updated 7/26/2007 12:26:03 PM ET 2007-07-26T16:26:03

Guests: Ibrahim Hooper, Peter Fenn, Stephen Hayes, Ed Royce

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.

The federal government believes that terrorists may have been practicing dry runs in preparation to bomb American airliners.  The Transportation Security Administration issued an alert to the nation‘s airports to be on the lookout for would-be terrorists who may be carrying components of explosive devices onto planes.  That report, which was obtained by NBC News, comes after four different seizures of curious items at airport security checkpoints within the last year.  Those included wires, switches, pipes, tubes, cell phone components, and dense clay-like substances, including a block of cheese taped to electronic components.

While there is no specific evidence of an imminent attempt, the rise in these suspicious seizures has raised concerns that terrorists could be planning another attack on our transportation systems, on airplanes specifically.  The alert to American airports coincides with a battle in Congress over what is being called the “see something, say something” amendment to the new homeland security bill which passed today.  The provision would protect people who report suspicious activity from being sued by those they identify as suspicious.  But some Democrats oppose that amendment because they say it increases the probability of racial and religious profiling.

Question is, where does the balance between security and civil liberties lie?  Well, the most recent notable terror bust, May‘s arrest of six would-be attackers on Fort Dix, New Jersey, resulted directly from a citizen‘s tip of behavior he found suspicious. 

What if that tip hadn‘t happened for fear of a lawsuit? 

Joining me now to discuss is Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  Mr. Hooper, thanks for coming on. 

IBRAHIM HOOPER, CAIR:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Now, the reason I want to talk to you about this is because you have supported a lawsuit that is—that stems from an incident last fall in Minneapolis, on a U.S. Airways flight in which I believe six imams were identified by passengers and the airline as suspicious and they were taken off and questioned by the FBI. 

They are now suing the airline, but they are also suing—and I have a copy of the suit right here—the John Does, the unnamed passengers who believed they were exhibiting suspicious behavior. 

HOOPER:  And by the way, I do not think this new legislation would prevent that lawsuit.  Because there is a good faith provision in the legislation.  And to determine whether the reports are made in good faith, you might still have to ask them in a court of law. 

CARLSON:  OK, I have a number of questions.  Here‘s the first one. 

How do you determine good faith? 

HOOPER:  First of all, we do not have a problem with legislation that has a good faith provision. 

CARLSON:  But how do you determine it?  You said—how do you determine a person of good faith? 

HOOPER:  Exactly.  That is...

CARLSON:  You‘re supporting a lawsuit that is suing people who did nothing but apparently make a cell phone call saying these people are acting suspicious.  What should they be punished for that? 

HOOPER:  It‘s yet to be determined whether that was in good faith or was malicious and intentionally discriminatory.  But again, this legislation has a good faith provision.  If people make a report that they believe is true, even if the report turns out to be false, that is not a problem.  We believe that if you see something, you should say something. 

CARLSON:  Then why are you supporting a lawsuit that would punish people for doing just that? 

HOOPER:  Because we‘re not in support of malicious reporting. 

CARLSON:  How do you now it was malicious? 

HOOPER:  Intentionally—well, that‘s to be determined.

CARLSON:  But you are supporting these people being sued.  Their lives are disrupted. 

HOOPER:  That‘s how you...

CARLSON:  You are punishing them, supporting their punishment, and yet you don‘t know it was malicious what they did?

HOOPER:  No, all you do is you ask the question.  And I think anybody, any reasonable person...

CARLSON:  With a lawsuit?

HOOPER:  Any reasonable person should be allowed to exercise their legal rights and find out whether they were maliciously targeted, targeted because of their race or ethnicity or...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know—well, let me just be very clear for our viewers who haven‘t been following this.  This legislation that passed today was a direct response to this lawsuit which CAIR, your organization, is supporting.  So this lawsuit matters.  This has influenced...

HOOPER:  But again, the legislation would not preclude the lawsuit. 

Even as written.

CARLSON:  I want to ask you a question about principle.  Why should someone be sued for reporting suspicious behavior? 

HOOPER:  People who report suspicious behavior have nothing to worry about. 

CARLSON:  What do you mean?  They just got sued and you‘re supporting the lawsuit!

HOOPER:  Even if the report things in good faith.  Again, even if the report they make is ultimately not true.

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, I don‘t know, Mr. Hooper, if you‘re not understanding my question or you‘re being intentionally disingenuous... 

HOOPER:  No, but...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You are supporting...

HOOPER:  ... your premise, nobody who was ever thrown off a flight could even ask the question. 

CARLSON:  I am not talking about anybody, any time.  I‘m talking about specific people who in this lawsuit are referred to as John Does.  They are being sued. 

(CROSSTALK)

HOOPER:  So according to your premise, they should be prevented from even asking whether the report was malicious? 

CARLSON:  I have—look, I am not giving you a premise.  I am asking you a question.  And my question is...

HOOPER:  No, but it‘s based on a premise.

CARLSON:  It‘s a very simple question.  Why were these people sued? 

HOOPER:  They were included as a very small part of a larger lawsuit to determine...

CARLSON:  What do you mean?  OK.  They‘re sort of pregnant.  They were sued.

HOOPER:  ... to determine whether the reports were based on racial or religious profiling and whether they were malicious or not. 

CARLSON:  Was there any evidence that they were? 

HOOPER:  There is evidence that the attorneys...

CARLSON:  No, no, the John Does.  I read the lawsuit.  There is not one scintilla of evidence that the ordinary citizens who reported what was suspicious behavior were motivated by racial animus or religious animus.  There is no—and yet you are supporting a lawsuit against them. 

HOOPER:  That is yet to be determined.  It will come out in a court of law. 

CARLSON:  You know, it‘s a bottom line—and I think most people watching this, liberal, conservative, libertarian—doesn‘t matter—will conclude that lawsuits like this will discourage people from reporting suspicious behavior. 

HOOPER:  OK.  So it is your belief that the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan can go on a plane, single out every African-American, tell them “I feel uncomfortable...”

(CROSSTALK)

HOOPER:  ... get them off, and that should—that those parties should have no legal recourse? 

CARLSON:  You know, it is wildly offensive that you would liken the unnamed people in this suit, who, as far as we know...

HOOPER:  Do you know what their motivation was?

CARLSON:  I am not suing them.  You‘re supporting a lawsuit against them.  And you are likening them to the KKK.

HOOPER:  Do you know whether they reported maliciously or not?

CARLSON:  You haven‘t the faintest idea, and neither do I...

HOOPER:  And that‘s why...

CARLSON:  But you are supporting the lawsuit against them.

HOOPER:  That‘s why...

(CROSSTALK)

HOOPER:  ... ask the question.

CARLSON:  I‘m saying, look, you don‘t get an answer to a question by suing people.  The effect of this, as you well know, will be...

HOOPER:  So you would grant immunity to the Grand Dragon of the KKK.

CARLSON:  The effect of this will be to squelch—the KKK has nothing to do with this, and that‘s a ludicrous suggestion and you know it.  This will squelch ordinary people‘s efforts to fight terror.  And that‘s dangerous.  And CAIR is behind it, and I think, I honestly think you should rethink what you‘re doing.  

HOOPER:  Rights are always balanced.  The passengers who are taken off the plane have rights, and the people who make the reports have rights, and those will be balanced in a court of law. 

CARLSON:  But the people who called in—I am not defending the airline or the pilot or attacking the imams.  I am merely saying that the ordinary people, John Doe, on their way to get on a flight, calling in suspicious behavior, they should not be punished.  You‘re punishing them.  That‘s wrong.

HOOPER:  If it was made in good faith, they have nothing to worry about. 

CARLSON:  They shouldn‘t be sued by you or people you support.  That‘s one thing.

HOOPER:  Well, then how are you going to know if they made it in good faith? 

CARLSON:  Why not find out who they are and ask them? 

HOOPER:  Well, that is exactly what the lawsuit does.  

CARLSON:  No, you‘re suing.  You‘re suing.  And you‘re punishing them and costing them money.  And you‘re scaring other Americans into being silent in the face of a terrorist threat.

HOOPER:  Don‘t worry.  Eventually, we will get to a day where you can have a Muslim-free flight, but today is not that day. 

CARLSON:  You know, I don‘t think that‘s helpful.  But I appreciate you coming on and trying to defend what I think is indefensible.

Thank you, Mr. Hooper.  

The most compelling presidential campaign of our lifetime just got more interesting.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dropped the pretense and admit they don‘t really respect each other.  Who‘s winning that fight so far? 

Plus, President Bush makes another connection between al Qaeda and Iraq.  Democrats and most of the press are not buying it.  What if he‘s right?  You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Monday‘s YouTube debate may not have revolutionized presidential campaigns, but it did perform at least one crucial public service—it started a fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. 

During the debate, Senator Obama was asked if he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.  Obama said he would.  Within moments, Hillary pounced.  She said she would not allow herself to be used for propaganda by the likes of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. 

Clinton and Obama had danced around one another politely to this point in the campaign, but the spark from that debate question turned to fire yesterday when each candidate gave a heated interview to the “Quad City Times” of Iowa.  Here‘s Senator Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  I thought that was irresponsible, and frankly, naive to say that you would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro and others within the first year.  Senator Obama gave an answer which I think he‘s regretting today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, Senator Obama shot back with a separate interview with the newspaper, and today, he upped the ante even further in an exclusive interview with NBC News.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  First of all, I think what is irresponsible and naive is to have authorized a war without asking how we were going to get out.  And I think Senator Clinton still has not fully answered that issue. 

Diplomatic state work has to be done ahead of time.  The notion that I was somehow going to be inviting them over for tea next week without having had initial envoys meet is ridiculous. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Are Obama and Clinton finally done being polite to one another?  Has the real campaign actually begun? 

Well, joining us is legendary Democratic strategist Peter Fenn, and Stephen Hayes, senior writer for “The Weekly Standard” and best-selling author of a new, much talked about biography of the vice president.  It‘s called “Cheney: The Untold Story of America‘s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President.”  They join us here on the set.  Welcome to you both. 

This is so great. 

(CROSSTALK)  

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Tucker, you just love it.

CARLSON:  You know, I am actually torn, because I think that, one, it‘s so revealing to see people mad, much more revealing than to hear them repeat the same canned talking points.  On another level, however, I am sad, because I think that Senator Obama is having his clock cleaned by a very sophisticated, very tough Hillary Clinton for president campaign, which has sort of thought this through months ago.  They are trying to paint him as callow, inexperienced, and I think it‘s working. 

FENN:  You know, I have to tell you, I thought that David Axelrod, who was the media consultant for Obama, did just the right thing after the debate.  He went out and said, hey, look, no one is talking about having an immediate meeting with these folks.  This is clearly going to take time.  And he tried to distance Obama from the initial, you know, yes, I would, within a year. 

And Hillary‘s statement was clearly, you know, better thought-out.  It was probably right on the substance.

But the sad thing about this is, is the central point for both of those candidates should be, look, this president only thinks he can talk—wants to talk to his friends, won‘t talk to his adversaries.  This is a policy that has failed us.  We have to turn that policy around if we‘re going to turn around the war on Iraq, the war on terror and everything else.  And what we‘re getting lost in, of course, on this debate is, you know, who said what, when, what? 

And I think Obama is making a mistake.  I‘ll be perfectly frank with you.  I think he should not be sucked into this. 

CARLSON:  He‘s losing this.  I am amazed, Steve.  When this, when Hillary Clinton decided to run for president, I thought one of the big issues is going to be her relative lack of experience.  She was the president‘s wife.   She‘s been a senator for a term.  She‘s on the board of Children‘s Defense Fund.  She‘s so much less experienced than, say, Barbara Boxer, if you wanted a female Democrat to run.

And yet the conversation has never been about her bona fides.  They, I thought brilliantly from the very beginning said, she‘s a woman of substance, Barack Obama is a man of inexperience, and they are winning that debate. 

STEPHEN HAYES, AUTHOR:  I think they are.  I mean, you have to give them credit, too, I think and give her credit, because when she came to the Senate, one of the things she did was she stayed out of the media for the most part.  She really put her shoulder to the grindstone and actually worked really hard, learned the issues really well. 

Now, I am not a Hillary fan, but clearly that is is paying off now because she‘s able to correct Obama when he makes, you know, what I consider to be totally ludicrous comments. 

And what David Axelrod was doing was not actually clarifying.  He was simply correcting his candidate who has just said something totally moronic on public television—I mean, national television.  He had cleanup work to do. 

FENN:  It‘s too bad because it wasn‘t moronic.  I mean, you know, what he was responding to was this notion of negotiating and talking to people. 

What he should have done is clarified that and said, look, I am not going to go run around and pick up the phone and call these guys.  As he said in that thing, inviting them to tea.  But he did not do that. 

And so now, he is in the process of I think digging his hole deeper. 

And he should probably stop. 

CARLSON:  Well, you know...

FENN:  Because if he does this again—this one won‘t kill him.  But this is precisely the kind of problem...

CARLSON:  That scares people. 

FENN:  ... he‘s going to get into by January.

CARLSON:  But the deeper problem is, it obscures, I thought, one of the phoniest things I‘ve heard in my life at the YouTube debate from Hillary Clinton, which nobody has even noticed pretty much, except for “Washington Post” today. 

She was asked at the YouTube debate, you know, your daughter went to private schools.  Quote, “Chelsea went to public schools kindergarten through eighth grade until we moved to Washington.  And then I was advised, it was good advice, that if she were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone, because it‘s a public school.  So I made a difficult decision and sent her to private school.”

That is such a bold-faced lie.  That is like—that is absurd.  If you live in D.C., you know the public schools here are awful.  You don‘t send your kid there unless you have to.  She sent her child to private school because it was the better thing to do.  That‘s just false.

FENN:  I mean, not to get personal here, but we sent our kids to a very, very good public school in our neighborhood through sixth grade. 

CARLSON:  I mean a public high school.

FENN:  Right, exactly.  We had a problem, we were nervous about it—our kids—look, you do what‘s best for the kid. 

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES:  That is exactly the point. 

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES:  ... in this case, you sent them to private school.  And then, she looks like a hypocrite to the teachers‘ union. 

FENN:  Well, I think...

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Then she‘s—you know, she opposes all education reform.  And yet her children get to go to public school—private school, and then she fibs about why.  I mean, it‘s just—I live her.  It made me mad.  No one else noticed, I guess.  No one cares except me.

Anyway, President Bush argues that al Qaeda in Iraq is the same al Qaeda that attacked the U.S. on 9/11.  The president makes his strongest case for a connection between the two.  Is it too late?  Does no one believe him anymore? 

Plus, Vice President Dick Cheney is considered a man of mystery.  He‘s not revealed much about himself until now.  Dick Cheney revealed.  We have the man who reveals him on the set, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Here is the bottom line.  Al Qaeda in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden.  Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaeda in Iraq is not really al Qaeda, and not really a threat to America. 

Well, it‘s like watching a man walking to a bank with a mask and a gun and saying he is probably just there to cash a check. 

We have already seen how al Qaeda used a failed state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities.  And we must not allow them to do so again. 

So however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it.  And we can win it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was President Bush yesterday in Charleston, South Carolina, laying out why we ought to keep up the fight in Iraq.  He says it‘s al Qaeda, al Qaeda, al Qaeda.  With a foothold in Iraq, the group poses a real threat to the U.S.

Will the new PR offensive stem the anti-war tide?  Here to tell us is Democratic strategist Peter Fenn, “The Weekly Standard‘s” Stephen Hayes, who is also the author of “The Connection: How al Qaeda‘s Collaboration With Saddam Has Endangered America.”  Welcome to you both.

Steve, I buy the fact that there are al Qaeda in Iraq.  I think it‘s kind of beyond dispute.  The president, however, suggests that there is a connection between al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda in Afghanistan of the al Qaeda that‘s responsible for 9/11.  That seems to me, is that going too far?  I mean...

HAYES:  No, he says it because it is true.  If you go back, you can trace the lineage here of al Qaeda in Iraq‘s leaders to senior leaders in al Qaeda proper. 

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was the most dangerous terrorist in Iraq until we took him out in June of 2006 plotted operations with Abu Zubayda in Jordan in 1999 for the millennium.  Abu Zubayda was the number three operational planner in al Qaeda proper.  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi established al Qaeda in Iraq.  Bin Laden called him the prince of al Qaeda in Iraq.

There is no dispute that there is lineage there and there are connections there. 

CARLSON:  But Peter, you don‘t even have to—I mean, I am willing to buy that.  You do not have to buy it, however, to wonder, what would it mean to leave Iraq now?  Because there is no dispute about the fact that there are people in Iraq who describe themselves as al Qaeda, and who are committed to our destruction.  So if you leave that battlefield—I mean, how can you leave? 

FENN:  Look...

CARLSON:  You‘re not fighting al Qaeda if you do that, are you? 

FENN:  The insane thing of course about this is, that before we invaded Iraq, there was basically no al Qaeda in Iraq. 

CARLSON:  OK, I‘ll agree to that...

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  You can fit them into this room, Stephen, but...

CARLSON:  But even if that is—I‘ll agree that is true, just for the purposes of the discussion, you are right.  But so what?

FENN:  I think what we need to do in Iraq, as we have said this on the show before, we have to have a way to withdraw.  We have to have a way to have a political solution, and discuss with the parties how the heck to put this thing back together. 

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  Now, wait a minute.  You have got to have a way to go in and deal with al Qaeda and deal with terrorist groups in this country. 

CARLSON:  By which you mean what?  What does that mean, deal with? 

FENN:  Well, I mean, it depends...

CARLSON:  Kill them? 

FENN:  Well, yes, probably.  But here is the problem...

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  But the problem we have got now is we have a president of the United States who first of all, says Osama bin Laden, dead or alive six years ago.  Osama bin Laden, dead or alive.  Then, he says, you know, really doesn‘t make much difference to me.  You know, Osama alive—I don‘t care.  And now it‘s back on al Qaeda. 

This is political.  And I think this is political crap.  It‘s 9/11, 9/11 first; now it‘s al Qaeda, al Qaeda, al Qaeda.  It is his effort—now, look, it‘s his effort to...

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  ... disastrous policy in Iraq right now. 

HAYES:  OK, but it‘s not George W. Bush saying this.  All you have to do, if you do not believe George W. Bush, you know who you can listen to?  Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Because they have said repeatedly...

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES:  ... that Iraq is central to this war.

FENN:  First, we get the deck of cards.  Then they tell us we‘ve killed 75 percent of al Qaeda. 

CARLSON:  OK, Bush sucks, I get it.  But what do we do about al Qaeda in Iraq?  I mean, (inaudible).

FENN:  First, we‘ve got to really find out, what this means when we say al Qaeda in Iraq. 

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES:  ... in Washington what that means?  It‘s evil.

(CROSSTALK)

FENN:  OK, Stephen, you‘re better on this than I am.  How many al Qaeda are there in Iraq?  How many?

HAYES:  Well, I can‘t tell you exactly...

FENN:  Five thousand?  Ten thousand?  Fifty thousand?  A hundred thousand?  Let‘s figure this out. 

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES:  ... Petraeus‘s people, they can give you a reasonable estimate.

FENN:  I bet they don‘t know.

CARLSON:  Let him finish!

HAYES:  They don‘t do the census of al Qaeda in Iraq.  But if you ask David Petraeus‘s people, they could tell you with near degree of certainty, a ballpark figure of how many al Qaeda are in Iraq.

FENN:  So they sign membership cards?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  ... commercial break right now.  Gentlemen, hold on.  We‘ll be right back. 

Dick Cheney once considered the vice presidency, quote, “a cruddy job.”  But he took it anyway, and now he‘s the nation‘s most powerful number two.  More on the real Dick Cheney in a moment.

Plus, Barack Obama airs his first campaign spot aimed at black voters.  He said he did not want to be defined as a black candidate, but is he now embracing that idea at least in the state of South Carolina?  You‘re watching MSNBC, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  As unpopular as President Bush is, a near record 65 percent of the country disapproves of his performance as president, his second in command, Dick Cheney, may be more deeply disliked by the American public.  Surely his emotionless persona and perceived role on the Iraq war makes him hard for some people to like.  But equally infuriating to some is the secrecy behind which he conducts his life and his business.  Who is Dick Cheney and what is he up to? 

Stephen Hayes has been with us today.  His new book, “Cheney, the Untold Story of America‘s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President,” attempts to answer those questions.  He‘s here.  Joining us as well is the legendary Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.  Welcome back. 

Mr. Hayes, congratulations on your book, by the way, which I think is excellent.  The question most of us ask all the time; why is Dick Cheney so profoundly unpopular?  He is the vice president after all.  They‘re usually ignored.  People really hate him.  Why?

HAYES:  Well, I think your intro hit on the two key points.  He is very powerful and he is very secretive.  He is not engaged with the Washington press corps.  And the Washington press corps hates nothing so much as an information vacuum.  In many cases, you see a press corps that fills that vacuum with speculation, and in many cases I think unfair speculation. 

CARLSON:  There is a great quote from your book from the president.  You ask the president, essentially, what is Cheney like, and he says, quote, Cheney is not a hugger, but he loves deeply.  I‘m certain that many people watching are going to have trouble believing that second part of that claim.  Is he in private a --  

HAYES:  He is a normal guy.  The thing that was interesting for me, having spent as much time with him as I did, is you can sit across from him and have a normal conversation.  There is this caricature that has been painted of him that I think really resembles—he does not resemble it at all. 

There is the Darth Vader thing.  People have built him up to be something that he just isn‘t.  He is at heart a normal man. 

FENN:  Can I ask a question?  I‘m very serious about this, because a lot of folks who dealt with him in earlier years of the Ford administration, when he was secretary of defense and deputy chief of staff, said he has a different personality now, that he was much more laid back, that he was warmer.  But now he is really tough as nails and hard edged.  Is this all a myth or what? 

HAYES:  No, I get into that quite a bit in the book.  It is a debate among the people who have known him for the longest, whether he is the same Dick Cheney and they see him less, or if he is really fundamentally changed?  I think the answer—I‘ll take a cop out—is sort of both.  On the one hand, he is the same guy.  The people who tell you that he is the same guy are the people who have been with him this entire time. 

On the other hand, I think 9/11 did change the way he thinks about threats.  One senior Bush administration official told me he wears the burden very heavily.  He really takes it personally that he is in a position to help protect the country. 

CARLSON:  Let me ask you—this is a complicated question and I know a lot of your book is devoted to this.  But if you could narrow it down to one moment where Cheney changed his view on Iraq—he worked with the first President Bush, was on the team that decided not to go to Baghdad and take out Saddam.  And then in the second iteration, he was leading the charge.  What was the moment where he changed? 

HAYES:  I think it was 9/11.  I actually put that question pretty much to him.  And not necessarily because he had suspicions that Saddam was involved, although I think that was an open question to a lot of people in the administration on that day, but because he had studied the theoretical threat for so long, then it became a realistic threat.  It actually did become a practical question of what do we do tomorrow.  It‘s September 12th.  What do we do today to prevent these next attacks, possibly with weapons of mass destruction? 

FENN:  And do you think that was a time when he changed his view of the legislative branch and became a stronger supporter of executive branch?  The Intelligence Committee stuff in the early years I think pushed him in that direction. 

HAYES:  Absolutely.  It goes back even to the Ford administration when he was the chief of staff and there was a tipping of the balance toward the legislative branch. 

FENN:  He kind of went too far.

CARLSON:  You recount this interesting exchange, I think it was with Rumsfeld, but it may not have been—No, it was with Newt Gingrich.  They were in the same entering class and Cheney makes the case that the executive of the presidency has been defanged and needs more power, and Gingrich makes, I thought, a pretty principled conservative case that actually you kind of want power more diffuse than that and you don‘t want the president to have that kind of power. 

HAYES:  Yes, you‘re right.  To me, the most extraordinary thing about that exchange is when it took place.  It was December 9th, 1980, which was the day after Dick Cheney was elected to the House Republican leadership.  So he is now a leader of the legislative branch making an argument that power should be taken away from Congress. 

CARLSON:  That is amazing.  So it sounds like he has not changed.  The book is excellent, by the way.  I don‘t feel any guilt at all touting it shamelessly on this show. 

Barack Obama—this is, I think, really interesting—as you know, has had this weird tight rope to walk.  He is a black candidate, but he is not running as a black candidate.  Now he is in South Carolina, whose primary voters on the Democratic side are more than half black in some elections.  He is running the following radio ad. 

I will read you part of it, “I know what you know,” says Barack Obama.  “Despite all the progress that has been made, we still have more work to do.  We still have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend universities and colleges across America.”  The suggestion is that is America‘s fault.  And it is not.

FENN:  I don‘t see that.  I think what he is saying is that I am a black candidate for president, I am going to stand up for you and what you say. 

CARLSON:  He‘s saying America is throwing people in prison rather than send them to college.  What does that mean?

FENN:  Look, the problem he knows is that you have—you have to turn this around in the black community.  You cannot have 40 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 30 in the system.  I mean, you just can‘t.

CARLSON:  It is a tragedy.  Is the worst tragedy in American life.  Why is it the government‘s fault?  That‘s the part I‘m missing.  What can the president do about that? 

FENN:  I think the president can do a heck of a lot when it comes to education.  Also, look, the other thing he has done is he has talked about the responsibilities of families.  He has gone in to black communities and talked about the --  

CARLSON:  He has never once, so far as I have ever seen—ever a single time—not once mentioned marriage, which is the key. 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  He has mentioned fathers.  Fathers don‘t stick around unless they‘re married.  I am sorry, that is beyond dispute. 

FENN:  Here is the political point of this.  Right now, a CNN poll just last week shows him substantially behind in South Carolina.  He knows he has to win a substantial part of the African-American vote if he is going to win that primary.  And he figures he better start now. 

CARLSON:  Here is how he‘s doing it—this is such interesting line.  Here is the announcer, “it is Barack Obama time, a Christian family man, community organizer, civil rights lawyer, courageous legislator and U.S.  senator, who has told the truth as a soldier for justice.”  A Christian family man?  Is he running that way in Madison, Wisconsin or Berkeley, California as a Christian family man?

HAYES:  No, he is not.  Certainly that will appeal to South Carolina voters.  I do not doubt that he believes the things in this ad.  But, I think Peter makes the key point; it is a political ad.  He is running a political campaign. 

CARLSON:  You are absolutely right. 

HAYES:  He needs overwhelming black support in South Carolina to have a shot and this gives him—this is a start to accomplish that. 

CARLSON:  Peter, there was a vote today in the House and Barbara Lee of California, Berkeley, I think the only member of the House to vote against the war in Afghanistan, which tells you where she‘s coming from—the House voted today 399 to 24 to ban permanent bases in Iraq and to make certain that the U.S. never benefits from the Iraqi oil supply. 

Is the point to make certain we do not get anything out of this war?  No, seriously, that we lose in every possible way?  All these Americans die.  We do not get to keep a base there.  We don‘t get any money from oil?  What is the point of this? 

FENN:  The overwhelming nature of that vote was clearly sending a signal that we want to make clear to folks that we are not looking for a beach head, that we‘re not going there to try to take their oil. 

CARLSON:  They‘ll like us then.  I bet they‘ll love us.  They‘re going to start to love us.  We will convince them.  No, really. 

FENN:  At least the Democrats finally won one vote.

CARLSON:  A lot of Republicans voted for this.  I‘m not attacking the Democrats.  Republicans just voted for this.  It just seems to me that is the only good thing that has come out of this war, that we‘re getting human intelligence in a region we never had. 

HAYES:  I think if you talked to military leaders, a lot of military leaders would tell you we would like to have permanent bases in Iraq.  It would be a smart thing to have permanent bases.  I trust them more than I trust -- 

CARLSON:  You wrote a book about this, so you know that before the invasion of Iraq, which I think was a bad Idea—I‘m not endorsing the invasion of Iraq.  But before then, we were dependent on foreign intelligence exclusively.  We did not have people on the ground in Iraq.  We relied on Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and Jordan.  But—Can we admit that is one good thing that came out of this? 

HAYES:  Absolutely, I think we have to. 

FENN:  I totally agree with that.  This starts back, way back, with Iran.  When Richard Helms, the famous Richard Helms, the CIA director, was ambassador to Iran, and prior to 1980 he formed an agreement with the shah and secret police that he would get only the intelligence from them and our CIA agents would stop trying to move around the country.  Big mistake. 

CARLSON:  It was a big mistake. 

FENN:  Anytime we do that and get ourselves locked in a—

CARLSON:  I agree.  And speaking of big mistakes and deranged priorities, Disney has announced that it will no longer allow cigarette smoking of any kind in its movies.  I think smoking is wrong and I‘m not for smoking.  I am not endorsing smoking.  However, the idea is that this is so hurtful to children, an image of someone smoking a cigarette, that they can‘t see.  It is forbidden.  The image itself is like pornography.  What do you think hurts children more, divorce or smoking?  I don‘t think there‘s a children‘s movie that doesn‘t have a broken family in it.

FENN:  I would argue sometimes it is probably better for the kid to have a divorce, I hate to say it.  But—

(CROSS TALK)

FENN:  You‘re talking about health reasons.  The other thing about this, they have done some studies on this.  And they have found—I forget what the exact number is, but it is something like three-one, kids that watch these smoking movies, they‘re more likely to smoke.  I have no problem with this. 

HAYES:  Same people who are making that argument are the people who tell us that kids do not go out and emulate violence that they see in movies.  So they go out and they smoke, but they won‘t -- 

CARLSON:  There should be no more gunfire in movies.  All this crap—but they make money off of it.  They‘re not making money off of people smoking Marlboros.  But they‘re making money of people committing mass murders, so they will never take that out of the movie.  I‘m serious.  They are. 

FENN:  The decency show!

CARLSON:  Peter Fenn, thank you.  Steve Hayes, thanks a lot for coming on.  I hope the book sells millions. 

Since 9/11, hundreds of suspected terrorists have called Gitmo home.  Few have been freed.  But one who was freed sought revenge against the United States.  Should this be a warning to those pushing to close Gitmo for good? 

And one thing is for certain, Oprah does not work for MSNBC.  Willie Geist just got a peek at her bank account and you are not going to believe how much she makes.  A hint, more than we do.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Abdullah Mashud (ph) was a Taliban leader until his recent suicide in Pakistan, committed when he was surrounded by security forces.  Mashud had been released from the American detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2004 after being held there for three years.  He immediately returned to Pakistan and resumed war on the west in the name of the Taliban.

Many in Congress want Gitmo closed, Republicans and Democrats.  But what if we actually closed it?  What would happen then?  Joining us now is Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who has just returned from Waziristan, the region in Pakistan, where he met with Pakistani General and President Pervez Musharraf.  He is a ranking member on the House subcommittee on terrorism.  Congressman, thanks a lot for joining us. 

REP. ED ROYCE ®, CALIFORNIA:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  This does suggest that the fewer than 100 hard-core Taliban/al Qaeda leaders or members in Guantanamo Bay right now, if they were released, how many do we think would go back to waging war on us? 

ROYCE:  So far, their have been 30 that have gone back to taking up arms again.  Of course, 95 percent of these detainees were, as you say, part of al Qaeda or the Taliban, the paper work shows it.  The real dichotomy here is the Senate voted 94-3 not to bring any of these jihadists into prisons in the United States. 

Well, nobody wants Khaled Sheikh Mohammed in their neighborhood prison.  But at the same time, the House Democrats are moving to close Guantanamo in six months.  So the question is, you have people sign an oath; they claim they will not take up arms again.  Yet, we have 30 that we know of who have so far. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me—and I may be wrong—but the momentum is moving in the direction of closing Gitmo. 

ROYCE:  That is correct. 

CARLSON:  I have Republicans say they favor closing it too.  I think the Bush administration even says in some theoretical way it looks forward to closing Gitmo.  It is going to close at some point.  What will happen? 

ROYCE:  Well, the reality is that the Democrats have in their appropriations budget the closing of the facility.  So yes, it‘s fait accompli at this point, because that bill will move.  And so the question is, what do you do?  Well, if the Senate votes 94-3 not to except any of these detainees in the United States, then my guess is it is going to be more of having people sign oaths. 

We had a Muslim jihadist from Denmark sign such an oath a few years ago.  As soon as he got back to Denmark, he announced that it was time to behead the prime minister—it‘s time to kill the prime minister of Denmark.  The problem is, in having these individuals sign oaths and return, they do not believe in keeping the oath.  They are that indoctrinated. 

Also, with some of the younger detainees, there has been an attempt to teach them sports, English, teenagers.  Well, as they have returned, they have signed up, reenlisted with al Qaeda or with the Taliban.  Again, they have been recaptured.  So, I think that the left hasn‘t looked long range.  I do not think it is responsible for the Democrats to close the facility without a plan of what to do with the terrorists that are there. 

CARLSON:  You just got back from Pakistan.  I think there is wide consensus that there are a lot of bad people in the north west border areas.  They‘re up there near the Khyber Pass and Pakistan doesn‘t really control that area.  To what extent can we push Musharraf to crack down on al Qaeda and Taliban members there without undermining him? 

ROYCE:  That is what I was pressing President Musharraf on.  Now that al Qaeda has issued a Fatwa calling for his death, and now that he has taken the action that you have seen him take against the Red Mosque, and moving in against the militants there, frankly, the whole northwest frontier is being opening up as a battlefield. 

I asked a journalist in Waziristan, what do you think the percentage of people are here who support the effort against al Qaeda and the Taliban.  He said about two percent.  He said out here people have been radicalized.  Money comes in from especially the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and so forth, in to the madrassas to radicalize the younger people. 

As a consequence, over the years, now Musharraf is faced in the frontier provinces with this real problem.  He has to go in and take al Qaeda out.  Otherwise, they will take him out.  This is the message we are sharing with him. 

CARLSON:  Right, so you think he could apply a lot more pressure than he has been? 

ROYCE:  He can, and he did that yesterday.  As you mentioned, Abdullah was taken down by Pakistani forces who surrounded his home in the frontier province.  Indeed, he blew himself up with a hand grenade rather than be taken prisoner.  So you do see Musharraf now move militarily.  He needs to do more and quickly to protect his own country and himself. 

CARLSON:  Quickly, congressman, are you aware of any American forces with those Pakistani forces yesterday? 

ROYCE:  No, I am not.  I will also add, as you know, and you have discussed, this new National Intelligence Estimate shows that al Qaeda has regrouped.  They are well-funded from the Gulf states.  They are well trained.  Their designs are on ultimately attacking the United States and trying to put their lieutenants into the United States for a second attack. 

So it behooves us right now to have a lot of focus, attention, and resources on this very issue. 

CARLSON:  Congressman Ed Royce of California.  Thanks a lot, Congressman.  I appreciate it.

ROYCE:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It did not take Lindsay Lohan long to blame someone else for her arrest the other night.  She said the drugs were not hers.  Of course they were not hers.  Willie Geist dips into the oldest excuse in the book file when we come back.  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  If you‘re like most chronic cable television watchers, you have probably been asking yourself all day, what‘s the deal with Lindsay Lohan and how can I get a social life like that.  Here to answer those questions, Willie Geist.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, there has been a terrible misunderstanding in this case. 

CARLSON:  I‘m so glad you‘re here for perspective Willie.

GEIST:  We‘re here to sort if out.  Of course, over the last couple of days, on this network and in other places, Lindsay Lohan has been portrayed as a young woman out of control.  On the contrary; a closer look reveals that she‘s just a really good friend, the kind of friend who is selflessly willing to carry drugs for others. 

Lindsay told “Access Hollywood,” quote, I am innocent.  I did not do drugs.  They are not mine, end quote.  Really?  Lohan was, of course, arrested early Tuesday morning and charged on suspicion of DUI and on possession of cocaine.  Police found a bag a of cocaine in her pocket after they brought her to the police station.  That‘s apparently the pocket she reserves to hold drugs for other people. 

So, Tucker, on top of everything else, Lindsay Lohan is a sell out.  She blames one of her sycophants, one of her assistants for the drugs.  It doesn‘t get a whole lot lower than that. 

CARLSON:  If she were a rap artist, she would not be doing that. 

GEIST:  Do you know why? 

CARLSON:  Why?

GEIST:  Because snitches get stitches. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Can I ask the obvious question?  So you‘re in the back of a police car and you know you‘re going to be booked and searched, extensively searched.  And you know that you have a bag of cocaine—maybe a friend‘s cocaine, but cocaine nevertheless—in your pocket.  Don‘t you ditch it before you get to the police station? 

GEIST:  I don‘t know what it says about me; that‘s the first thing I thought.  Wouldn‘t you just chuck it out of your pocket right away?  By the way, your friend Billy Bush at “Access Hollywood,” he is on an email basis.  That‘s how we got that quote from “Access Hollywood.”  He emailed her.  She fired it right back.  This guy‘s unbelievable.  

CARLSON:  I was emails Billy today about the details of the Lohan case.  That‘s how I spent my day. 

GEIST:  That is real “Access Hollywood” right there.  I‘m not sure what the street price of coke is nowadays, but I am pretty sure Oprah Winfrey could keep Lindsay partying for a long time with annual salary.  TV Guide has published its list of the highest paid television personalities and Oprah is on top. 

How much does she make?  Put it this way, she could single handedly fund the Iraq war for a couple of days.  TV Guide reports that Oprah makes 260 million dollars a year.  That‘s more than a quarter billion a year.  She dwarfs the number two man on the list; Simon Cowell makes a measly 45 million bucks a year for his role as head judge on the “American Idol” juggernaut. 

And, in a telling commentary about where we are as a nation, Judy Sheindlin—yes, Judge Judy ranked third on the TV Guide list.  She makes a reported 30 million dollars a year to meat out her brand of no nonsense justice. 

Tucker, at nine bucks an hour, I didn‘t show up on the list. 

CARLSON:  There‘s still time, Willie.  You‘re still a young man.

GEIST:  By the way, the NBC Universal family is handing out some pretty big paper I noticed on the list.  I don‘t want to name names, but I‘m going to call my agent. 

CARLSON:  Email it to me. 

GEIST:  Some people are doing OK.  I admit that we in cable news can be a little car chase happy, but sometimes a high-speed pursuit really delivers the goods.  This one, for example, from Phoenix.  It looks like a garden variety chase at first, but then something wonderful happens.  The suspect stops right here, hops out of the truck and buys a pack of smokes at a convenience store, during the chase. 

The clerk there says the man ran inside, through a 20 dollar bill on the counter, grabbed a pack of cigarettes and ran back outside.  Unfortunately, that move cost him valuable time.  Police caught up to him shortly after.  What do you want, Tucker?  I mean, it‘s a high stress situation.  The guy needed a cigarette.  He did what he had to do.  He interrupted the high speed chase to get some smokes.

CARLSON:  I‘ve been there.  See, that‘s the thing about tobacco; it‘s not addictive, Willie, it‘s an adult choice. 

GEIST:  That‘s a problem smoker if there ever was one. 

CARLSON:  Is there any other kind?

GEIST:  Maybe he had foresight, he knew he was going to jail and he would need the smokes to barter or something.

CARLSON:  He paid for the smokes, that‘s the amazing part. 

GEIST:  He actually tipped them for the trouble. 

CARLSON:  There is honor among thieves and cigarette smokers. 

GEIST:  I think we should let the guy go.  Don‘t you?

CARLSON:  Kind of, yes. 

GEIST:  In other cigarette news, North Korea, of all places in the world, joining the parade of countries that are banning smoking in public.  The intent of the North Korean law though a little bit different than hours.  The government there isn‘t interested in protecting the health of its citizens.  It‘s interested in protecting the health of its dear leader. 

Reports say Kim Jong il has given up smoking on his doctor‘s orders and now smoking is not allowed anywhere he may find himself.  The message is, if Kim Jong il can‘t smoke, no one can.  Boy, it pays to be Kim Jong il.  It pays to be a dictator, doesn‘t it.  Just make the rules up as you go along.

CARLSON:  I‘ve had relatives like that.  I can‘t smoke, so you can‘t. 

GEIST:  Kim Jong-il level tyrants in the Carlson family. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s actually not true.  Anyway, good for Kim Jong il for giving it up.  Willie Geist—

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Willie.  For more Willie, check out Zeit Geist at ZEITGEIST.MSNBC.com.  That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next is “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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