updated 6/21/2005 10:13:04 AM ET 2005-06-21T14:13:04

Guest: Evan Kohlmann, Richard Wolffe, John Wold, Tom O'Neil

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Where's bin Laden been hidin'?  Check your local friendly sovereign nation.  The CIA director says, “We have a pretty good idea where he is, but have to observe international obligations and fair play.”  Why?  Since when?

If they don't execute Saddam Hussein, he might get a job selling Doritos.  One of the National Guardsman keeping him put in the pokey says the Butcher of Baghdad has a Dorito habit but no longer likes Cheetos or Fruit Loops.

Hope he's paying cash.  Security for 40 million personal computer accounts breached.  What to do if yours was one of them.  Better bring your Visa card, because the hackers don't accept American Express.

And Tom Cruise doesn't accept getting squirted with water by a fake reporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE:  You're a jerk.  Yes, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  I got your top gun right here, pal.

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUISE:  You're a jerk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening from Los Angeles.

To paraphrase the old Voice of Doom that used to precede the late local newscast in 100 different cities, it's 10:00 p.m., do you know where your Osama bin Laden is?

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, apparently our government does, or at minimum it has an excellent idea where he is, again.  But as America and Americans are getting pounded at home and abroad, fairly or unfairly, for Gitmo, the head of the CIA says we can't go and get bin Laden because of the issues of international sovereignty, international obligation, and fair play.

The man invoking the Marquess of Queensberry rules is Porter Goss, the former congressman, CIA agent, and now head of the agency, telling “TIME' magazine, quote, “I have an excellent idea where he is,” unquote.  But doing something about it?  Apparently that's where the excellent ideas run out, and not for the military reasons that sandbagged the last serious chance of capturing him in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan.

Goss thinks there are some “weak links in the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror.”  Specifically, quoting the “TIME” interview again, “When you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.  We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.”

Well, I've been in Los Angeles since Saturday, and I can say with complete assurance that I didn't see him here.

Joining me now from New York tonight, MSNBC terrorism analyst and founder of GlobalTerrorAlert.com, Evan Kohlmann.

Evan, good evening.

EVAN KOHLMANN, FOUNDER, GLOBALTERRORALERT.COM:  Thanks for having me.

OLBERMANN:  OK, have we got something here?  Or is this just the head of the CIA trying to sound tough because there's this new director of national intelligence kind of crowding him out of the picture?

KOHLMANN:  Well, I think he's right.  We have an excellent idea where Osama bin Laden is.  Unfortunately, we've had that excellent idea now for over two years.  He's in a northwest frontier province of Pakistan along the Pakistan-Afghani border, near the area of Wana, where last year you saw major a Pakistani military offensive aimed at capturing senior al Qaeda leaders aimed at driving out remnants of al Qaeda and removing even al Qaeda training camps that have popped up in this area.

Now, even this past week, with the recent arrest in Lodi, California, and the affidavit out there, you saw what Pakistani officials did with any news or any suggestion there were training camps inside of Pakistan still open.  I mean, they let loose, they had a fit.

But the fact is, is that these camps do exist, and everyone knows.  It's the greatest unreported secret in the world that one of the major headquarters remaining for al Qaeda is inside Pakistan.

OLBERMANN:  So why the kid gloves here?  I mean, I'm fascinated that the head of the CIA is using terms like “acceptable to the international community” and “international obligation” and “fair play.”  I mean, the general consensus from all ends of the political spectrum seems to have been, for four years now, that if we could go back before 9/11 and find Osama bin Laden, whoever had the chance should have dropped a bomb on him, even if he was in Toronto or your hometown or my hometown.

Why the nice-nice on this?

KOHLMANN:  Hey, listen, you're right.  President Bush said it best, “Wanted, dead or alive.”  But the fact is, is that in Pakistan, we have a situation that's very complex and potentially pretty dangerous.

We have a government that's really the best of a bad lot.  Pervez Musharraf has shown himself to be a member of the war on terror and a part of the war on terror, but not necessarily an extremely committed member of that alliance.  He's, you know, been responsible for the arrests of various operatives, including most recently Abu Faraj al-Libbi in Pakistan.  Certainly Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's arrest ranks up there.

But fact that these man are choosing to operate inside of Pakistan alone should be an indication of something.  If you look, the most significant al Qaeda arrests that we've had in the last three years have all been inside Pakistan.  And in many cases, we're not even talking about the Pakistani-Afghani border.  We're talking about cities in central Pakistan, like Lahore and Karachi.

Look, the problem is, is this.  If we go after this too aggressively, if we send in U.S. special forces into Pakistan, we endanger causing an Islamic revolution there, in a country that already is known to have atomic weapons.  And that could be even potentially a worse situation than we have now.  Imagine a nuclear-armed Pakistan run by a government extremely sympathetic to that of Osama bin Laden.  It's a problem.

OLBERMANN:  So is that it, though?  I mean, there's one quote that we haven't used from this, Goss's first answer to the question about getting bin Laden was—let me read it exactly—“That is a question that goes far deeper than you know.”  And if you mix that with all this stuff about international obligation, is it limited to the Pakistanis, or is there some additional wild card, like—I'm just making this up—but like, the Saudis know where he is?

Is there some worse dimension to it?

KOHLMANN:  Well, there's been a lot of suggestion lately about Iran.  In fact, someone even wrote a book suggesting that Iran right now is currently harboring Osama bin Laden.  I really think that's mostly just speculation, and unfounded speculation.

Everything we have, including intercepts of al Qaeda operatives, including messengers, mules that we've picked up carrying messages from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders, all of these individuals are being picked up along the Pakistani-Afghani border region, in Waziristan and Baluchistan.

So unless these guys are taking first-class trips from their mules from Iran into Afghanistan, and that's where they're being captured, or the reality simply is that that's where these guys are.  This is where the cerebrum of al Qaeda remains.  And if we want to take real action against it, if we really want to destroy the network, it's inside of Pakistan, where some of the most valuable answers that we can find still are.

OLBERMANN:  And politically, we have to let them, essentially, do it for us.

KOHLMANN:  Well, if we want to be careful.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Evan Kohlmann of GlobalTerrorAlert.com, MSNBC counterterrorism analyst, great thanks for your insight on this one, sir.

KOHLMANN:  Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN:  The big book of Where's Osama not even opened when the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, met with Britain's chief foreign policy adviser only six months after the September 11 attacks.  What they discussed instead, regime change in Iraq, and evidently not for the first time, either.

That, just one of the revelations in what has now turned into a series of so-called Downing Street memos.

Eight more documents from 2002 leaked to the Associated Press over the weekend, further suggesting that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were determined to remove Saddam Hussein from power within weeks or at the latest months after 9/11, despite a near-total absence of even incorrect evidence that might have linked him to the attacks on America, and despite concerns within the British government that the Bush administration lacked a clear and compelling military reason to invade, one memo to the British foreign minister from his political director reading, quote, “U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al Qaeda is so far frankly unconvincing.  For Iraq, regime change does not stack up.  It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam.

Another memo, addressed to Prime Minister Blair himself, showing there were also concerns that little thought was being given to the invasion's aftermath.  “A postwar occupation of Iraq,” it read, “could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.  As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point.”

Joining me from Washington, Richard Wolffe, “Newsweek” magazine's senior White House correspondent.

Good evening again, Richard.

RICHARD WOLFFE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “NEWSWEEK” MAGAZINE: 

Great to be with you again.

OLBERMANN:  Well, now that we have read basically everything in the British cabinet's secret files and except the reasons that Prime Minister Blair and his wife had their late-life baby, is this getting any closer to being the supposed smoking gun about President Bush and Iraq that Mr.  Bush's critics were claiming when the first of these memos leaked?

WOLFFE:  Well, it does depend on what you call a smoking gun.  If you remember originally, a smoking gun was supposed to be a mushroom cloud.  And we're certainly not at that stage now, where a smoking gun is out there that proves conclusively that, for instance, what we're talking about, President Bush and Tony Blair were lying, that they knew this information, the case for war was wrong.

What these memos really show is that the decision was made to go to war before there was a case.  In other words, they were cherry-picking for the argument about war.  And what it also shows most critically now is that there was really totally inadequate planning for the postwar period.

You know, put together, you don't have a smoking gun that says either man lied, but what you do have is a real failure of leadership, a failure to ask the right questions, to do adequate planing, and really, a failure to make the case to the general public.

That's why you hear President Bush now making, I think it's the eighth or ninth version of why the country needs to be committed to Iraq.

OLBERMANN:  Also, regarding the timeline, the first words, at least, that we've seen in that March 14, 2002, note seems particularly relevant.  The British foreign policy adviser, Mr. Manning, writing of his dinner with then-NSA Condoleezza Rice, and it begins, “Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed.”  I mean, that implies, doesn't it, that the U.S. was cherry-picking, shopping an invasion of Iraq, not just in March 2002, but if she had undimmed enthusiasm then, it implies she was shopping, cherry-picking appreciably earlier than March of 2002.

WOLFFE:  Right, absolutely.  What we're seeing here are conversations rise to the surface that were going on before they were committed to paper.  And, yes, absolutely the crucial question is, why did they turn away?  Why did the Bush administration turn away from al Qaeda and go to Iraq?

And what we have here is a timeline that doesn't match up with their public statements at all.  At this period, and through the summer of '02, the public position was, there were no war plans on the desk of the president.

OLBERMANN:  You know both of these political systems.  I assume that you are convinced, as others are, that the memos are authentic, and the conversations are presumably well documented.

WOLFFE:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  But they could not have gotten great distribution even in England.  Whoever is leaking them, are they being leaked to undermine Prime Minister Blair in a very material and immediate sense, to force him to move up the day that he's going to quit and his number-two man, the chancellor, Gordon Brown, becomes the prime minister?  Is that the motive behind this, do you suppose?

WOLFFE:  Well, could be.  At Westminster, where all of London politics plays out, is a notoriously secret secretive place, cloak and dagger politics is just part and parcel of it.  I think the initial memo was certainly designed to disrupt Tony Blair and interfere with his reelection.

What you're seeing now, I think, we could have multiple leakers here, people who want to make the case for a smoother exit from Iraq for British troops.  Some British generals floating the need for British troops to go from Iraq to Afghanistan.  I think there are probably multiple players here, everyone looking out for themselves.

Gordon Brown wouldn't have his hands on these materials.  But Tony Blair may well do, and some of his officials certainly may be trying to protect themselves.

OLBERMANN:  And the move to these latest memos going to the Associated Press, which guarantees it international distribution immediately, particularly to the United States, suggests that there is some intent to make this White House look pretty bad.

WOLFFE:  Well, there have been really a lot of tensions all the way through.  And some of these memos get to that.  But there are tensions on the ground right now, as there have been throughout the whole occupation, about the military tactics, the political future.  I'm afraid there are a lot of British officials in the military and political leaders who feel that they have not been treated with adequate respect, and they haven't got the punching power that they deserve as such loyal members of the coalition.

So there could be a lot of disgruntled people out there who want to leak just for that purpose.

OLBERMANN:  An extraordinary story.  And maybe we haven't seen the last of the documents.

Richard Wolffe, “Newsweek”'s senior White House correspondent, thanks especially for your time tonight, sir.

WOLFFE:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  From the excuses for getting us into the war, to the dictator it put out of business, and into a hidey-hole and into a courtroom, a profile of Saddam in stir, the man, the myth, the Doritos lover?  Crunch all you want.  We'll make more.

And we're only 1,233 days away from decision 2008.  Senator Joe Biden of Delaware has already unofficially thrown his hat into the ring among the Democratic hopefuls.  Watch out for those hair transplants.

From Los Angeles, you are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  “No wire hangers!”  So spoke Joan Crawford to her daughter, at least as portrayed by Faye Dunaway in the movie “Mommie Dearest.”  “No phone, no pool, no pets,” thus sang Roger Miller in the '60s crossover hit “King of the Road.”

And now, no fruit loops.  That, one of the only expressions of anger, defeat, or defiance reported by his guards that they ever heard said by Saddam Hussein.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, we will hear from two of the guards in a moment.  They told their story in the newest edition of “GQ” magazine.  Five soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard, given a 10-month assignment to guard the former Iraqi dictator, which is what guards do, none of them involved in his interrogation, they got to watch him eat, smoke Cuban cigars, and wash his socks himself.

Hussein, they told the magazine, continued to be under the impression that he is the president of Iraq.  As to U.S. presidents, he liked Reagan, Clinton is OK, but he hated both Bush the elder and Bush the current.

But it was the day-to-day, ordinary stuff that made the piece fascinating.  A picture, as writer Lisa DePaolo phrased it, of “an oddly endearing crazy man.”  He loved Cheetos originally, then one day his guards gave him Doritos instead, and, quote, “He never went back.”  Quote, “He'd eat a family-sized bag of Doritos in 10 minutes.”

This stuff about the fruit loops, when offered them for breakfast, he said he wouldn't touch them.  He preferred raisin bran crunch.  No fruit loops, he would say, no fruit loops!

The author of that article, as well as two of the men who actually guarded Saddam Hussein, guarded from a military point of view, not a basketball point of view, spoke with my colleague Allison Stewart earlier today on MSNBC.

I have to go across the street now to stumble through my appearance on the “Tonight” show with Jay Leno.  I can hear Jay calling.  So for more on Saddam and to take COUNTDOWN the rest of the way, here's Alison Stewart at MSNBC headquarters.

Good evening, Allison.

ALISON STEWART, HOST:  And big thanks to you, Keith.

Some of these guys are fresh out of high school, never having left the state of Pennsylvania before, shipping off to Iraq, and receiving one of the most critical assignments any soldier in that country will ever face.

Now, as Keith mentioned, I spoke with two of those Guardsmen, Specialist Shawn O'Shea and Corporal Jonathan “Paco” Reese, as well as “GQ” correspondent Lisa DePaolo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEWART:  Shawn, let me start with you.  The first time you met Saddam Hussein, the first time you what was your first impression?

SPEC. SHAWN O'SHEA, GUARDED SADDAM HUSSEIN:  My first impression, I was nervous and I was excited at the same time.  And we opened the—he opened the door, and he stepped out of his cell, and he came out, and he just walked out to me shook my hand.  It was a real experience.  It was one of—I'll never forget that day for the rest of my life.

STEWART:  And what was he like physically?

O'SHEA:  Physically, he was medium—regular weight, probably about six feet tall.  He had a beard and, like, graying, he was graying hair.  Full head of hair, though.

STEWART:  Paco, what kind of guidelines were you given in terms of interacting with Saddam Hussein?

CPL. JONATHAN “PACO” REESE, GUARDED SADDAM HUSSEIN:  As interacting with him, we were told to strictly keep it on a professional basis, not to initiate conversation with him.  And if he talked to us, try to keep it as minimal and as short as possible.

STEWART:  But I understand he got a little chatty with you guys, right?

REESE:  Yes.

O'SHEA:  Yes.

REESE:  Yes, if we, if we, if he chatted with us, then I guess it was all right, because we can't help that.

STEWART:  And Shawn, there was some bad poetry?

O'SHEA:  Yes, he used to write poetry just about every day.  Like, when he wrote, really wrote a good one, you know, to him, he'd read them to us.  But he tried to translate it into English, but he just—you couldn't understand it.  You'd just kind of tell him, Oh, that was really nice, you know, it was a good poem.

STEWART:  Lisa, let's bring you into this conversation.  As you were reporting this story, what did you learn about Saddam Hussein, from the political to the personal, things that surprised you?

LISA DEPAOLO, “GQ” MAGAZINE:  Oh, all of it.  I mean, he—I—these young men had a picture of him and a sense of him I've never heard before.  And I found that fascinating.  I found this image of him through their eyes to be amazing.  I mean, he was quirky, he was eccentric, he was very polite to them.  And—but he was also, you know, he did some odd things.

STEWART:  Let's talk about some of the details, some of the interesting details.  I understand, Paco, that Saddam Hussein is somewhat of a clean freak.

REESE:  Yes, yes.

STEWART:  What kind of measures did he take?

REESE:  Oh, anything at all possible.  You know, he'd shake your hand, then he'd wipe his hand afterwards.  But he wouldn't do it in front of you to show common courtesy for the fellow man.  And when it came to eating, he wiped his utensils down, his plates, everything.

STEWART:  And I also understand, Shawn, he had a penchant for Doritos.

O'SHEA:  Yes.  (INAUDIBLE) it was—we were told to give him snacks in between meals to keep his weight up.  So one day we gave him Cheetos, and he really liked them, but we ran out, so we switched to Doritos, and he just never went back.  He just loved Doritos.

REESE:  Yes, he'd always tell our other buddy, Jesse, he'd always make a little triangular symbol, and he'd be, like, Dories.  He called them Dories.  So never went back after that.  He likes Cheetos—or Doritos.

STEWART:  Shawn, does he understand what's happened in Iraq at this point?

O'SHEA:  He has a pretty good idea that we're the, we took over and we're there, and you know, we destroyed a lot of things, but it was, you know, it was for a good (INAUDIBLE).  He still has an idea that he thinks he's still the president, thinks he's going to go right back into power after he leaves, so...

STEWART:  And I understand you guys couldn't tell anybody about your detail.  What that was like, Paco?

REESE:  Oh, it was actually a—somewhat really stressful.  My stepmom worried about me a lot.  And I would tell her, Don't worry about me, you're never going to see me on TV.  I can't tell you what I'm doing.  But she would still worry, you know, every time a incident happened, she'd be sending me an e-mail, Oh, I heard about this, I heard about that, were you there?  I'm, like, No.  So it was hard, it was hard.

STEWART:  We thank you all for joining us.  Corporal Jonathan “Paco” Reese and Specialist Shawn O'Shea of the Pennsylvania National Guard.  Big thanks to you.  And also to you, Lisa DePaolo of “GQ” magazine...

DEPAOLO, WRITER:  Thank you.

STEWART:  ... it's a great read.

O'SHEA:  Thanks for having us.

REESE:  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEWART:  From high-value detainees to some hollering.  Veterans of this newshour know that means one thing and one thing only.  Oddball dead ahead.

And speaking of hollering, Tom Cruise did a little of his own on the red carpet in London.  But he didn't yell at me.  Someone from his movie company did that.  How I spent my summer vacation.  Tom, Katie, and me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  I'm Allison Stewart, your humble fill-in host while Keith Olbermann lounges in sunny L.A., just rubbing elbows with the stars on the set of the “Tonight” show with Jay Leno.  But I get to do the strange news and wacky video segment.  So who really got the better end of this deal?  He did.

Let's play Oddball now.

Hoo, doggie.  We begin in Spidey North Corners in North Carolina for the 37th Annual National Hollering Contest.  He ain't no holaback (ph) girl, but dozens of competitors traveled from as far away as the next town over to stand on stage and screech like a stuck pig for a shot at the title of world champion hollerer.

But in the end, six-time champ Larry Jackson took home the trophy, the only man to win that many since the contest began, when some guy learned it's not a good idea to go commando with a zip fly.

OK, now, this is culture.  Basel, Switzerland, it's the international art exhibition known as Art Unlimited.  The big attraction this year was this very special bar of soap, which sold for more than $18,000.  Its creator says it was made with fat removed from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during liposuction.

I'm going to go ahead and repeat that.  Fat liposuctioned out of the prime minister of Italy.  Apparently you're not fully clean unless you're Silvio clean.  Artist Gianni Motti says he got a connection at the clinic Berlusconi reportedly visited, who gave him a bag of just that stuff, and then he made soap, “Fight Club” style.

Motti has offered to DNA-test the soap to prove it's from the prime minister, but buddy, you know, we're going to take your word for it, and keep that stuff away from me.  Just keep on walking.

Elsewhere in Italy, it's been a couple of months on the job and Pope Benedict XVI is knee-deep in his papal duties these days.  Sunday morning was the ceremonial blessing of the Ferraris.  Forty-five sweet Italian rides were driven to St. Peter's Square for the ceremony, where Pope Benedict, who used to drive a Volkswagen Golf, blessed these slightly cooler cars and their slightly richer owners.  Apparently, now that the Ferraris are blessed, their drivers can drive as fast as they want and never wear a seatbelt.  But don't you do that.  Seatbelts good.

John Bolton might need a special papal Ferrari treatment.  That may be the only way he ever makes it to the U.N.  Another vote and even less support for the embattled ambassador-designate.

And news that makes you wonder, 40 million personal accounts hacked into.  Is your credit card or bank account one of them?  We're going to tell you what you need to know.

Now, those stories are ahead, but first here are COUNTDOWN's top three newsmakers of this day.  Number three, Penny Needham of Madison, Ohio.  People found a lot of strange things in their fast food lately, most of them pretty gross.  Needham says she's considering suing the local McDonald's after she broke a tooth on something in her double cheeseburger.  It was a keychain with pornographic images on it.

Segue to number two!  Adult film star Jenna Jameson—she wasn't actually on that keychain, but she probably sells those things.  Today she became the first porn star on the “Forbes” top 100 richest celebrities list.  “Forbes” reports she's doing about $30 million a year in revenue, selling videos, sex toys, cosmetics and a clothing line.

And number one, Walter Hicks Petty of Mount Holly, North Carolina.  He has been arrested and charged with receiving stolen goods, among other things.  Police say neighbors became suspicious when Petty started selling $100,000 worth of chicken parts out of his trailer (INAUDIBLE).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  OK, don't come crying to us about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.  Republican or Democrat or Whig or Tory, chances are, you may be getting tired of hearing about the battle over whether John Bolton should be the next American ambassador to the United Nations.

Our third on the COUNTDOWN—brace yourselves! -- the battle ain't

over yet.  The Democrats have once again blocked the Senate from holding a

final vote on the Bolton nomination.  The technical name for what they've

done is a “no cloture vote.”  Remember that for Trivial Pursuit.  Others

may call it a filibuster.  The reason for the second delay, the White House

still has not turned over the documents about Bolton that the Democrats

have been requesting for the past two months

For a time today, the White House tried to work out a compromise by offering to hand over some of the documents in exchange for a confirmation vote, but the Democrats say that's not really a compromise.  They want to see all the information before deciding if Bolton is the man for the job.

And at this rate, it may be up to the next president of the United States to fill the post of U.N. ambassador.  And if you think it's too early to be talking about the next campaign for president, you haven't been talking to Senator Joe Biden, have you?  The Democrat from Delaware has now gone further than anyone else in his party to reveal his White House ambitions.  Now, it's not a formal declaration, but man, it comes awfully close!  Senator Biden now says he intends to seek the nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “MEET THE PRESS”)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE:  I know I'm supposed to be more coy with you.  I know I'm supposed to tell you, you know, that I'm not sure or I'm not—but if, in fact, I think that I have a clear shot at winning the nomination by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Now, politics getting personal tonight, in the wake of the massive security breach that may have put 40 million credit card numbers into the hands of thieves.  After all, politicians can rock the plastic, too.  You will no doubt remember Friday's news from the folks at Mastercard that hackers had gotten their hands on 40 million card numbers by tapping into the computer system used by a separate company to process transactions: 14 million are Mastercard, most of them, 22 million, are Visa, the rest Discover and American Express.

Maybe one of the stolen numbers belongs to Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.  He is now pursuing legislation to prevent identity theft, saying, quote, “It's the Wild West out there, and the handling of electronic data is weighed so heavily to the convenience of the corporate world at the expense of the consumers.”

Senator Leahy is not kidding.  A key tenet of the Wild West rules are

·         are that rules are for sissies.  Perhaps it should be no surprise that we have now learned the processing company behind the breach—not following the rules.  It wasn't supposed to even have any of that credit card information in the first place, the CEO of Card Systems telling “The New York Times” that his firm was keeping consumer records when it should not have been.  The rules established by Mastercard and Visa say that the company should only process the information before getting rid of it immediately.  Card Systems says it was holding onto the data for, quote, “research purposes.”

Now that hackers have done their part, it's time to do ours.  Here to help us figure out who's really at risk here and what should happen next, John Wold, vice president of Rely Data, a company that helps victims of identity theft restore their identities.  And thanks for joining us, John.

JOHN WOLD, RELY DATA:  Thank you.  Happy to be here.

STEWART:  So if I've heard this report and I read about it on line, should I be on the horn right now, calling the bank that issued my credit card?

WOLD:  I would, yes.  Call them right away.

STEWART:  And what should I say when I get on that phone?

WOLD:  First, I'd ask them whether or not my account number has been compromised in this group.

STEWART:  And then what's next?

WOLD:  Well, if it's been compromised, they should know that.  If it's not, you have maybe a little time to wait until it is.  I would then check my credit reports.  I would also make sure that I check all of the statements from those accounts or any credit card account that I have each month when they come.

STEWART:  So you should probably be doing this for the next few months, the next four, five, six months, I'm taking.

WOLD:  I would go at least six months.  Maybe longer.

STEWART:  All right.  This is an interesting question.  I've got to pick up the phone and call this bank.  Why aren't they calling me, or why isn't Visa calling me or American Express?  Don't they have a responsibility to let us know?

WOLD:  Well, that's a good question.  I think they want you to call them so that they can check to be sure.  I don't think they want to alarm too many people.  I think 40 million people is a big enough number, but I believe they just want to make sure that you call them instead of them having to call you.

STEWART:  So aside from someone going to K-Mart and running up $900 worth of Pampers on my credit card, is there any other big issue that I should be concerned about in terms of this hacking?

WOLD:  Well, in this kind of account takeover, really, what you're worried about is somebody adding charges to your account.  And of course, you can go to the creditor and tell them it's not yours and they'll take it off.  There could be a charge of $50, but typically not.  Other than that, you need to monitor your credit accounts by checking your credit reports regularly.

STEWART:  How often does this stuff happen?

WOLD:  How often...

STEWART:  Does this kind of hacking happen?  Yes, I'm just curious why we haven't heard about something like this before.  Does it happen a lot, and this one is just too massive to ignore?

WOLD:  Well, I think we've been hearing.  Since the beginning of this year over 14 million names have been compromised under a variety of different scams.  This particular scam, where a credit card processor was saving data and made access to those credit card numbers and names, that is a fairly new phenomenon.  I'm not sure that it hasn't been going on.  But quite frankly, a consumer, to really perpetuate identity theft, is going to need a little more information than just the card number and your name.

STEWART:  All right.  So we should just all be vigilant and check our statements.  John Wold, vice president of Rely Data, thank you so much for your time tonight, sir.

WOLD:  You're very welcome.  Thank you.

STEWART:  Coming up, the very latest from Utah on the desperate search to find a kid who disappeared from Boy Scout camp.  He's been missing in the woods since Friday.  And later: If you weren't among the 400 fans with an invitation to the Michael Jackson thank you party, we'll tell you what you missed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  For the second time in less than a year, a kid has gone missing from a Boy Scout camp in the mountains around Salt Lake City, Utah.  Now, thousands of volunteers, including the father who lost his son last year, are desperately trying to prevent another tragedy.  Our second story on the COUNTDOWN, the search for 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins.  Our correspondent Michelle Kosinski joins us live from the command post with details on the investigation.  Fill us in, Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  There's still a few hours of daylight left, and searchers plan on using it.  You know, yesterday, we saw about 3,000 people searching.  Today that number dropped to about 600, but they're making the most of their numbers, as well, using horses, ATVs, a chopper.  Tonight, some will use night-vision technology on foot.

Now, interestingly, the sheriff just told us that even though this area is vast, the area they're really targeting is quite small, just this valley.  That's because they think it's highly unlikely that 11-year-old Brennan could have scaled the rough terrain surrounding it.

They also think they've scoured that area of high probability pretty well, except, he says, for the river, which, being deeper and faster than he thought, he calls a nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  Search-and-rescue teams and 3,000 volunteers continue combing the rugged mountains of northeastern Utah for an 11-year-old who disappeared Friday.

TOBY HAWKINS, FATHER OF MISSING SCOUT:  My greatest plea at this time and the way that we can find my boy is for anybody and everybody to come out and help.

KOSINSKI:  Brennan Hawkins vanished during a Boy Scout camping trip. 

He was last seen taking off some gear near a climbing wall with a friend. 

Authorities say Brennan never made it to his campsite only 200 yards away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This reaches the heart of everybody.  They see Brennan in their son.

KOSINSKI:  On Sunday, searchers hiked through the rough country.  Swift-water rescue teams searched the Bear River about 50 yards from where Brennan was last seen.

DAVE BOOTH, SHERIFF'S DEPUTY:  You know, his dad's out here looking for his son.  I can't think of a worse Father's Day, you know, scenario personally.

KOSINSKI:  This is only 15 miles from where another Boy Scout, 12-year-old Garrett Bardsley, disappeared almost a year ago.  He was never found.  Now, his father helps search for another son in these forbidding but familiar mountains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It opened a new wound.  It's just—it's like a scab that got torn off.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI:  It's been frustrating for everybody that there has been no sign of this boy yet.  Sheriff says, though, they have no intention of stopping the search, but he did say sometimes they reach a level of exhaustion in cases like this that often comes around the 10-day mark.  In the meantime, those searchers will be out in the morning.  We know detectives dedicated to this case, just in case a crime has occurred here, are interviewing Scouts and troop leaders from that campsite where Brennan disappeared Friday evening.  Alison, back to you.

STEWART:  Such a tough story.  Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much, with the latest on the search for Brennan Hawkins from Summit County, Utah.

All right, making a sharp hard turn from the serious news into our selection of celebrity news and gossip in “Keeping Tabs.”  We begin with this weekend's celebration of Michael Jackson's innocence, 400 guests, invitation only, and no pesky press allowed.  The exclusive bash was held at the Chumash Indian casino in Santa Ynez, California, where apparently, too, Jackson is a regular performer.

He, mother Katherine and sister Janet all appeared on stage to thank the assorted guests and fans.  Among them, one of the 12 people who acquitted the pop star last week.  Pauline Coccoz, alias juror number 10, brought her entire family to the bash.  Now, if you remember, right after the trial, she criticized the mother of the accuser, asking, quote, “What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen, you know, just really, volunteer your child to sleep with someone,” end quote.  But no sign of Michael himself Friday.  No one has seen the “King of Pop” in public since he walked out of court a free man one week ago today.

Finally, a last reminder—and by last reminder, of course, we mean second to last reminder—to set your Tivo because Keith is going to be on the “Tonight” show tonight.  And if you don't have Tivo, you can take a short nap after this so you can stay up for Jay Leno.  That's 11:35 Eastern.  It's COUNTDOWN's Keith Olbermann, comedian Martin Lawrence and the sweet sounds of Sugar Ray—that Mark McGrath is so cute! -- plus What'shisname and the “Tonight” show band.  Don't miss it!  There's going to be a test.

OK, so I'm not on the “Tonight” show, but you know, I spent more than a week jetting around the world with Tom Cruise.  I've got to count for something.  So there.  My summer vacation next, and Tom's red carpet surprise.  Stand on by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  So I just got back from this whole Tomcat Cruiseapalooza thing.  And for those of you who need a translation, that would be the press and premiere jaunt across Asia and Europe with Tom Cruise.  And halfway through, he was joined by Katie Holmes.  This is all for his upcoming film being, “War of the Worlds.”  Now, by the end of the week, it was movie schmovie.  All anybody wanted to know about was the big wedding engagement at the Eiffel Tower last Friday.

Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN: Tomcat Cruiseapalooza.  Write it down because this thing is not over yet!  Now, if you could letter in movie promotion, Tom Cruise would be captain of the team.  However, he might not be so eager to play ball and answer every question after getting hit in the face with water squirted from a fake reporter's fake microphone yesterday at the movie's London premiere.  But say what you will about the intensity of this current media blitz, it does nothing to disprove the adage “All publicity is good publicity.”

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  Tom Cruise and fiancee Katie Holmes are in the home stretch of his world cruise to promote his film, while hers became the number one movie in the States.  “Batman Begins” opened the same day as his Paris proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE, “WAR OF THE WORLDS”:  Yes, I proposed to Kate last night.

STEWART:  Their involvement was made public just two months ago.  For many, she went from “Katie who?” to Katie Holmes.

KEN BAKER, “US WEEKLY”:  She was a very low-level celebrity.  The second she's with Tom Cruise, she's an A-list star that the world is talking about.  It certainly helped the promotion of “Batman.”

STEWART:  But Cruise's well-honed publicity machine faced an unwelcome surprise.

CRUISE:  I'm here giving you an interview and answering your questions, and you do something really nasty.

STEWART:  Last night, at the London premier of “War of the Worlds,” a television crew from a British comedy show squirted water right in his face.

CRUISE:  You're a jerk.

STEWART:  Cruise expressed anger but did not lose his temper.  Four men were charged with assault.  Recently, journalists have questioned Cruise's control—the couch-jumping, the disapproval of Brooke Shields's use of antidepressants, a very public May/December romance.  But could this all work in his favor?

BAKER:  No matter how much you flaunt your relationship and how much people might think it's weird, they still want to go and see your movie.

STEWART:  Consider last week's number one movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have been everywhere in the press as a result of gossip about a romantic relationship.

BAKER:  Right now, Hollywood stories are two for two now, using personal lives of their stars to sell their movies.

STEWART:  If “War of the Worlds” is a success when it opens next week it may be good news/bad news for celebrities, if personal lives become tied to movie profit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Fiancee Katie Holmes's “Batman” movie grossed a fairly impressive $71 million in the past five days.  By all accounts, Cruise's relatively reserved red-carpet reaction should do nothing to stand in the way of the couple's ever-burgeoning box office appeal.  Maybe Bert Reynolds should have read that playbook before the premiere of his movie, “The Longest Yard.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tell us a little bit about the movie.

“BURT REYNOLDS”:  You don't know anything about the movie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

“BURT REYNOLDS”:  Well, then, what the hell are you asking me for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to get your point of view.

“BURT REYNOLDS”:  Did you see the original?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I haven't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  It's all in the wrist.  It's all in the wrist.  Celebrity smackdowns and red carpet rants the special purview of our next guest, “In Touch Weekly” senior editor Tom O'Neil.  Tom, great for you to join us.  Thanks so much.

TOM O'NEIL, “IN TOUCH WEEKLY”:  Thank, Alison..

STEWART:  All right, let's start with this.  How much pressure is there really on the red carpet for an actor or actress?

O'NEIL:  Well, they are pressured, of course, to talk to the press, but most of them just run by.  What's interesting about Tom Cruise is he doesn't.  He likes to stay out there and gladhand everybody, to the annoyance of the people who go to premieres.  I remember being at the premiere in New York for “Collateral,” for example.  We're all in the theater, in our seats for 45 minutes.  Tom was still out pumping hands on the red carpet.  I don't think he's going to be doing that much more.

STEWART:  He spent about two hours in Tokyo.  I call it a victory lap. 

He just kept going around and around, signing autographs.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  It was pretty incredible.

O'NEIL:  Yes, he really likes the people, and he likes the crowds, but that may be curtailed soon.

STEWART:  Let's talk about this last incident a little bit.  You know, the “Oprah” situation, jumping up and down on the couch, the interview he gave “Access Hollywood”—a lot of people have said that maybe he's lost control a little bit.  But then today, a lot of people I talked to thought that he showed great restraint with that sort of “Punk'd” thing that happened to him with this guy squirting him with the water with the microphone.  What do you think?

O'NEIL:  I think he showed appropriate, you know, cool at first.  He kind of chuckled.  And he then started attacking the guy, though, which is what was so bizarre.  He starts calling this guy a jerk.  He starts saying, Do like to belittle people?  No, let's use your “Punk'd” example here, Alison.  Had this been Ashton Kutcher punking him, do you think Ashton would have been hauled off by the police?  Tom prosecuted these people on assault charges.  This is a guy who if you say, Gee, Tom might be gay, lands on you with a—you know, a battery of lawyers with a $100 million lawsuit.

STEWART:  I want to talk about with this whole Tomcat thing.  One of the most interesting questions came up in Germany by one of the German journalists was not by about whether this is the real deal, because everybody's questioning that, whether this is publicity or not, but whether or not they're exploiting their relationship.  What do you think about that idea?

O'NEIL:  Well, I think they can't help to, if it's there and if it's new and it's in our face, whether we like it or not, due to Tom.  Yes, I think that's a fair accusation.

STEWART:  And where's the line?  When is it appropriate and what's inappropriate, so far as a celebrity letting his guard down?

O'NEIL:  Yes, this is what we're seeing that's crossing a line here.  Tom is just going all over the—crossing the line extremely here, making out with Katie, you know, in every inappropriate setting.  It's like he wants this too bad.  He wants us to care too much.  What we're seeing is a superstar in his 40s who desperately wants to matter.  I think one of the most interesting things about “War of the Worlds” is that the poster does not have Tom's picture on it.  This is the first time in his career that that's happened.

STEWART:  And actually, I saw him smooch up on her quite often out on the road.  It was kind of—it was interesting.  I felt a little uncomfortable one time.

O'NEIL:  And that was off camera, wasn't it, when he was doing that...

STEWART:  It was, yes.

O'NEIL:  See, this is shocking.

STEWART:  It's a little bit—it's a little bit odd.  But here's the question.  He doesn't really need the publicity.  His movies make a ton of money.  Why would he do this?  Quickly, 10 seconds.

O'NEIL:  Nicole Kidman.  Imagine how he feels.  The world cares so much about her and her love life, and we've stopped caring about Tom's.  He wants that to change.

STEWART:  Tom O'Neill, “In Touch Weekly,” we thank you so much.

I'm Alison Stewart, in for Keith Olbermann.  He's on the “Tonight” show tonight.  Did we mention that?  Make sure you watch it.  Have a good night.”

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

END   

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