ask, how hard is it to catch sexual predators online. 

Plus, the deputy police chief in charge of the Natalee Holloway investigation is off the case.  What happened?  We talk to Natalee‘s father.

Your e-mails—send them to abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I‘ll respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FILAN:  Duke lacrosse player, Ryan McFadyen, is suspended after allegedly sending this shocking e-mail just hours after an exotic dancer claimed she was strangled, beaten, sodomized, and gang raped by members of the school‘s lacrosse team. 

The e-mail reads—quote—“Tomorrow night after tonight‘s show I‘ve decided to have some strippers over to Edens 2C.  All are welcome.  However, there will be no nudity.  I plan on killing the (EXPLETIVE) as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off.”  End quote.

The school‘s athletic director called the e-mail—quote—

“sickening and repulsive.”  The boy‘s coach, Mike Pressler, resigned yesterday amid these disturbing allegations.  Listen to what Duke‘s president had to say about the resignation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD BRODHEAD, DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT:  I don‘t know what he knew and what he didn‘t know, what he‘s personally responsible for, what he‘s not personally responsible for.  But if you are the leader of a team, after awhile enough is enough. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FILAN:  Brodhead also canceled the rest of the men‘s lacrosse team season and launched a major examination of the school and the men‘s lacrosse team.  Joining us now is Bob Ashley with “The Herald-Sun.”  Hello, Bob. 

BOB ASHLEY, “THE HERALD-SUN”:  Hello.

FILAN:  What‘s the latest? 

ASHLEY:  Well, unfortunately not a great deal new today.  The city manager has been briefing the city commission even as we speak.  But as I understand it, he hasn‘t really offered any new insight.  He is a lawyer by training and I think pretty cautious, so when it comes to this.  We are continuing to look for some development, perhaps as soon as tomorrow on the DNA results...

FILAN:  What makes you think it might be tomorrow? 

ASHLEY:  Well, only because the initial promise was it might be this week and tomorrow is the end of the week.

FILAN:  Is the D.A. out of town? 

ASHLEY:  The D.A. is, as I understand it, out of town... 

FILAN:  If he‘s out of town, would he still give those results or would those results still be provided to the defense or do we have to wait...

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  ... for him to come back? 

ASHLEY:  Right.  What the D.A. has told us is that he will not release them immediately anyway, even if he were in town.  There is some question about whether or not the defense attorneys will get access to them.  But they have said if they do have access, they will likely release them if they exonerate their clients. 

FILAN:  I see.  So, if we don‘t get the DNA results, it‘s either because they implicate them or the D.A. hasn‘t turned them over to the defense.

ASHLEY:  Or they may think it‘s just too uncertain and too inconclusive to take a chance on it.

FILAN:  And what‘s the mood like on campus? 

ASHLEY:  The mood on campus seems to be sort of like it‘s a nice spring day and people are going about their business.  You know, students find their bicycles sometimes blocked in by TV trucks, but other than that, there isn‘t a lot of visible activity right now on campus. 

FILAN:  Bob Ashley thanks so very much. 

ASHLEY:  You‘re welcome.  Thank you.

FILAN:  Joining me now Karen Coleman, forensic nurse and associate director for New York‘s Bronx Sexual Assault Team and criminal defense attorneys Yale Galanter and Michael Cardoza.  Yale and Michael, we are learning more...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

FILAN:  ... information from search warrants about what actually happened that night.  Let me read something to you.

Quote—“The victim stated she did not think the names the suspects were providing her were their own.  In addition, the witness, coworker stated the men at the party told her they were members of the Duke baseball and track team to hide the true identity of their sports affiliation.  It is the affiant‘s belief the suspects used each other‘s names to disguise their own identities and create an atmosphere where confusion would become a factor in this event should problems arise in the future where any actions or conduct would be questioned.  In addition, further interview showed that the players also used numbers when calling for one another across the room again to hide their identities.”

Let me start with you, Yale.  I think this looks really bad for these boys.  What do you make of this?

YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well it does look bad.  But you know as of this minute, there are no forensics.  There is no DNA evidence.  There has been unfortunately a lot of aftermath.  The coach is losing his position.  A student has lost his position...

FILAN:  We know that, Yale...

GALANTER:  The entire lacrosse team has lost...

FILAN:  ... but talk to me about these guys.  Talk to me about these guys.  Faking their names, calling each other by numbers in case something comes out later.  They obviously are trying to hide their identities for a reason.  Don‘t you think that points to some kind of guilt, whether there is DNA or not? 

(CROSSTALK)

GALANTER:  It definitely points to some culpability on their part.  As we know, the e-mail was signed number 41.  Apparently, that is what these kids did.  They called each other by number.  They called each other by nicknames.  Whether it was truly done to hide any criminal activity is yet to be seen. 

FILAN:  Yale, it doesn‘t sound innocent to me.  How does it sound—

I‘m sorry, Yale.  Michael—hello Michael, doesn‘t sound innocent to me. 

MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Yes.  Hello there, Susan.

FILAN:  How does it sound to you? 

CARDOZA:  I‘ll tell you what.  I mean come on.  What do you mean it doesn‘t sound innocent to you?  The e-mail was signed by the kid‘s number.  He puts his number on there.  If they are calling each other on the lacrosse team by numbers and if that‘s what they do all the time, then what are they trying to hide?

FILAN:  But what about calling each other...

CARDOZA:  Nothing. 

FILAN:  ... by different...

CARDOZA:  If they call each other by nicknames, so what. 

FILAN:  Not nicknames...

CARDOZA:  Well, how do you know...

FILAN:  Because in the warrant...

CARDOZA:  How do you know they are not nicknames? 

FILAN:  Boys concede...

CARDOZA:  Because the warrant says so.  Oh please.

FILAN:  Because...

CARDOZA:  Come on.  Warrants are wrong all the time.  And the other thing that strikes me in the warrant that just drives me crazy, they say she is a victim.  Who says she‘s a victim right now?  She is the accuser right now. 

FILAN:  OK, so let me get this right...

CARDOZA:  It may turn out that she is a victim, but not yet.

FILAN:  Michael, let me get this right.

CARDOZA:  Go ahead.

FILAN:  The cops are wrong.  The search warrant affidavits are wrong. 

She‘s not really a victim.  Everybody is right...

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  ... but her and law enforcement, is that where you‘re going with this? 

CARDOZA:  Susan, Susan, no, that‘s not what I‘m doing, but that‘s a good spin by an ex-prosecutor.  That‘s not what I‘m doing.  I‘m saying why don‘t you do a little more research and—the police should.  If they called each other by numbers, were they calling themselves by the correct number?  Number 41, number 36, and the other thing, if they were calling each other by nicknames and they did that all the time, that is not a consciousness of guilt.  I think they have to go a little farther into this, than just assuming, like you‘re assuming, that they are doing it with a guilty mind. It doesn‘t necessarily... 

FILAN:  Karen, let me bring you in...

CARDOZA:  ... that.

FILAN:  You are a forensic nurse with years of experience, of doing the actual, physical examinations of victims who claim that they have been sexually assaulted, am I right? 

KAREN COLEMAN, FORENSIC NURSE:  Yes, Susan.  Hi.  It‘s nice to meet you. 

FILAN:  Nice to meet you, Karen.  Thank you so much for joining us.  I think maybe you can help us understand.  A point of view that I think is right and I want to see if you agree based on your experience, it‘s not often that a woman is going to lie and make this kind of accusation up, go to the police, go to the D.A., go to the hospital, submit to the humiliation and that difficulty of that kind of an exam.  What do you think about that, Karen?

COLEMAN:  Susan, I agree.  I think there is a myth out there that this crime has more false allegations than any other and we know based on statistics that it does not.  I think the public and people who believe this don‘t understand everything that a person goes through once they make such an allegation.  I mean especially with the forensic exam, it is quite an arduous, lengthy process.  And it‘s not something that people do on the spur of the moment.

FILAN:  Because it‘s not fun.  Karen, let me ask you this, if the medical examiner was able to conclude and we do have this language in the body of the affidavit for the search warrant that her injuries, what they were able to document as her injuries to her private parts are consistent with what she says, doesn‘t that go against the claim that she‘s just making this up?  In other words, in all your years of experience, isn‘t it more likely that when people say they were raped, you don‘t see physical injuries and when you do see physical injuries, it really does corroborate their claim?

COLEMAN:  Susan, in my years of experience, it is not often that we see any injuries at all, especially to the genital area.  When we do see injuries, they‘re more likely non-genital, so when we do see genital injuries, that is significant.  And if it‘s consistent with the history that the patient gives us, then it may go a long way to corroborating her history of the events in court. 

FILAN:  Michael, Yale, I‘m going...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

FILAN:  ... to read a statement and it says, this is based—this comes out of the warrant, the affidavit for the search warrant.

It says a forensic sexual assault nurse and physician conducted an examination.  Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena revealed the victim had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally.  Furthermore, the nurse stated the injuries and her behavior were consistent with a traumatic experience.

Yale, that doesn‘t sound like somebody making this up for sport, does it?

GALANTER:  Well I don‘t think the real issue is whether or not she‘s making it up for sport.  The real issue is how did she get the injuries, who perpetrated the injuries on her...

FILAN:  But she...

GALANTER:  ... whether or not she...

FILAN:  ... tells you how she got them...

GALANTER:  Susan, wait a second. 

FILAN:  ... and she tells you who she got them from...

(CROSSTALK)

GALANTER:  ... whether or not she is a credible individual.  Listen, this girl‘s father was interviewed the other night on another show on this network and her father had no idea what this young lady did for a living. 

FILAN:  Doesn‘t matter.

GALANTER:  And I‘m not casting doubt on dancers or escorts or any that kind of stuff, but this girl is obviously leading a double life.  Her character...

FILAN:  Doesn‘t matter. 

GALANTER:  ... comes into question.

FILAN:  Her dad saw her injuries. 

(CROSSTALK)

GALANTER:  Susan, we have statements...

FILAN:  He saw the bruises on her face. 

GALANTER:  We have statements by these boys‘ defense attorneys that say nothing occurred.  They are not saying something occurred and it was consensual.  They‘ve drawn the line in the sand.  Nothing has occurred.  There is no forensic evidence at this point in time to link those boys to this crime...

FILAN:  You don‘t need forensic evidence...

GALANTER:  ... so her credibility becomes a real serious issue.

FILAN:  Michael, I‘m going to give you a chance...

CARDOZA:  Yes, Susan.

FILAN:  ... because you are going out of your skin there.

CARDOZA:  Oh, I truly am going out of my skin, because you are doing what a lot of D.A.‘s do.  And I‘m telling you I prosecuted for 15 years, I‘ve defended for 16 now.  To mislead people by saying that evidence is consistent with rape, you put the expert on the stand as a D.A., the defense attorney will get up and say is it equally consistent with consensual sex, and I guarantee you they will say yes.  So, put in a search warrant that it‘s consistent with that, so what, they should equally put in there that it‘s not—or it‘s consistent with consensual sex.  So in this case, you know you may be right.  You‘ve got a very emotional case here, Susan, and you may well be right. 

FILAN:  Well let‘s take emotion out of it...

CARDOZA:  ... but to say—wait.  Listen to me. 

FILAN:  No, no, Michael...

CARDOZA:  Wait a minute.  Now listen to me. 

FILAN:  Let‘s take emotion out of it and let‘s just talk...

CARDOZA:  To say women go through this...

FILAN:  Michael...

CARDOZA:  Go ahead.

FILAN:  Let‘s just talk about the physical injuries and coupled with her testimony that this was not consensual, that this was forcible, that this was a very violent rape. 

CARDOZA:  OK.

FILAN:  Why isn‘t her testimony, why—and her physical injuries enough without forensic evidence?  Remember the good old days when we didn‘t have the magic of science that we have today.  Why can‘t a woman say what happened to her and be believed? 

CARDOZA:  OK.  Look, Susan, you‘re right.  If she is believable, if she withstands cross-examination, then absolutely that‘s enough.  But it drives me, again, crazy when I hear nurses say, oh, she acted like she was raped.  I am telling you both on the prosecution side, on the defense side...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDOZA:  ... I have had the alleged accusers collapse at the end and say you know what...

FILAN:  Michael...

CARDOZA:  ... I was just mad at him for this reason...

FILAN:  OK, I got to wrap this up...

CARDOZA:  ... or I wanted to civilly sue.

FILAN:  I got to wrap this up.  Karen...

CARDOZA:  All right.

FILAN:  ... Michael and Yale, thank you so much for your insights. 

GALANTER:  Thanks, Susan.

COLEMAN:  You‘re welcome, Susan.  Thank you.

CARDOZA:  Take care, Susan.

FILAN:  Coming up, a homeland security official under arrest for allegedly preying on a 14-year-old girl online.  And authorities estimate 50,000 sexual predators are lurking on the Net at any one time.  So why is it so hard to catch them? 

And later, why has the deputy police chief in the Natalee Holloway investigation been kicked off the case?  We‘ll get reaction from Natalee‘s dad.

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  Our search today is in North Carolina.

Police are looking for William Edward Hughes.  He‘s 46 years old, six-feet tall and weighs 246 pounds.  He was convicted of second-degree rape and has not registered his address with the state.  So if you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Forsyth County Sheriff‘s Office of Communications at 336-727-2112.  We‘ll be right back.

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN BERRY, STARTED IN INTERNET PORN AT AGE 13:  One afternoon a few weeks after setting up my Web cam, one of these men approached me online with a proposal.  He would paid me $50 if I took off my shirt for a few minutes while sitting in front of my Web cam.  Taking off my shirt seemed harmless.  I did it at the pool.  The money arrived and I took off my shirt.  My viewers complimented me and it felt good. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FILAN:  That‘s how Justin Berry‘s online exploitation began when he was just 13.  Today about five years later and more than 1,000 customers later, only two men have been arrested.  One pleaded guilty and the other‘s case is still pending.  We have heard estimates that there are as many as 50,000 predators online at any given time.  So why is it these cases are so hard to prosecute?

Joining me now is the United States attorney for the District of Connecticut, Kevin O‘Connor, and Sergeant Rick White with the Lake County, Illinois Sheriff‘s Department who actually poses online as a child in order to catch these predators. 

Kevin, let me start with you.  Thank you so much for joining us on the show. 

KEVIN O‘CONNOR, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT:  It‘s good to be here, Susan. 

FILAN:  Why is it that these cases are so hard to prosecute?  I know your office is working extremely hard on this problem and it is a problem. 

O‘CONNOR:  Yes, well I mean I think the Internet in and of itself brings numerous layers of complexities.  It is a international, a national device.  So you know you may have victims and witnesses that aren‘t only are states apart but are countries and continents apart.  And that right there makes any computer crime, let alone child pornography or child predators, but any computer crime, you‘re talking about crimes that can be committed thousands and thousands of miles away outside of jurisdictional boundaries not only of states and countries but of continents. 

So I think right there, you are talking about a level of complexity.  Then you have to figure out how do you identify people who are using computers.  They don‘t sign on as Susan Filan.  They sign on in a screen name.  Well how do you find out who the person is behind a screen name?  You have to serve a subpoena on an ISP or on an Internet Web site and that takes time.  Then you need the responses.

And what if that person is using a public computer at a hotel?  Then you have to go to that hotel and find out who used that computer at that time, if they are using the business center, for example.  So you can see and imagine with the complexities that we face whenever anybody uses a computer to commit a crime. 

FILAN:  Let me turn to Sergeant Rick White.  Sergeant, you actually pose as a child online and the predators come to you, is that right? 

SGT. RICK WHITE, LAKE COUNTY, IL SHERIFF‘S DEPT.:  That‘s correct, Susan. 

FILAN:  Tell us about what that is like for you.  In other words, how is that effective or how effective is that in catching these guys? 

WHITE:  You know, a lot of times when we do sign online and we‘re posing as a child, you got to weed through sometimes whether it is a predator or someone that maybe just wanting to have like cyber sex or just talk dirty, so I mean sometimes it‘s hard to figure out which way they really want to go.

FILAN:  How long after you sign on does somebody sort of hit on you? 

WHITE:  You know, it can be a matter of seconds or minutes or I mean sometimes we‘re online for you know half hour or so, but a lot of times, as soon as you sign into a chat room, it‘s usually a matter of minutes before someone engages you in conversation. 

FILAN:  And when is it that this conduct, this sexual predator conduct actually becomes illegal?

WHITE:  Well in the state of Illinois, it becomes illegal when they travel or they show up at a meet location to meet a child. 

FILAN:  And Kevin, what is it that your office is doing in particular, if you can talk about that, without referencing any specific cases, that is making Connecticut have some success in this very difficult area? 

O‘CONNOR:  Well you know we have a lot of fine detectives, just like my co-participant here who are willing to spend time sitting behind computers particularly during peak hours, between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. when most predators think kids are home and parents aren‘t and they‘re willing to go in and assume the identity. 

So what we‘re not just doing is waiting for kids to get assaulted or molested and then going back reactively and finding out who might have done it and why, we are trying to be proactive and lure people who might have a propensity to do it so we can catch them before God forbid they actually do assault a child. 

And I think detectives and FBI agents and computer crime task forces across the country, including here in Connecticut, have been very successful in that regard.  But we‘re not—and fortunately on the federal level, we are not limited to just traveling cases.  We can do distribution and receipt of child pornography, so it is not a prerequisite to federal prosecution that somebody physically travel into Connecticut.

FILAN:  And I think that is so, so key.  I think that is so extremely important.  Anything you want to tell parents, Kevin, about what we can do to protect our kids? 

O‘CONNOR:  Yes.  You know there‘s been a lot of talk.  As you know, Susan, we charged two cases involving sexual assaults occurring over myspace.com.  And a lot of the questions were what can My Space do?  Certainly Internet service providers and others can post explicit warnings and I encourage them to do so.

Parents can be very, very aware and should be very, very aware of what their kids are doing.  Just like in the old days when we were told pre-Internet, don‘t take candy from a stranger, don‘t get in a car with people you don‘t know.  Similarly, kids should not be having conversations, should not be providing explicit personal details to people they don‘t know over the Internet. 

And I think a reminder of that through shows like this goes very, very far in preventing future victims.  Because you know at the end of the day here, we are trying to prevent these types of crimes.  Because as you know, the Internet has embolden predators in a way that they never were before.  In the old days, you had to physically have contact with a child to lure him and to entice him or her into an act.  Now you can do it in the comfort of your own home through the privacy and anonymity of the Internet and that...

FILAN:  Which is why parents really, really have to watch what it is that their kids are doing.

O‘CONNOR:  That‘s right and have conversations with them.  Look, a lot of parents including myself are not as savvy perhaps as their children are, so you can‘t really expect to be able to see what they‘re doing or monitor it after the effect.  That‘s where I think a dialogue comes in with the kids about what they should and shouldn‘t be concerned with.

FILAN:  Thank you so much Kevin and Rick.  You guys are the good guys and we are all very grateful to you. 

O‘CONNOR:  Thank you.

FILAN:  Coming up...

WHITE:  Thank you, Susan.

FILAN:  ... new developments in the Natalee Holloway investigation, just weeks after the deputy Aruban police chief said the investigation is in a critical phase, word now is that he‘s been taken off the case.  Dave Holloway is up next with his reaction.

And Congresswoman McKinney apologizes for her scuffle with Capitol police.  I asked if she had said sorry in the first place like she should have, would her case be in front of a grand jury right now?  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FILAN:  Deputy Aruban police chief taken off the Natalee Holloway investigation.  Dave Holloway is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FILAN:  Big news in the case about missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba.  Authorities there have pulled Deputy Police Chief Gerald Dompig off the case.  You‘ll remember Dompig; he‘s been leading the investigation for months.  Well, he recently talked about new information and he said the case was entering its critical last phase.  But now he has been pulled from the case with lots of questions surrounding his departure. 

Joining me now is the editor of “Aruba Today” newspaper, Julia Renfro and former investigator, MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.  Julia, what happened?  Why is Dompig off the case now?

JULIA RENFRO, “ARUBA TODAY” EDITOR (via phone):  Well, Susan, I heard you mention that he has been pulled off the case.  That‘s not exactly how it happened.  He most recently requested to be taken off the case.  And maybe you‘re not aware, but he was only an interim lead investigator in between the original lead investigator, which was (INAUDIBLE) and now the recently appointed investigator, which is Dolfi Richardson.

FILAN:  OK, but is this just sort of spin?  I mean is this nice language to cover up the fact that he is not on this case anymore and there is probably a good reason for it? 

RENFRO:  No, I wouldn‘t really say so.  I do know that he has recently and on similar occasions made several comments to the press, which is a little bit out of character for, you know, an investigation.  As you might know, very, very little details are usually given in a case from the police department or from the prosecution.

FILAN:  So was it just out of the ordinary or was it actually inappropriate?

RENFRO:  Well I‘m not going to exactly say it‘s inappropriate.  Of course, you know, a lot of people were shocked by some of his statements, but did that cause an uproar and is that the reason why he is off the case?  No, absolutely not. 

FILAN:  All right...

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  Let me bring in Clint Van Zandt here.

RENFRO:  ... for this position.

FILAN:  Clint, let me bring you into this discussion.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Sure.

FILAN:  I mean you are a very, very experienced lawman here. 

VAN ZANDT:  Hey, Susan.

FILAN:  Don‘t you think it is just a little bit odd?  The timing is just a little too close to when he made these what could be characterized as really inappropriate statements, blaming the victim, saying he is going to solve the case, it‘s entering its critical last phase and he thinks basically she was drugged and he‘s gone now.

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know we‘re someplace between inappropriate statements and a cover-up, Susan.  I mean what bothers me about this whole thing, I watch like probably a lot of America did a couple of weeks ago when the deputy chief was on television giving his theory of how really Natalee just almost died of natural causes.  She drank too much.  She died.  She went and buried herself, something like this...

FILAN:  Suicide, right Clint?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Yes.  You know she beat herself to death with a shovel and then she took Joran van der Sloot‘s tennis shoes and slid into the sand and we‘ve not seen her since.  I mean come on, Chief.  You know, who do you think you are telling these tales to?  And most recently he comes up with well I have this witness who knows this information that Natalee was doing drugs. 

Well, where was this witness 10 months ago?  The witness is the chief‘s brother-in-law who has been accused of selling and dealing and using drugs.  I mean, you talk about nepotism and nepotism now brings out the secret witness?  And lastly, we‘ve got Joran van der Sloot‘s U.S.  attorney coming up with this theory that Natalee‘s card for her Holiday Inn room specifically issued to her had been used at 1:15, 2:30, 3:00 a.m.  Therefore, of course, she must have got into the room herself...

FILAN:  Yes.  Clint, let me...

VAN ZANDT:  ... and Joran couldn‘t have done anything to her. 

FILAN:  Clint, let me bring in Dave Holloway.  Dave, this is my first time ever talking to you and I just want to tell you how truly sorry I am.  I just can‘t imagine how difficult this is for you.  Let me ask you; are you sort of relieved that Dompig is off the case?  Because I‘m guessing that you guys weren‘t the best of friends and maybe in some way him being taken off the case vindicates the position that you have been taking all along.

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S FATHER (via phone):  It does.  As you recall, the Dutch law professor reviewed the case and he said that his character was strange and unprofessional and I‘m hoping now that the Dutch from Holland has gotten involved and they‘re looking into the case.  The police really need to investigate the police because there have been things going on since the very beginning that has been strange and unprofessional.  And maybe that‘s where we‘re headed.  Clint said it right.  Cover-up? 

That‘s a very understatement in my opinion.

FILAN:  And it‘s really awful that when we should all be focusing our attention on solving this case and investigating this case, we have to take resources away and now investigate the people that are supposed to be helping you find justice for Natalee.

HOLLOWAY:  Yes.

FILAN:  Clint, do you want to respond to that? 

VAN ZANDT:  Hey, Susan...

FILAN:  Yes, Clint, go ahead.

VAN ZANDT:  ... you know, one of the issues is nine and a half months ago, the Aruban Police Department should have taken a step backwards.  They should have asked the Dutch to come in.  The Dutch have got great homicide investigators, great profilers.  They have the authority.  The Aruban Police Department and the government would have been so smart to take a step backwards, asked the Dutch to come in, and then let the FBI come in and...

FILAN:  Right.

VAN ZANDT:  ... support that investigative effort.  But instead, they stopped the Dutch.  They stopped the FBI.  They kept the case themselves and here we are almost a year later...

FILAN:  Right.

VAN ZANDT:  ... not one step closer than when Dave Holloway stepped foot on that island...

FILAN:  And that‘s what‘s got my blood boiling...

VAN ZANDT:  ... and told the Aruban police what the problem was.

FILAN:  That‘s right.  And I think Dave Holloway knew that all along.  Let me just ask Julia very quickly, then I‘m going to go to you, Dave, and give you the last word. 

HOLLOWAY:  OK.

FILAN:  Julia, what‘s happening with the digging on the beach now? 

Where are we with that? 

RENFRO:  It has been going on for about nine days now and although they haven‘t revealed this information to us, I‘m imagining by the weekend, it will be concluded. 

FILAN:  And will they have found anything or is this another dead-end? 

RENFRO:  You know, this is based on a tip that came in earlier in the year and this has nothing to do with any relative of Dompig as Mr. Van Zandt suggested.  And you know that‘s what they have been doing.  They‘ve been following up on leads...

FILAN:  But Julia, real quick.  When you say it‘s going to end this weekend, do you think they are going to find anything or not? 

RENFRO:  You know I can‘t speculate on that at all. 

FILAN:  All right.  Dave...

RENFRO:  I believe that they feel very hopeful. 

FILAN:  OK.  Dave, let me ask you, are you updated regularly?  I mean do you have any idea what‘s going on with this most recent phase?

HOLLOWAY:  I was updated today, as a matter of fact, and I learned that the sand dunes operation would be completed by tomorrow. 

FILAN:  And do you think—I mean do you have any idea whether—I mean I‘m so sorry to ask you this, but do you have any idea whether anything is going to be found or is this another dead-end?

HOLLOWAY:  Well, you know when the chief of police announces to the world that he knows where she‘s located back in December and they don‘t cordon the place off and then just now start to search I doubt it very seriously.  Like I said, a lot of strange and unprofessional issues have been going on, on this island and the answers are right there in Aruba.  And hopefully Tuesday, when the Dutch is equivalent of “America‘s Most Wanted” will air and hopefully, some of these people who have kept their mouth shut...

FILAN:  Right.

HOLLOWAY:  ... will eventually speak out. 

FILAN:  Dave, I‘ve just got to admire your courage and sticking with this and my heart goes out to you.  Julia Renfro, Clint Van Zandt, Dave Holloway, thank you so much for joining us. 

HOLLOWAY:  Thank you.

FILAN:  Coming up, Congresswoman McKinney apologizes to Capitol police for a security scuffle earlier in the week.  I say it‘s a bit late now that a grand jury is investigating whether to press charges.  That‘s my “Closing Argument” coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FILAN:  My “Closing Argument”—why saying I‘m sorry is always the best policy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA:  I come before this body to personally express again my sincere regret about the encounter with the Capitol Hill police.  I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all, and I regret its escalation, and I apologize. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FILAN:  Yes, believe it or not on the same day a grand jury assembled to determine whether or not to indict Representative Cynthia McKinney for allegedly assaulting a Capitol Hill police officer, she finally apologized.  The police officer tried to stop her from passing through a checkpoint on Capitol Hill without walking through the metal detector.  Congressional members don‘t have to wait in lines to pass through metal detectors if they are wearing their congressional lapel pins. 

McKinney was not wearing her pin.  Over the past week there have been allegations of racism and racial profiling coming from Representative McKinney and her attorneys.  And from the other side, accusations of a lack of respect for the Capitol police and for the importance of security on the Hill, but the bottom line here is two wrongs don‘t make a right. 

Maybe McKinney was treated differently because she‘s an African American woman and that would be wrong if that‘s true, but nothing gives her the right to strike an officer who‘s doing his job securing the Capitol and as a lawmaker, she should know she‘s not above the law and she should be grateful to police who keep that building safe and unfortunately for Congresswoman McKinney, her apology is just a little too little, a lot too late because now she could be indicted.

Coming up, a lot of you unhappy with McKinney, but some aren‘t pleased with the Capitol police either.  Your e-mails are next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FILAN:  Welcome back.  I‘ve had my say, and now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney apologized today for hitting a Capitol Hill policeman after he says he asked her three times to show her I.D. before entering a House office building.  She wasn‘t wearing her identifying lapel pin, but she insists the officer should have recognized her and that it must have been racial profiling.  Dan said it‘s still no excuse to hit a police officer and many of you agreed, including Ed. 

“What‘s hard about this?  You don‘t hit a police officer.  Period.  No one gets to hit a police officer.  I don‘t.  You don‘t.  Members of Congress don‘t.”

And John in Dallas writes, “This is an excellent case of racial profiling, where police officers look at blacks as if they are a danger to society.  McKinney has been a congresswoman for 11 years and there are only 14 black congressmen and congresswomen, so there‘s no excuse for the Capitol police not to recognize any of the black members of Congress.”

And Don Farrell in Redding, California, “I couldn‘t believe that homeland security and congressional security would ever permit anyone to circumvent basic security.  It‘s not even allowed on a commercial aircraft.  The funny little pins they wear are a joke.  They can be lost and they can have zero I.D. embedded.”

And finally, the Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary was busted in an online sex sting Tuesday night after sending pornographic material online to a detective he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Well one viewer, Ms. Santa Maria points out, “Just a reminder, one of the men caught and identified on ‘Dateline NBC‘s To Catch a Predator 3‘ said he worked for homeland security.  I remember thinking at the time how dangerous that was because his sexual activities with minors would make him an ideal candidate for blackmail if discovered by terrorists who wanted access to security information.”

That does it for us tonight.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.

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

END   

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