updated 7/23/2004 10:28:03 AM ET 2004-07-23T14:28:03

Guest: Jon Voight, Deborah Volpe, Michael Smerconish, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ed Smart, Mindy Tucker, Daniel Cruise

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, Sandy Berger is snared in a sting operation.  The “Real Deal,” it looks like Mr. Berger is in sinking sand. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed. 

President Bush has been blasted for not acting on a memo that said bin Laden was planning attacks in the U.S. but President Clinton got a similar report three years earlier.  Will Bush‘s critics now point the finger at bill? 

Then are terrorists in training making dry runs for the next 9/11?  We‘re going to be talking to one flight attendant who says the current airline security system just isn‘t working.  And she‘s asking Congress for help.  Plus, NBC reporter Scott Weinberger brings us exclusive new details in our continued coverage of Northwest Flight 327. 

And Michael Moore has been attacking the president and the troops all over the world.  Academy Award winner Jon Voight says the director would be charged with treason if he lived anywhere else but the good old USA.

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, good evening and welcome to our show.

Today‘s debate over the 9/11 report shows why so many Americans hate Washington.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

You know, there comes a time when partisan politics should be left inside smoke-filled cloak rooms.  And one of those times is now, when America is struggling to win a war on terror and survive a war Iraq.  It used to be that politics ended at the water‘s edge.  But, these days, that seem to be where it begins.  This age of Michael Moore that we‘re caught in is doing more to damage not just our political system, but it‘s also stopping serious policy makers on both sides of the aisle from working together to save America from destruction. 

Now, no serious policy analyst doubts that al Qaeda will be able to gain access to a nuclear bomb in the next decade, nor do they question whether bin Laden is trying to gain control of a nuke right now to detonate New York, D.C. or Los Angeles.  Listen, folks, with millions of Americans‘ lives hanging in the balance, don‘t you think that Democrats and Republicans should put aside partisanship long enough to put national security before petty politics? 

Let‘s face it.  Republicans have made mistakes through the years.  And so have Democrats.  But we should all be disturbed that the Democratic Party right now seems to be basing their electoral hopes on the failure of America‘s mission in Iraq and at home.  I‘ve talked to Democrats recently who are giddily asking me whether a terror attack during one of the conventions could seal the deal for their candidate, John Kerry.  The answer, of course, is no. 

It would actually strengthen George Bush‘s hand.  But that‘s beside the point.  We‘re all on the same side here.  And if John Kerry is elected president in November, he‘s going to have my unwavering support when American troops are in harm‘s way.  Now, that doesn‘t mean that Americans shouldn‘t ask tough questions about their commander in chief.  But the hate speech coming from Democratic heroes like Michael Moore takes national security debates into the gutter. 

7              We deserve more from our political leaders, because now Americans really may be living in the eve of destruction.  It‘s a terrifying thought, but it‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

With me tonight to talk about the Sandy Berger scandal and the 9/11 report is Daniel Cruise.  He served with Sandy Berger at the National Security Council.  And he is also the council‘s current director of public affairs.  We also have Mindy Tucker.  She is a Republican strategist.  We also have Mario Diaz-Balart, who is a congressman from Florida. 

Let‘s start with you, Daniel Cruise.

We cut you short last night.  I‘m glad you could come back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY this evening. 

I want to ask you, are you concerned that Sandy Berger‘s behavior was so inappropriate that the National Archives are now leaking to “The Washington Post” that they actually set up a sting operation to stop him from stealing additional material from the Archives? 

DANIEL CRUISE, SERVED WITH SANDY BERGER:  I think—I‘ve read a number of press reports throughout the day.  And I think the facts remain still incredibly unclear.  And the investigation needs to run its course. 

We really to have wait and see what the investigation comes up with.  But, to take your lead, I think this is party politics.  And it is the affairs of personal destruction and it‘s going after Sandy Berger in a very personal way, when the country right now should be looking at the 9/11 report, should be bipartisan, and should really look forward as to how to best protect our homeland and not go personally against Sandy Berger in this attack.

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Daniel, this isn‘t personal.  If a Republican had gone—let‘s say Condi Rice had gone in and looked at classified documents and stuffed them in her coat, stuffed them in her pants, her pants or dress or whatever, and then “The Washington Post” reported that her activity was so suspicious, and they had caught her lifting material before, and it was so bad that they had to set up a sting operation to get a national security adviser to the president of the United States.

I would hope you would be as concerned about that as I am concerned about what is happening with Sandy Berger.  I certainly would go after Condi Rice for this type of behavior.  Doesn‘t this pertain to our national security, when classified documents about homeland security, about port protection, about airport protection, is actually—those classified documents are being mishandled?

CRUISE:  I think Sandy Berger is a man of great integrity.  I think that he will never have done anything to endanger the national security of this country.  And I think what we need to focus on is how suspicious the timing of all this is, ahead of 9/11 report, and trying to overshadow the results of the 9/11 report that need to be looked at seriously, how a political appointee at the White House knew of the Justice Department investigation.  And how a congressional commission today launches an investigation into this I think is a farce.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mindy Tucker, let me bring you in here. 

You served at the Justice Department.  You also served in Congress, just like I served in Congress.  Whenever they would take us into the rooms where classified documents were, you would sit there.  They would put the file in front of you.  It would usually be a sparse room.  You would open up it.  You would review it.  People would be watching you, observing you.  You were hardly ever left alone there.  And then you would give it back to them. 

I find this story that somehow poor old Sandy Berger, oh, we were all laughing.  Sandy just sort of throws papers all around.  I find that preposterous.  Tell me, in your dealing with classified information, did you ever, ever, get confused about what was classified and what was not classified?  Because I have got to tell you, this is the hardest part of the story for me to buy.  I just don‘t buy it.  Somebody is lying here. 

MINDY TUCKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Yes, I was really surprised to hear that he said he inadvertently took these documents. 

I as a spokesperson at the Justice Department was very well trained in how the handle classified documents.  They‘re very well marked.  There are specific directions on how you can carry them around.  After September 11, I carried an envelope that actually had a key lock on it.  That was the only way I could carry some of the documents around.  And I was just a spokesperson at the Justice Department. 

So I have to think that the national security adviser to the president surely underwent more specific and more intense training than I did, because he probably had higher classified clearances.  So I did find it a little bit strange that he could somehow inadvertently forget all the information he knew about how to handle classified documents and walk out of a room with them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And here‘s a guy that had the highest national security clearance.  I just don‘t know how he does it. 

Now, I want to read what you “The Washington Post” had to say.  They actually said that the staff of the National Archives were suspicious of Berger‘s activities.  And this is what “The Post” writes: “After Berger‘s previous visits, Archives officials believed that documents were missing.  They devised a coding system and marked the documents they knew Berger was interested in canvassing and they watched him carefully.  At the end of the day, Archives employees determined that documents had disappeared from the files.”

They set up a sting operation because they feared that he stole documents before, Mindy.  And that sting operation caught him stealing more documents.  How does the top national security adviser in the United States get caught lifting these documents? 

TUCKER:  It‘s really curious.  And I think he has a lot of explaining to do. 

I think, whether you want to make it political or not—I know a lot of people are accusing him of doing it because he wanted to give them to the Kerry campaign.  A lot of people are accusing on the other side of this being a Republican operation.  But here‘s the bottom line.  This man needs to be held responsible for what he did, no matter who is holding him responsible, republicans or Democrats. 

He needs to answer for why he took the documents and why this obviously was a pattern with him that he took documents like this and why he was so careless with something as essential as our national security. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you know, also, there were times “The Washington Post” said that when staffers were around him from the Archives, he would actually tell them to get out of the room because he claimed, and the Archives people didn‘t believe him, but they left—he claimed that he was about to get on a phone call that dealt with classified information. 

Now, I want to go to you, Congressman, because when Condoleezza Rice and Richard Clarke testified before the 9/11 Commission, a lot was made of the presidential daily briefing seen by President Bush that was titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,” not big news, even though Michael Moore made it big news in his movie.

But the commission‘s full report today had information there where we learned that President Clinton received an equally chilling briefing three years earlier.  It was titled “Bin Laden Preparing to Hijack U.S. Aircraft and Other Attacks.”

I want to ask you this, Congressman.  Let‘s rise above the political fray.  Can we admit that the Democrats failed miserably in stopping bin Laden and that there were Republicans who also failed miserably, not only in the Bush administration, but also in the 1990s, in not seeing this threat?

REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART ®, FLORIDA:  Well, I think it is pretty obvious that when you‘re in the White House for eight years and you have supposedly the brightest and best, including people like Sandy Berger, who was considered to be the brightest and the best in the Clinton administration, they‘re there for eight years, and Americans continue to die by hands of these bloodthirsty terrorists, obviously, there‘s some responsibility shared. 

Yes, it is true that President Bush got elected.  He was there for eight months.  And in eight months, by the way, as you well know in this process, I doubt very much that he even knew where the bathrooms were.  By the way, most of his people were not even in place.  And I think he bears responsibility for that little period of time, you know, to maybe not understanding everything that the Clinton administration failed to understand in eight years. 

Look, the bottom line is this.  A lot of answers, a lot of questions have to be answered, whether it is Mr. Sandy Berger, national security adviser under President Clinton, who then saw it necessary on more than one occasion to steal sensitive documents.  I just heard Danny.  Look, I respect him.  But for him to defend the stealing of sensitive secret documents and then tell say, oh, but people are complaining.  How do people complain? 

Wait a second.  This is stealing documents from a secure room, sensitive, secret documents.  I don‘t care if it is Sandy Berger.  I don‘t care who it is.  You are not allowed to steal on two occasions secret documents that pertain—he mentioned the 9/11 Commission—that pertain to terrorism, our war against terrorism, our preparation for that war against terrorism. 

When that happens, and for anybody to defend and it say that he didn‘t know, wait a second.  Are you telling me that the national security adviser to President Clinton, that bright, intellectual human being, who, by the way, was so bright, so well talented, so brilliant that the Kerry campaign used him as well, that person is incapable of knowing that he is stealing sensitive documents, that he is putting them in his pants or his jacket, in violation of the rules and the law? 

Hey, that does not pass a stink test.  It doesn‘t matter when it came out.  The issue is this.

SCARBOROUGH:  It really doesn‘t. 


DIAZ-BALART:  He has to answer those questions.  It is a national security issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re exactly right.  Congressman, thanks for being with us. 

Daniel Cruise, thanks for being with us. 

Mindy Tucker, as always, we appreciate you being here. 

And all I have got to say is this.  If a Republican does this in the future, I‘m going to be the first one coming out saying you need to nail them to the wall, because this isn‘t about a Republican or a Democrat doing it.  It is about a government official who is putting Americans‘ lives in danger by playing fast and loose with top secret, classified documentation on keeping our ports, our airports, and our roadways safe.  It is disgraceful. 

I‘ll tell what you else is disgraceful.  I just got to say this.  Sandy Berger did not let John Kerry know for eight months that he was under investigation while John Kerry was keeping him on board as his top national security adviser.  That goes to character as much as anything else Sandy Berger did.  He betrayed John Kerry and he shouldn‘t be forgiven for that by the Kerry camp. 

Now, coming up, the final 9/11 report is out.  But are terrorists already practicing for their next strike?  And is the government doing enough to prevent it? 

But, first, we‘re going to show shocking developments in the case of a pregnant woman missing in Utah.  We‘re going to tell you the very latest and talk about how her family is maintaining hope with somebody who has been there before, Ed Smart. 

Coming up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ve got some shocking new information, the very latest on the missing woman, missing pregnant woman, who disappeared in Utah while jogging.

We‘ll give you that information when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now to strange developments in the case of the missing Utah woman, Lori Hacking.  Her husband said this on Monday after the 27-year-old went missing. 


MARK HACKING, HUSBAND OF LORI HACKING:  She never made it in this morning.  And I called the police. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But now we learn that later that evening, the same day that his pregnant wife went missing, Mark Hacking checked himself into a psychiatric hospital in Salt Lake City.  And that‘s not all.  According to their families, Mark lied about his intentions to attend medical school.  He never even applied.  And he‘s lied to his wife and family about his undergraduate degree.  He never graduated from the University of Utah, as he claim. 

With me now, I‘m joined by Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth was missing for nine months in Utah before being found safe.  It was a remarkable story that we all followed for so long.  Ed is now working with the National Child Identification Program.  His family has been very active in helping in the search for Lori Hacking.  Also here, we have got former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. 

Ed, let me begin with you.

Obviously, you can talk about what this family is going through, but you can also talk about how important it is in the first hours of these missing children or wife stories to get on the right track.  Do you think that the police officers may be on the right track going after this husband?  Any red flags going up? 

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART:  You know, I don‘t know that they are really focusing on the husband, because they have so many things that they‘re looking at.  Of course, you know one of the first things that they look at is the family, because so many times, that‘s the case. 

But I think that the important thing is to get family out of the way so they can move forward in the investigation. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Ed, what is the family going through?  What is the family going through right now? 

SMART:  Well, you know, you just think about, one, losing your daughter or your sister or brother.  And then compound that on top of what they‘ve already gone through with yesterday‘s news. 

I would imagine that it is just very devastating and it‘s hard to stay on top.  But, as I met with them today, they were amazing.  They‘re just great, great people and a very strong family.  And they are there to find Lori.  And I think that‘s where the focus is trying to stay. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ed, what did you say to them to try to help, offer a lending hand and offer them the type of support that only a father who has been through this understands what they need? 

SMART:  Well, to me, prayer was a huge factor. 

The prayers from the country brought so much support, along with the community.  And as difficult as it is to get out in front of the media and stay focused on asking for volunteers to help and for those prayers to continue, that‘s what I really told them was the most important thing, also, the support, being a support to each other.  It is so difficult after two or three days, day and night, day and night, really not getting any sleep, to keep going forward. 

And you really have to rely on each other.  And that was what I tried to share with them and how important it was to try to stay focused. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I know that you‘re a great help to them right now, again, because you‘ve been through what they‘re going through right now. 

Clint, let me bring you in.  Despite the strange developments, Lori‘s mother defended her son-in-law today.  And this is what she said. 



THELMA SOARES, MOTHER OF LORI HACKING:  All of you across the country, if you will make posters, go to FindLori.com and you can download fliers and so forth and please spread her picture all over the country so that we can bring Lori home. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you went on to say that she still did support her son-in-law.

And certainly, you know, listen, we‘re not pointing the finger at anybody.  It certainly looks strange, though.  This guy checks himself into a psychiatric hospital the afternoon that his wife is missing.  What do you make of that? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, that‘s the challenge of this, Joe.  

And, as much as the whole nation rallied behind Ed Smart and the circumstances that his daughter was snatched right out of his house in the middle of the night, we look at this situation and first we want to stand with the husband, because that could be any of us.  And the family, just like Ed said, has got to stay focused.  They have got to do everything they can to bring about the inertia, the prayer, whatever it is going to take to bring their daughter home. 

But from the law enforcement perspective, we can‘t allow ourselves to get caught up in that emotion necessarily.  We have to go down.  We have to put boots on the ground.  We have to search the park.  And when you have someone in this case, you look at a significant other.  When you start to hear these lies, Joe—I mean, one of the things I‘m challenged is with—my wife and I dated before I went to college.  And she was there for my undergraduate, my graduate degrees. 

She was there when I got the degree.  And here we have a couple that dated through high school and yet somehow we‘re led to believe the wife didn‘t know that her husband had snookered her, that he really didn‘t have a college degree.  I mean, this is a guy, Joe—let me tell you, this is a guy, his whole world was going to unravel in the next week, the lie about going to college, the lie about graduating, the lie about going to med school. 

All of these lies were this mountain that was going to come down on this guy.  And it‘s a heck of a coincidence that, at the exact moment Mount Vesuvius was going to erupt, his wife disappeared. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, we showed you the stats last night.  Just again, of the more than 14,000 pregnant women who were murdered in 2002, more than 32 percent of them were killed by their husbands or boyfriend.  And, of course, homicide is the No. 1 killer of pregnant women. 

The police certainly, again, they need to be focusing on this husband, don‘t they?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  And you can‘t—again, to paraphrase Ed, because he was there.  And we know that his family was looked at and John Walsh‘s family was looked at.  Every family needs to know right out of the chute, law enforcement needs to eliminate you and they need to do it quickly because there‘s only so much resources that can be dedicated to the hunt, to the search. 

And when you start to have in this particular case these lies, these falsehoods, law enforcement can‘t afford to walk away from this.  So they have to split the resources. 


VAN ZANDT:  They have to look at transients like who took Elizabeth.  And they have got to take a hard look at the husband who checked himself in before we even—into a psychiatric facility before we even knew she hadn‘t just fallen and bumped her head and was asleep in the woods somewhere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ed, one final question. 

SMART:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  How tough is it when you‘re a member of a family, you‘re missing a loved one, your heart is broken, your world has come crumbling down around, and all of a sudden, people start pointing the finger at you and going, I wonder if he did it?

SMART:  You know, it‘s tremendous stress. 

I‘m sure that Mark made a mistake.  What can you say about that? 

People do make mistakes.  The family does have to be cleared off the list.  There‘s no question.  If the police don‘t do that, they‘re not doing their job.  But, as said earlier, it needs to be done quickly, so that you can get on and stay focused and find her, because I think that as I‘ve had a chance to visit with the family and hear about the interaction between Mark and his wife, you know, a couple weeks ago, he sent roses to her, and just little things that, would somebody that is on the verge of doing something, would they take that road? 

And I think that people make mistakes.  This was a mistake.  I‘m hopeful that we will find that she is out there, he had nothing to do with it.  But, definitely, the police have to look at it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Ed Smart, thanks so much for being with us tonight.  You give us such great insight to a case like this. 

Same to you, Clint Van Zandt.  As always, thanks for being in


Now, if you have any information about Lori‘s disappearance or whereabouts, please call the Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000 or 801-799-INFO.  Remember, a phone call is what brought Ed‘s daughter home.  You can make the difference.  Any information, dial the Salt Lake City police at those numbers. 

Now, coming up, an exclusive report from NBC‘s Scott Weinberger about new details from Northwest Flight 327. 

That‘s coming up next.


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, shocking information on Northwest Flight 327. 

We‘ll give you the very latest. 

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


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:  Hey, we‘ve been discussing Northwest Flight 327 all week.  The behavior of 14 Middle Eastern men was enough to make one couple fear the worst.  Fortunately, the flight landed safely and was met by federal authorities. 

But, as WNBC‘s investigative reporter Scott Weinberger discovered, in questioning the 14 men, the federal officers failed to uncover a key piece of information. 

Here‘s Scott‘s recap of the story and his shocking discovery. 


SCOTT WEINBERGER, WNBC REPORTER (voice-over):  Ann Jacobsen and her husband, Kevin, along with their 4 ½-year-old son, were on that flight.  And before the gate even left the gate, she says her husband already had an uneasy feeling. 

ANNIE JACOBSEN, JOURNALIST:  Kevin turned me to me and said, I think we should get off this flight.  And we didn‘t. 

WEINBERGER:  But at that point, the couple felt like their concerns could have just been nerves.  But that reasoning would not last long. 

KEVIN JACOBSEN, ABOARD NORTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT:  Well, I noticed when the gentleman went to the restroom with a yellow T-shirt, passes his seat.  And when he gets to the middle of the flight, he gives the thumbs up to two or three other Middle Eastern men sitting behind him, and then continues back to the rear of the flight.  There was one of the Middle Eastern sitting in first class, and he was wearing sunglasses.  He was also always standing right in front of the cockpit door. 

A. JACOBSEN:  I said, honey, I think you should talk to the flight attendant. 

K. JACOBSEN:  She said, we are aware of it.  The pilot is aware of it. 

She said that, we are passing notes to each other. 

Then, when they were passing drinks, the flight attendant came over to me and she leaned down and she whispered and she said that there are air marshals sitting all around you. 

WEINBERGER:  But sources say the federal air marshals chose not to act, maintaining their undercover role, but prepared if the men made a move to hijack the aircraft. 

But that would not happen.  The plane would land safely in Los Angeles, and the men questioned by the FBI and the U.S. immigration authorities.  Sources say they told investigators they were a group of musicians from Syria traveling to a gig near Los Angeles.  Agents, we‘re told, ran the men through every possible data bank and terrorist watch list.

But nothing came back, so they were released.  Several sources tell News Channel 4 that all 14 men were traveling with expired visas.  And sources say federal agents who spent several hours with the men failed at one of the most simple of tasks, just checking the date. 


SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is WNBC reporter investigative report Scott Weinberger. 

Scott, FBI member and immigration people sat down with these men.  They questioned them.  And, of course, afterwards they said, hey, everything checked out.  But everything didn‘t really check out.  These people missed something as simple as visas that were expired.  How did that happen? 

WEINBERGER:  Well, Joe, let‘s talk about what we know happened right before the plane landed.  We know that several of the passengers talked to the flight attendants and gave them information.  That information was then given to the pilot.  The pilot called ahead and told authorities that when the plane lands, they need help.  They need people to come to the aircraft and take care of the situation. 

When the aircraft landed in Los Angeles, it was met by several agents of the JTTF, joint terrorism task force, as well as ICE, which is Immigration Customs Enforcements.  They took the gentleman off the plane.  They did what they called an interview.  It was not an interrogation.  There was no criminal activity, not a reason to do the interrogation part of it.  But they interviewed them all individually. 

And it went on, Joe, for probably almost two hours.  Now, they looked at the big picture.  Is this a situation of terrorism?  Are these people at all possibly connected with any form or links of terrorism?  They went through various lists that they have in a database which is stored in all the major law enforcement computer. 

After going through all those things, now, Joe, looking at the big picture of terrorism, something like a visa would be an easy question to ask.  We know and my sources are telling me that each individual member that they talked to, these 12 people or so, the 14, they took their visa and made copies of them and put them as part of an investigative file. 

But my sources are telling me that the investigators never looked down to check the date.  The expiration was three weeks prior to the flight ever taking off. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s remarkable.  So you have immigration officials there.  You have FBI officials there.

WEINBERGER:  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Law enforcement people swarming around these men.  And the most basic of questions, “Are you in the United States legally?” was a question that they botched.  These guys—I have been talking about Inspector Clouseau as it relates to Sandy Berger and his bumbling in classified documents.

It looks they‘re like a bunch of Inspector Clouseaus around here that couldn‘t even answer the basic question of whether these 14 Syrians who are suspected of terrorism were in the United States legally.  I would guess the FBI and the immigration authorities have to be very embarrassed by what you‘ve uncovered. 

WEINBERGER:  Well, red-faced to say the least, Joe, for sure.  But, at this point, really what they have to look at is what is the level of concern when these men come to shore, when they make it to Los Angeles?

And I guess at this point, from what my sources are telling me, is, they wanted to go first and look at the bigger picture.  Are these gentlemen involved in terrorism?  And, at the end of the day, they let them go without ever checking the expiration date on the visa.   

SCARBOROUGH:  Unbelievable.  I would say one of the biggest issues would be, are these men in the country legally?  I can‘t believe they bobbled that one. 

I want to bring in right now, though, Michael Smerconish.  He‘s a radio talk show host.  He is also the author of the upcoming book, “Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11.”  And I also want to bring in flight attendant Deborah Volpe. 

Let‘s start with you, though, Michael.

Are you surprised by what you‘re hearing about this flight, where 14 Syrians are allowed to run around the plane?  And I‘m just going to come out and say it.  If 14 Anglo-Saxon high school students from Kansas who were on a band trip to Los Angeles did the same thing, the flight attendants would go back and tell them to sit down and put their seat belts on.  Do you think political correctness played into the fact that they let these 14 Syrians run around the plane and break all the rules? 


It is a no-brainer.  And it is symptomatic of what‘s going on with regard to airline security.  The fact of the matter is, we are in a war against Arab religious extremists.  And nobody wants to face that fact.  And, instead, we walk around literally flying blind to the fact that the 19 hijackers on 9/11 had a variety of commonalities.  And those commonalities were their country of origin or countries of origin.

They were all from the Northeast.  They are all follower of Islam.  Dare I say, they all look alike.  And people just don‘t want to these factors into consideration.  And I think it is insanity.  I‘m for this administration, but it‘s the Bush administration that will not come to terms with the reality of the enemy that we face. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, what are the dangers here, though, that you—by making these overgeneralizations, a lot of civil libertarians are saying, hey, you are sounding just like FDR in 1942 when he started throwing Japanese into interment camps.  How do you separate those two activities, the rights of Arab-Americans to move freely across the United States and the needs of this country to protect itself from some people that, you know -- you can narrow it down, the people that want to blow up American targets, the chances are good, they are going to be Islamic extremists. 

They are going to be males.  They are going to be like 20 to 45 years old.  How do you balance those conflicting needs? 

SMERCONISH:  I have to tell, Joe, that when you put civil liberties in one hand and when you put the common good and protecting Americans in the other, I think that that balance tips in favor of protecting America. 

I flew to Florida recently and my 8-year-old son was singled out for secondary questioning.  Now, that‘s insanity.  And in the words of John Lehman of the 9/11 Commission, we have got to stop the process of pulling out of line 85-year-old women with aluminum walkers.  I am simply saying what your audience is thinking.  And no one else wants to have this conversation. 

And if I might add, having perused the 500-plus pages of that report today, unfortunately, they failed to deal with this issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I don‘t know why people can‘t say what you‘ve come out and said.  The fact is, we are at war right now with Islamic terrorists.  Does that mean all Arabs are bad?  No.  But it means that we are at war right now with Islamic terrorists who want to destroy our way of life. 



SMERCONISH:  If you‘ll pardon me this, I‘m not saying that you pull out of line and give the rubber hose and the stack of phone books to everybody who is of Arab descent. 

But common sense dictates that if a group of 14 Arab males in that age group are flying together, before they get on that plane in Detroit headed for L.a., they are the ones who need to be subject to secondary screening. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And not your 8-year-old son. 

Deborah, let me bring you in here.

What is a flight attendant‘s role?  I know you responded to our show with an e-mail after you saw the original interview with the Jacobsens.  Have you seen similar incidents on your flights?

DEBORAH VOLPE, FLIGHT ATTENDANT:  We‘re really concerned about erratic behavior by any passenger, irregardless of their ethnic background. 

And we have seen different types of situations occur.  And it runs the gamut from if it is one particular religious group or one ethnic background.  So, flight attendants are very concerned that we don‘t have specific airline security training that address these issues.  The flight deck, some pilots have guns.  We have some air marshals, but the flight attendants, the last line of defense, we have nothing. 


VOLPE:  Ask our politicians. 


VOLPE:  Well, it‘s really—it was mandated that we were supposed to get airline security training.  The TSA has left this up to the individual airline management teams to come up with these security programs, these training programs, which are not effective.  Some run anywhere from a six-minute video to maybe two hours. 

And, at this point, we‘re waiting for the TSA to mandate this.  They mandate certain things, but not the most basic things that can be taken care of that won‘t cost the airline a dime. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, you know, you‘re exactly right, Deborah.  Flight attendants are the last line of defense.  Thanks for being with us. 

Michael, thank you. 

Scott, we greatly appreciate it.  Great report. 

We‘ll be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know we want to hear from you.  If you were on Northwest Flight 327, please e-mail us at Joe@MSNBC.com.  We want to talk to you and we want to get you on our show. 

Now, next weekend welcomes the box office release of “The Manchurian Candidate.”  This is a movie that “The New York Times”‘ Frank Rich calls more partisan than “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  In it, Meryl Streep plays a tough-as-nails senator that bears a striking resemblance to Hillary Rodham Clinton.  But Streep insists her character was not based in any way on the New York senator. 

Streep said—quote—“There‘s a rumor that Paramount asked me to tone down scenes that were too much like Hillary Clinton.  That disturbed me.  This is so far from Hillary Clinton.”

You know what?  I‘m going to wait until next Friday to pass final judgment.  But from what the trailers I‘ve seen, Streep‘s character sure looks like Bubba‘s wife to me. 

Now, speaking of “The Manchurian Candidate,” another star from the film, Academy Award winner Jon Voight, joined me earlier today. 


JON VOIGHT, ACTOR:  I‘m appalled by some of the statements of Michael Moore.  He said to the British press that the Americans are possibly the dumbest people on the planet.  And then, in an open letter to the German people, he said, should an ignorant people lead the world?  And then elsewhere, he speaks of America as bringing untold misery to the world and implies that the attacks on us were justified us on in some way. 

I think these are anti-American statements.  Were he in another country, he would perhaps be in prison for treason.  And I believe—you know, here‘s what I think, Joe.  I feel that he is self-loathing.  I think he is not only against himself, but against his country.  And I feel that he has lit a dangerous torch that is spreading like wildfire among the cynical and the malcontented. 

I think there‘s reason to be very concerned, because, after all, you know, we‘re in a very dangerous position.  We have terrorists all over the world and those—and perhaps in our neighborhoods.  After all, the fellows at 9/11 were living among us.  And these cell are here, you know.  We need to protect ourselves.  This is a very dangerous time.  I‘m certainly for freedom of speech.  I‘m certainly for all the ideals of our country, our great country, but we have to be very responsible at this time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Jon, Michael Moore said this on his Web site just a few months ago.  Let me read it to you. 

He said: “The Iraqis who have risen up America and the occupation are not insurgents or terrorists or the enemy.  They are the revolution, the Minutemen.  And their numbers will grow.  And they will win.”

What is it about some Hollywood stars and some liberals in Manhattan that they seem to embrace a man like Michael Moore, who apparently has a very radical view about America and world affairs? 

VOIGHT:  Yes, it‘s deeply disturbing. 

I hear very little said about the victims of 9/11, the families that are still in mourning, the women raising their children without husbands.  I‘m concerned for our boys and girls who are our fighting force around the world who are fighting for our country and proud to be doing it.  What is all of this meaning for them?  Do they feel that what they‘re doing is in vain?  It is a very disturbing time.  And this movement is very disturbing. 

Now, why does the Hollywood community—why are they susceptible to this?  Well, they are mostly liberal.  They‘re Democrats.  It is a political year.  They want to see their man in office.  They‘re vulnerable to any tool that can make the other fellow the bad guy and put their man in.  But that‘s a very dangerous—a very dangerous point of view right now. 

I think that it‘s not—you know, I think that there are many—people are confused a little bit.  I think they need education and I think they‘ve been brainwashed a little bit. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to come right back and Jon Voight is going to tell you what he thinks about George W. Bush and whether he supports him. 

That‘s right after this short break, so don‘t go away.


SCARBOROUGH:  Tomorrow night, we‘re going to have an air marshal come on and tell us how politicians in Washington are making it harder to protect you and your family in the sky.  That‘s tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

But we‘ve got more with Jon Voight straight ahead.


SCARBOROUGH:  More now from my conversation with Hollywood legend Jon Voight, living and mingling with the Hollywood elite. 


VOIGHT:  I do agree with you that the liberals have had a—that liberal Democrats have made a great contribution.  And those people who are in that lineage today feel that they are doing the right thing. 

But, as I said, the distortion—when you want to paint everybody else as black, it becomes very difficult to see things as they are. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, going to be starring in the upcoming “Manchurian Candidate.”  You are not going to want to miss that one. 

Thanks so much, Jon, for being with us again in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

It‘s a great honor.

VOIGHT:  Joe, it‘s a pleasure.  God bless. 


SCARBOROUGH:  All right, you know, we have more of our conversation with Jon Voight that we are going to show to you. 

Now, tomorrow night, our exclusive interview with a U.S. air marshal.  He is going to tell us about government policies that make it harder for him to do his job.  And you know what?  His job is protecting you from another 9/11 attack.  You‘re not going to want to miss that shocking interview.  Plus, Linda Chavez.

And I would like to take a moment to thank one of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s interns on her last day, Laura Krepo (ph). 

Laura, thank you for all your hard work.  And we hope you will come back and visit SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  There she is, mom and dad. 

Hey, you know, now, also, if you will—and, Laura, she will appreciate you doing this, because she has got to fly back and forth from Idaho and Washington and all that.  E-mail us on your incidents in the sky.  I fly a lot.  I‘m concerned by a lot of the things I see up there.  If you are, too, e-mail me on how safe our skies are.  You can do that at Joe@MSNBC.com

We would also ask any people that flew on that flight, No. 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles, where the 14 Syrians were running all over the plane and some people believe may have been doing a dry run for a future terror attack, if you were on that flight that the FBI is investigating, that other homeland security officials are investigating, please contact us.  We want to get you on the air and have you tell your side of the story. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


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