updated 7/21/2004 9:25:35 AM ET 2004-07-21T13:25:35

Guest: Joel Stein, Jeanne Elliott, Dave Adams, Latane Campbell, Robert Patterson

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, a former Clinton national security adviser under investigation for smuggling highly classified terror documents. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and no lifting state secrets allowed. 

Sandy Berger went to the National Archives, took highly classified documents and allegedly stuffed them in his trousers and socks.  Now he says it‘s all a misunderstanding.  But is it just a coincidence that those documents are critical of the Clinton administration‘s handling of terror before 9/11?  We have a fierily political debate coming up. 

Plus, the chilling story of one couple aboard a Northwest Airlines flight where 14 Middle Eastern men behaved suspiciously, that story is now sparking a national debate.  Are our skies safe?  We brought you the exclusive story.  And tonight, we‘re going to be asking a pilot, a flight attendant and an air marshal what you can do to avoid terror in our skies. 

And Las Vegas hits the jackpot with a return to its racy roots.

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome to our show. 

You know, a firestorm is erupting around John Kerry‘s former national security adviser.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, former Clinton National Security Chief Sandy Berger is in hot water tonight after news leaded that the FBI had launched an investigation into top secret documents that Berger smuggled out, classified information from a National Archives room.  Berger first visited the National Archives on July 18, 2003, to review secret documents involving the Clinton administration‘s flawed response to terror plots.

Berger returned on September 2 of that same year and then returned to the National Archives on October 2.  But on Berger‘s October 2 visit, the Kerry adviser was told that the documents he was requesting were now missing.  These were of course the same documents that Berger had seen before, but had improperly removed by stuffing them in his pants, his jackets and his socks, this according to Berger‘s own lawyer and members of the National Archives staff.

Later that month, the FBI launched an investigation into the missing documents and eventually searched Berger‘s own home and the office for missing documents.  The documents contained information about the security of America‘s infrastructure, its ports and its airports.  And on February 27, Berger, now a John Kerry adviser, briefed the media on Kerry‘s new plans for fighting terror. 

And on May 27, 2004, John Kerry launched into an 11-day national security tour focusing on the security of America‘s infrastructure, its ports and, yes, its airports, the very same issues that Berger‘s documents reportedly touched upon. 

Tonight, Berger took the bullet for John Kerry and Bill Clinton, resigning his campaign post a week before the Democratic Convention.  And tonight, former Clintonistas are streaming out all across America‘s vast news wasteland defending one of their own from the serious charge that can possibly wreck John Kerry‘s convention week and possibly further tarnish Bill Clinton‘s legacy, depending on how this national security crisis is resolved. 

Now, Berger supporters are saying that this national security breech is much ado about nothing.  But I‘ve got to tell you this.  In the age of terror, there are few crimes that are more serious.  And I suspect that‘s a lesson that Sandy Berger and all of his allies may soon learn.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, Sandy Berger released a statement earlier today.  He said: “In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents, I inadvertently took a few documents from the Archives.  When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had, except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded.”

Now, earlier today, I spoke with former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  And I asked Pat Buchanan how serious these charges against Sandy Berger are. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It is very serious and it may indeed be grave. 

Look, this man said that he inadvertently took them with him.  But apparently, he stuck them in his socks, in his pants, everywhere on his body.  He risked his reputation and career.  He‘s got a sterling reputation.  There are a number of questions immediately raised, Joe.  Were these just embarrassing or were they incriminating documents that he‘s lost or destroyed?

Secondly, since President Clinton was one who asked him to go down and review these documents, did he talk to President Clinton about them?  Has he talked to President Clinton that he had them out of there?  And just exactly what was his motive in going in there and going back?  I think a lot of these questions have got to be answered.  And, frankly, down the road, Mr. Berger is going to have to be put under oath. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dee Dee Myers, a lot of Democrats are scoffing at these charges.  I heard you giving that patented Al Gore sigh while Pat Buchanan was responding. 

But why would somebody like Sandy Berger do—why would he go into a secure location, gather these documents, stuff them possibly in his socks, in his pants, in his jacket and leave, when he knows, just like you know, just like I know, just like Pat Buchanan knows, just anybody that has ever had a national security clearance knows that is forbidden by law? 

DEE DEE MYERS, NBC ANALYST:  Let‘s start with the facts, Joe. 

That I think we owe to Sandy Berger, who, As Pat said, has a sterling reputation as a great patriot, a great American, and who has done this country tremendous service over the years. 

First of all, he went into the Archives three times because he was asked on behalf of the Clinton administration to review tens of thousands of pages pursuant to the 9/11 Commission request.  Second of all, Sandy was himself testifying, so it was incumbent on him to be prepared to refresh his memory and to understand the chronology.

Second of all, during that time, he took notes on some of the documents.  And on the day in question in October, he both took some of the notes, none of them in his socks, Joe.  I know that‘s been reported, but Sandy has denied it.  There is no person on record saying that they saw him put them in his sock.  That‘s ludicrous.  He inadvertently took a couple of copies of some of the drafts of a memo reviewing what happened after the Clinton administration and, with the help of the FBI and others, stopped the millennium bombing plan for LAX.

As soon as he realized he had taken them, he returned the ones he could find.  There is a draft copy of a memo that has been missing.  However, the 9/11 Commission had access to the original of that, as has anybody else with a security clearance who wants to see it.  So this is much ado by nothing.  It‘s being turned into a partisan football because this is an election year. 

It has nothing to do with the Kerry campaign.  Sandy should have handled the documents more carefully.  But absolutely to suggest that this is somehow a conspiracy involving either Senator Kerry or President Clinton, that Sandy is doing something nefarious when the information he‘s accused of taking was available to all the people who needed to see it all along blows my mind. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, Pat.

What blows my mind is that when we‘re talking about Sandy Berger, we‘re not talking about a first-term congressman on the House Armed Services Committee.  We‘re talking about a gentleman that was entrusted with the most top secret information, classified information, while he was in the Clinton administration. 

How does somebody bumble around and make this type of mistake, like they‘re Inspector Clouseau?  I don‘t buy it. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Dee Dee, it‘s my turn here.  Look...

MYERS:  Well, I don‘t know if it‘s your turn.  I think that question was directed at me. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I directed the question to Pat Buchanan. 

Go, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Look, let me say this. 

Fawn Hall got in terrible trouble when she was just a young 20-something secretary who took some documents out in a matter far less grave than the terrorist attack on the United States.  Sandy Berger was not only national security adviser.  He‘s in there looking at documents repeatedly on how the Clintons handled this. 

This has become a political football to damage the Bush administration.  The likelihood, excuse me, Dee Dee, is that he came across something that was so embarrassing or so humiliating or so incriminating that Sandy Berger put his career on the line.  His lawyer said he put these things in his socks. 

MYERS:  No, his lawyer didn‘t say that, Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you something.  This guy would not do something like this unless this were deadly serious.  And the idea that a man like Sandy Berger could throw away, throw off his desk a document he‘s gotten out of the Archives when he‘s rediscovered it at home is impossible to believe. 

MYERS:  Pat, you‘re ignoring the most important fact, which is that whatever Sandy took was a copy.  The originals remained in the Archives.  The originals are cited in some of the staff reports by the 9/11 Commission.  There‘s no information missing.  There‘s no information that the 9/11 Commission didn‘t have access to. 

BUCHANAN:  Dee Dee, this is a felony we‘re talking about.  The FBI is investigating this. 

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  The FBI opened an investigation in October.  They searched Sandy‘s home and office in February.  And he has not heard a word from them since.  They haven‘t interviewed him.  They haven‘t interviewed Dick Clarke or any of the other people.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I know that, but do you believe he could seriously lose these pages at his house?

MYERS:  I don‘t know.  But I do know this.

The 9/11 Commission had access to all the information that they could presidency have needed.  They had access to all the information Sandy did.  No one is accusing him of taking information.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  Wait, Joe.  Let me finish my thought.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  This is not about what the 9/11 Commission had.

MYERS:  Yes, it is.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  This is about Sandy Berger removing classified documentation.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  It is about that.  Joe, wait.  Let me just make the point, Joe, because Pat said Sandy found something so embarrassing, he was trying to hide it from the 9/11 Commission.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  What I‘m trying to say is, there‘s nothing in those documents.  The originals remained at the Archives and were not only available to the 9/11 Commission, but are cited in the 9/11 Commission‘s own reports. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you a possibility.  It is, Sandy Berger saw some things in these documents, went back and said, I‘ve got to get this information to Clinton and I‘ve got to get it exact because he‘s got to testify under oath.  And so I‘m taking these home. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  And I‘m going to call him and brief him using these documents. 

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  But that‘s totally fair game.  That was his job. 

BUCHANAN:  But you‘re not allowed to take them out of there. 

MYERS:  Well, he inadvertently took them out.  But if you‘re saying the information was so explosive. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Cut it out.  Inadvertent.  Dee Dee, cut it out.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  No.  I believe Sandy Berger.  I know Sandy.  Sandy is a friend of mine. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Let‘s move on from Bill Clinton, who is, we believe, a political figure of the past.

MYERS:  But there‘s no reason that Bill Clinton should not have had that information prior to his testimony. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  And, again, Bill Clinton can go look at it himself.  It‘s illegal, it‘s a felony for Sandy Berger to lift these documents and bring them home. 

MYERS:  He should not have taken them, no question about it.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

Let‘s talk about the future, though.  And I want to read for you, Dee Dee, what a senior Bush campaign official told NBC News—quote—“Is it an eerie coincidence that documents that are missing critical of infrastructure, security, seaports and airports also form the central planks of Kerry‘s attacks on the president and on homeland security?”

MYERS:  Could you please listen to me say this for the third time, gentlemen, that all of the originals of the documents in question remained at the Archives.  Sandy was never accused of taking an original.  He took copies.   The originals remained there and have not only been reviewed by the 9/11 Commission, but are cited in staff reports of the 9/11 Commission. 

So if you‘re suggesting he took information to hide it from the commission, that makes no sense, if you ask anybody, including people on the commission.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  The Archives are saying, there are things out of there that are gone for good. 

MYERS:  No, they‘re not saying that. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Actually, Dee Dee, they are. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sandy Berger went back three times. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, I‘m listening. 

The Archives said that Sandy Berger went three times to review documents. 

MYERS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The third time he went there, there were some documents that he had asked for that were missing.  That‘s when the investigation started because they didn‘t have the documents. 

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS:  No.  The copies—he had—there are copies that were missing.  The copies were, I don‘t know, numbered or something.  The originals were there and were reviewed by the 9/11 Commission.  They‘re cited in the reports. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Dee Dee, if this is innocent, why is Dee Dee Myers on Joe Scarborough‘s show?  Why is Sandy Berger not standing up at a press conference and say this was totally innocent?

MYERS:  You know the answer to that.

BUCHANAN:  What is it?

MYERS:  This is a town where, in an election year in particular, mistakes are turned into criminal acts.  And people like me defend our friends.

BUCHANAN:  Well, he needs to explain it.

MYERS:  Because he has tried to explain it, I think.  I mean, I‘m here helping on his behalf. 

BUCHANAN:  I haven‘t seen him on national television.  I haven‘t seen him standing—why doesn‘t he go on “CBS Evening News” or MSNBC and explain that this is all innocent?

MYERS:  Well, I think there are people out there like me doing that on his behalf.  I don‘t know what his strategy is.  I haven‘t spoken to him about it.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Strategy?  Why does he need a strategy if he just made a mistake?

MYERS:  Because that‘s how this town works and you know it.

Why are people like you going on television and blowing this up without really understanding the facts? 

BUCHANAN:  Blowing it up?  Look, it‘s the lead story in “USA Today.” 

I didn‘t invent this. 

MYERS:  But you know what?  “The Washington Post” had it last night. 

They talked to people around Sandy.  And, at the end of the conversations,

they didn‘t put it on page one.  So I think a careful review of the facts

shows

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You know this town.  And if “The Washington Post” didn‘t make it on page one, it doesn‘t mean it‘s not important. 

MYERS:  It means that when people actually sit down and look at the facts, they realize that there‘s less here than meets the eye. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dee Dee Myers, Pat Buchanan, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it.

MYERS:  Thank you. 

BUCHANAN:  Thank you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, much more on the Sandy Berger investigation.  Plus, 14 Syrian men, one-way tickets and allegedly suspicious behavior aboard Northwest Flight 327 is sparking debate about airline security.  Are there gaps in our system?  A follow-up on last night‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY special report.

And it‘s one of the world‘s worst humanitarian crises.  The images you‘re seeing here from Sudan can‘t be ignored, but why isn‘t anybody jumping in to help?  I‘ve got issues coming up. 

Plus, a car chase turns into near death.  We‘re going to be showing you the dramatic and brave rescue by a state trooper. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, we‘ve got more on the Sandy Berger scandal, the effects his document stealing could have on the Kerry campaign. 

We‘ll be back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  President Clinton‘s former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, of course stepped down as John Kerry‘s campaign adviser because, as his lawyer claims, Berger accidentally left the National Archives Building, accidentally, with classified documents. 

Colonel Robert “Buzz” Patterson joins us now.  He‘s the author of “Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security.”

Buzz, thanks for being with us. 

I had to laugh at the introduction, Buzz, because I served on the Armed Services Committee for about four terms in Congress.  And I knew that when they took you into the little room or when you had top security briefings, you knew those documents were to stay inside the room.  I find it hard to believe that the president‘s national security adviser would act in such reckless disregard of these top secrets. 

Are you surprised by what you‘re hearing out today about this Sandy Berger scandal? 

LT. COL. ROBERT “BUZZ” PATTERSON, AUTHOR, “RECKLESS DISREGARD”:  Well, hi, Joe. 

No, I‘m not surprised about the fact that a Clinton administration official is having a hard time with important documents again.  It seems to be a pattern with the Clinton administration and the former Clinton administration employees.  I am surprised that they are trying to pass this off as not a significant issue. 

As you know, anybody at the lowest levels of government who has a security clearance knows what classified documents are.  And a copy of a classified document is in fact classified.  So taking them out of the building, an airman wouldn‘t do that in the Air Force, as you know, so it‘s a big deal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and that‘s something that Dee Dee Myers kept talking about.  Oh, this is just a copy, this is just a copy, even though the National Archives says that actually they lost the original of it. 

But even if—let‘s just assume the National Archives doesn‘t know what they‘re talking about, even if Sandy Berger just took a copy, that could be a felony, couldn‘t it? 

PATTERSON:  Absolutely.  And it sounds like there was more than just a copy of several documents. 

Again, Mr. Berger was around classified information in his White House life every single day.  In fact, the Situation Room is behind a vaulted door because of the classified material in the Situation Room.  So he is not a novice to this.  And taking out documents, he was well aware of what he was doing with them.  It wasn‘t inadvertent.  And I‘m just curious to see what those documents were and what they say. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, obviously, I think a lot of people that have read your book know that you carried the football, as they say, for Bill Clinton.  And you saw firsthand what the Clinton administration‘s response was to terrorism. 

How did they respond to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and some of these other issues that, of course, Sandy Berger had a hand in? 

PATTERSON:  Absolutely right, Joe. 

At eight separate occasions in the 1990s, under President Clinton, we had terrorist attacks on American citizens, to include the first Trade Center bombing in ‘93.  On eight separate responses, with Dick Clarke‘s advise and Sandy Berger‘s advice, we did nothing, except the one time in 1998 when we threw the missiles at the tents in Afghanistan and the aspirin factory in Sudan.  But other than that, we did nothing, only emboldening the terrorists to do 9/11. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Buzz, there‘s an argument that‘s been going on for some time.  Of course, a “Vanity Fair” article that was written a few months ago talked about three separate times Bill Clinton had a chance to either take out Osama bin Laden or get him in American custody.  He refused. 

I had Madeleine Albright on this program.  We had a great discussion about it.  But she said that never happened.  Now Bill Clinton‘s coming out saying that never happened.  What have you learned?

PATTERSON:  Well, in my first book, “Dereliction of Duty,” I discuss one case that I was there for, I was up close and personal with, where we had a chance to take out bin Laden in 1998 and chose not to, for various reasons.  But the president didn‘t want to pull the trigger for political purposes, for political reasons primarily. 

So there was at least one time in my time at the White House where we had him in our sights, we had two hours of intelligence and didn‘t pull the trigger.   

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, what political purposes?  What would stop the president of the United States from taking out Osama bin Laden when he had a clean shot at him? 

PATTERSON:  I think, at the time, the discussion was revolving around not wanting to alienate the allies overseas, the potential for it not to be successful and maybe kill innocents.  And I think President Clinton himself has admitted it was possibly 50/50 at best.  Well, that still, in hindsight, looks very, very good.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you talked about—a minute ago, you were talking about that this Sandy Berger episode wasn‘t the first time that Clinton administration officials sort of played fast and loose with security documentation.  What other examples do you have? 

PATTERSON:  Right. 

Well, in my time there also, the 9/11 Commission didn‘t really bring this out.  But also I was there from 1996 to 1998.  And we knew for a fact as early as 1996 that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda had plans to use commercial airliners as flying weapons.  And of course that came to fruition five years later. 

And, again, I think there‘s been a lot of rewriting of history here over the last couple of years.  The legacy of Bill Clinton remains to be seen.  But I think that the legacy will be that we had several opportunities to prevent 9/11 and we did not do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, let‘s turn our attention now towards the convention next week.

John Kerry obviously a highly decorated soldier from Vietnam, or sailor from Vietnam.  He‘s going to be talking about his military experience.  You‘ve obviously studied his record.  What type of military record does he have, not in Vietnam, where he served honorably, but what about in supporting the military as a United States senator?

PATTERSON:  Well, there‘s actually two elements here, Joe. 

The first element is when he came back from Vietnam and of course testified in front of Congress and disavowed his brothers in arms and called them basically baby killers and rapists and convicted them of committing war atrocities. 

The second element is his 20-year voting record in the Senate, which I detail in my book “Reckless Disregard,” where he has voted against every single major weapons system that we‘re using today to fight the war on terror.  He never voted for a military pay raise in his 20 years in the Senate.  And he in fact has the worst record for voting for national defense and security affairs over the last 10 years of any senator. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You say the worst record.  According to whom? 

PATTERSON:  The Center For Policy Studies rated him the worst in terms of specifically military and national security matters.

SCARBOROUGH:  Does that include intelligence funding?

PATTERSON:  It sure does.  It sure does. 

As a matter of fact, he voted at one point in time during the middle of the—right in the heyday of the terrorist threat back in the 1990s, he voted to cut the CIA by 80 percent and the FBI by 60 percent.  So he has not really been very strong in terms of looking down the road for national security and not very adept at looking at the threat that al Qaeda was and is today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Colonel Buzz Patterson, thank you so much, author of “Reckless Disregard.”  We greatly appreciate you being with us. 

PATTERSON:  Thank you, sir.  My pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I hope our viewers get a chance to look at your book, “Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security.”  I‘m sure, regardless of your political affiliation, it‘s something you‘re going to want to read before the Democratic Convention this week.  If you‘re a Democrat, you‘ll want to read it to figure out what Republicans are going to be saying throughout the fall campaign. 

Now, coming up, I‘ve got a follow-up on last night‘s flight safety segment where we told you of one couple‘s harrowing flight where they feared for their lives.  Tonight, we have more experts weighing in on the safety of our skies.  Plus, I‘m going to be leading your responses to last night‘s special.  We were flooded with e-mails. 

Plus, mentioning Michael Moore‘s name can get you in big trouble.  You might even lose your job over it.  That story coming up next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, we‘re going to be talking to a pilot, a flight attendant and a federal air marshal about what we can do to keep safe in the skies, so they can follow up on last night‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY special report.

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk. 

(NEWS BREAK)

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

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, we told you last night about the terrifying experience of one couple aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 327. 

Kevin and Annie Jacobsen observed 14 Syrian men aboard their flight behaving suspiciously, including giving each other hand signals and standing simultaneously when the fasten seat belt light was on after the flight had been cleared for landing. 

Listen to part of their harrowing story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNIE JACOBSEN, JOURNALIST:  Four of them go to the lavatory that‘s just right directly in front of us, waiting consecutively.  And from what I could tell, there were three waiting at the back bathroom.  And I can see downtown Los Angeles.  The seat belt sign is on.  It is so unusual. 

You have got 180-some-odd passengers on that plane, and every single one of them is seated except for seven Middle Eastern men who have been acting really strangely for 4 ½ hours. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, with the RNC convention right around the corner and the Olympics coming up, we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY want to continue to investigate this story.  Are our skies any safer today than they were before September 11? 

With me now to talk about that is first officer Latane Campbell, a commercial airline pilot.  We also have Jeanne Elliott of the Professional Flight Attendants Association.  And we also have Captain Dave Adams.  He‘s a special agent in charge of the federal air marshal program. 

Thank you all so much for being with us. 

Officer Campbell, what‘s your take on this story of Northwest Flight 327?  Do you think it could have possibly been a drive run for just some passengers overreacting?

LATANE CAMPBELL, COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT:  I don‘t think the passengers overreacted.  As a matter of fact, I think they did just the right thing by notifying the flight attendants that something odd was happening. 

And I think the length of the flight gave them a better feel for what was abnormal.  So, in that case, I would have to back up the passengers in this case.  I don‘t want to condemn the crew, though.  There are a lot of things that go on with the security of the aircraft that are subtle and for obvious reasons we don‘t want to talk about them.  Crews, both the cabin and the cockpit and our help on the ground do things in a subtle way, in a measured way to make sure this the airplane is safe. 

And I don‘t want to condemn that crew because I don‘t know what they were thinking and how they were acting behind the scenes.  But I want to commend the two passengers in particular who were speaking with the flight attendants and letting them know. 

Now, I will say this.  Had I been notified as a pilot that we had some Arabic men congregating around the lavatories during the approach phase with the seat belt sign on, that‘s highly unusual.  And it should have been directly dealt with and immediately dealt with. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A lot of people have said they have had similar incidences to what the Jacobsens had while flying. 

Actor James Woods actually told Fox News of a harrowing story of his own.  He was on a flight on August 1, 2001.  He saw four men behaving suspiciously.  Their behavior was so strange he thought they were going to hijack the plane.  So he told the flight attendant and the first officer.  They eventually filed reports with the FAA.

But after the attack of September 11, Woods called the FBI to tell them about the incident and later found out the four men on his flight were four of the September 11 hijackers who were aboard Flight 77 and 175. 

So let me ask you, Jeanne Elliott, are flight attendants and pilots

that hear from passengers about this type of suspicious activity, isn‘t it

up to them to make these passengers sit down and behave like the other

passengers on the plane? 

rMD+BO_

rMD-BO_JEANNE ELLIOTT, FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ASSOCIATION:  Well, we operate with great situational awareness. 

And I want to go back to Flight 327 and make the statement by the

uneducated eye and to those who don‘t walk in our shoes as crew members

each and every day, it might have been perceived that they were doing

nothing when indeed they were putting the safety and the security of those

passengers as their first priority. 

Also, with respect to that situation, that vigilance was the situation was managed and there was very effective communication from the cabin crew to the flight deck.  And that‘s essential. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, though, Dave Adams, if I‘m actually on that plane and I see anybody.  I don‘t care if they‘re Arab men—I don‘t care who they are.  If I see people congregating around restrooms, if I see people starting to stand up as we‘re approaching, I‘m going to be very concerned and I‘m also going to be angry that the flight attendants and the captain didn‘t make these people sit down, because I will tell you what, when I‘ve been on planes before, if somebody gets up while we‘re landing, the flight attendants immediately run to them and make them sit down. 

Why didn‘t they do that in this situation? 

DAVE ADAMS, FEDERAL AIR MARSHAL SERVICE:  Well, I think the flight attendants acted appropriately.

They notified our federal air marshals of the situation immediately when it was brought to their attention.  I applaud Annie Jacobsen for notifying the flight attendants about the situation.  And we ask any passenger aboard the flight to notify us of situations of unusual occurrences. 

But our federal marshals had them under surveillance during this whole time.  They checked the lavatories after the individuals had been in the lavatories and there was nothing out of the ordinary.  And we constantly kept them under surveillance, as a matter of fact, working with the crew as a partnership here, to make sure the plane got safely to the ground.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, on Flight 327, after these Arab men were going to the restroom and some people were complaining that they were behaving strangely, that they were taking bags in there, leaving them in there, others going in there, are you telling me that there were air marshals on that flight that actually followed them after they went into the bathroom to make sure that no suspicious material had been deposited in there that could have endangered the lives on those people flying on 327?

ADAMS:  That is correct.  And other members of the team kept them, constantly vigilant, under observation.

We then notified the L.A. airport authorities, and we had the federal air marshals, the supervisor of the federal air marshals, the FBI, TSA and LAPD on the scene.  Federal air marshals immediately when they got to the gate had communications with the FAM supervisor and discretely identified the 14 Syrian band members when they got off the flight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it.  Appreciate all of you being here tonight. 

Now, we‘re asking you to send in your e-mails and tell us about any travel experiences that you have had that you think relate to what happened on 327.  So if you‘re on board—also, if you were on board Northwest Airlines Flight 327 on June 29 or have seen any suspicious activity while flying since September 11, please e-mail us at Joe@MSNBC.com

And still to come, I‘m going to tell you how Michael Moore got one Grammy Award winner fired from her job on the Las Vegas Strip.

Then, I‘ve got video of an amazing rescue, as one woman almost falls to her death off a bridge, only to be saved by the heroics of one brave policeman. 

Stick around.  That‘s coming up.

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge:  How much money did visitors spend in Las Vegas in 2003?  Was it, A, $10.2 Million, B, $80.5 million, or, C, $32.8 billion?  The answer coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:  How much money did visitors spend in Las Vegas in 2003?  The answer is C, a record $32.8 billion.

Now back to Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to our show.  And I‘ve got issues tonight, serious issues. 

Now, one person I don‘t have an issue with this week is Tom Cruise.  The movie star presented a tribute to the late Pat Tillman that during the Espy Awards that aired on Sunday night.  As you know Tillman was a former Arizona Cardinals football player who left his lucrative NFL career to serve in Afghanistan, where he was killed in action this past April. 

Cruise said on the Espy Awards—quote—“Pat Tillman surrendered a life of fame and security to set an example, an example of something that we deeply value but so often take for granted, our freedom in this nation to choose our own destinies.”

You know, with so many Hollywood stars bashing our troops‘ efforts overseas, it‘s great to know that there are still a few good men left in Hollywood. 

Now, moving on, viewers‘ eyes often glaze over when countries like Sudan are mentioned on cable television.  But these images that are coming out of that war-torn country can‘t be ignored anymore.  A report from the United Nations claims that Sudan‘s government is directly involved in recruiting and arming militias that terrorize the country‘s black population. 

The U.N. described Sudan as the world‘s worst humanitarian crisis.  More than 10,000 people have been killed by rebel groups in the past year in the country‘s western region.  And the whole nation is on the brink of famine. 

Six years ago, I passed a resolution in Congress that demanded that the president immediately cut off diplomatic relations with Sudan.  Back then, the regime had already slaughtered two million of its own Christian population and crucified children as young as 10 years old and started an expansive slave trade. 

I was shocked that then the Black Congressional Caucus refused to endorse my resolution, just as I find it shocking now that the United Nations is still incapable of pressuring that country to stop the Arab death squads killing and torturing all those who move across their path.  The suffering in Sudan is sickening and the world community‘s weak response is beyond explanation. 

Now, she‘s been cheated.  She‘s been mistreated.  When will Linda Ronstadt be loved?  It seems the ‘70s pop star decided to use her Las Vegas show last night to praise the work of Michael Moore.  After declaring Moore a great America, the lovely Linda was roundly booed, while hundreds of angry concert-goers streamed out of the exits in a huff. 

The Aladdin Casino owner who was in attendance, he was there when things got ugly.  And he actually demanded that Ronstadt pack her bags and leave the casino at once.  Aladdin management released this statement, saying—quote—“Ms. Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of Aladdin, not to espouse her political views.  In an effort to diffuse the situation, Linda Ronstadt was asked to leave the property immediately following her performance.”

Diffuse the situation?  What situation?  This wasn‘t the Stones at Altamont.  This was an aging pop singer saying nice thing about the wacko left‘s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  But the audience reactions proves that, for all of its debauchery, Las Vegas is still the place that Americans from flyover space go to escape their jobs, their crappy bosses and the corrosiveness of American politics. 

The real problem with Ronstadt‘s performance wasn‘t that she decided to praise Michael Moore, but that she has spent an entire career putting a sugary glaze on songs like “Desperado” and “Allison.”  Paraphrasing Frank Zappa, it‘s time more entertainers just shut up and sing. 

With me now to discuss Linda Ronstadt, Michael Moore and all things Las Vegas is “TIME” magazine‘s Joel Stein.  His cover story for the week‘s “TIME” magazine takes an in-depth look into the resurgence of Las Vegas as America‘s No. 1 tourist destination. 

Hey, Joel, thanks a lot for being with us tonight. 

JOEL STEIN, “TIME”:  Oh, I‘m excited to be in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, you know what, baby?  You‘re always in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, because, as you know, it‘s not a geographical location, Joel.

STEIN:  What?  No?

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a state of mind, baby.  Come on.

STEIN:  It‘s rugged country.  It is man country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is manly country. 

STEIN:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And live got to ask you, Joel, doesn‘t this Linda Ronstadt—everybody thinks Las Vegas, the glitter, the glitz, the porn.  But didn‘t this prove, this whole Linda Ronstadt dust-up last night or this weekend, doesn‘t it prove that Las Vegas is really where middle Americans go to play? 

STEIN:  I think it‘s both now.  They‘re getting a lot of middle Americans.  They are getting a lot of young, cool people from L.A.  It‘s definitely cool again, but, yes, you still have a lot of—a lot of middle America are going to there to have fun, sure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Now, money is king in Las Vegas.  Tell us about this cover story that you did for “TIME” magazine.  Isn‘t Vegas now also the fastest growing city in America? 

STEIN:  It has been for like 20 years.  Clark County is up to like 1.5 million. 

So it‘s becoming a real city.  They‘re building condos in the desert, which seems really weird when there‘s all that wide open space for houses, but people want to be near the Strip.  They‘re becoming like a real city. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Now, tell us more about the explosive growth of Vegas, $32 billion last year.  I understand only about $1 billion or $2 billion was actually spent in casinos.  Where‘s the other $30 billion spent, other than porn?

(LAUGHTER)

STEIN:  Why are you so obsessed with porn in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY?  I didn‘t think...

SCARBOROUGH:  Because, Joel, I‘ve read your columns.  I‘ve been a big fan for years.  And you‘re obsessed with porn.  So I‘m just playing to my audience.

STEIN:  I was hoping people in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY wouldn‘t know about that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, they probably don‘t, but I do. 

But, no, Joel, seriously, though, tell us, if they‘re not spending $31 billion in casinos, where is that money going?

STEIN:  It‘s weird.  Like, the average Vegas tourist spends four days there and only like four hours gambling. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really?

STEIN:  The casinos are making more by far off of their hotel rooms and booze and food and entertainment than they are off of the gambling.  In fact, I think conventions made more last year than gambling. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really? 

STEIN:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, are you surprised by the Aladdin decision to give Ronstadt the boot or was it purely a financial decision? 

STEIN:  I‘m surprised the Aladdin ever booked Linda Ronstadt.  What were they hoping?  That had to be the best part of the concert.  I read the reviews.  And everyone said that was the most fun.  I can‘t imagine the rest of it was great. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  I actually read a review of it that said that was actually one of the only exciting parts of the entire concert, when people started streaming out and throwing things at her photo outside and everything else. 

STEIN:  Yes.  The Aladdin is going bankrupt, so that‘s why they‘re booking Linda Ronstadt, I guess.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Well, I guess they had get her out the door before Chapter 11 was filed. 

Well, tell us, what are some of the strains that are occurring to Las Vegas.  With its explosive growth, is the infrastructure able to keep up with it?  Is this going to keep exploding until it expands westward and hits the Los Angeles city limits? 

STEIN:  It‘s kind of weird.  You can almost see Las Vegas turning into like a real city with a real infrastructure built around this really weird casino life in the middle of the Strip, which is becoming like the beach. 

Everyone wants to be near the Strip, or the Strip is considered a view from your condo.  It‘s a pretty weird world out there.  But, yes, I can see it become a totally real city. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Joel Stein, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We really appreciate it. 

STEIN:  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know what, buddy?  You‘re welcome back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY any time.  You look like a very rugged guy, just like me and the rest of our citizens. 

Now, straight ahead, I‘m going to be showing you the whole video of a jaw-dropping rescue, as a policeman manages to save one woman‘s life. 

Stick around.  That‘s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back to our show.  And I will tell you what.  Joel Stein is a great writer for “TIME” magazine.  He‘s one of those few writers—he‘s a laugh-out loud writer, where you are alone.  You are reading his article.  You come to something, you actually laugh out loud.  Funny guy, great writer. 

I am not really sure he wrote that cover story for “TIME” magazine after interviewing him for three minutes, because he really didn‘t have a lot to say.  Yes, Las Vegas is kind of turning into a real city.  Thanks, Joel. 

We end tonight with a remarkable piece of police heroism.  Now, check out this video.  A 36-year-old woman leaps off a Green Bay bridge.  Trooper Les Boldt raises out of his car, reaches out and grabs her at the moment.  Now, watch Boldt himself nearly get pulled over the edge.  And this still isn‘t finished. 

The woman continues to struggle to break free and possibly fall to her death.  Boldt hangs on.  And he‘s hanging on to her.  Eventually, the two sheriffs that run over there help pull the woman to safety.  It‘s an amazing life-saving effort by Wisconsin‘s finest.  The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for minor scratches. 

Hey, that‘s it for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. 

I want you to make sure to tune in to a “HARDBALL” Lisa Myers special report tomorrow night on the 12 missed chances that could have changed 9/11.  That‘s tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. on MSNBC. 

But we want to thank you tonight for stopping in to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, as Joel said, rugged terrain for the heart of America.  Thanks for being here and we‘ll see you tomorrow night.  Good night.

END   

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