updated 8/1/2005 11:10:28 AM ET 2005-08-01T15:10:28

Guest: Evan Kohlmann, Gregg McCrary, Arlene Ellis Schipper, Tim Miller, Beth Holloway Twitty, Simone Weichselbaum, Christina Lewis, Harvey Levin

LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST:  Coming up, police track down all four suspects in last week‘s botched London bombings. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS (voice-over):  Without firing a shot, police in London and Rome arrest the final three suspects.  What can we learn from the four would-be bombers and what will it take to get them to talk? 

Plus, two major rulings today in the Natalee Holloway investigation that could dramatically change the case.  And Natalee Holloway‘s mother joins us. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hopefully, with this new look at the investigation from the beginning, that there will be some answers there that have been overlooked. 

DANIELS:  We‘re live on the scene as authorities keep draining that pond looking for clues. 

Plus officials at FOX launch an internal investigation into allegations “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul had a relationship with one of the hit show finalists. 

The program about justice starts right now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS:  Hi everyone.  I‘m Lisa Daniels, sitting in for Dan tonight. 

First up on the docket, an extraordinary day in the war on terror.  In London, commuters probably breathing a little bit easier when they board their double-decker buses or head into the tube this weekend.  Today police arresting the remaining three suspects in the botched July 21 suicide bombing attacks on London‘s mass transit. 

In these dramatic pictures, you can see how police arrested two suspected bombers.  First they shoot some sort of tear gas into an apartment.  Then they order the men to take off their clothes.  The suspects come out on the balcony where police are finally able to move in and cuff them. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He said to them, why do you want me to come out with just my underwear on?  Like why?  They said you need to come out into the street with your underwear on so that we know you haven‘t got have any explosives. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  Then imagine this in the middle of the arrest, a nightmare scenario.  Two kids come out of their apartment to see what‘s going on.  Police manage to shoe them away before executing the arrest.  Then hours later in Rome, one more key arrest, the fourth suspected suicide bomber, picked up in a joint operation between British and Italian police. 

Now despite all those developments today, the threat of more terror attacks in London still looming large.  Peter Clarke is with the anti-terrorist branch at the Metropolitan Police. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER CLARKE, ANTI-TERRORIST BRANCH:  We must not be complacent.  The threat remains and is very real.  The public must be watch watchful and alert. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  Evan Kohlmann is a NBC News analyst, also a terrorism expert.  Good to have you on the show.  Obviously, Evan, a huge day for law enforcement, but as you heard, British police still warning to be on high alert.  At this point, they penetrated this cell.  Are they worried about the higher ups or are they worried about another cell? 

EVAN KOHLMANN, TERRORISM EXPERT:  Yes.  So far in their investigation, what seems to be coming out is that one bomb maker was responsible for building all of the devices, the devices that were used on 7/7 and the attempted devices that were used on 7/21.  Now looking at the way that this capture went down, the arrest went down, one would think that these people did not have any more explosives on them. 

If they had had explosives, one would imagine anyway, that these people would have taken the same measures that the Madrid bombers did, which is blow themselves up after they were surrounded by police.  They didn‘t.  They all surrendered.  In fact, one of them was even found outside of the United Kingdom, suggesting that they may not have had the capability of blowing anything else up. 

Now that doesn‘t resolve the fundamental issue, which is that there is still a bomb maker running around here, a bomb maker who could very potentially make more devices, recruit more cells and we‘ve still got the same problem.  Again, the root is the bomb maker.  We have to get the head conspirator here, the guy that sent these suicide bombers out.  A suicide bomber is a dime a dozen.  It‘s a terrorist blink.  The really important figure is the guy that has the expertise to build the explosives. 

DANIELS:  Right.  That makes sense.  What about the third arrest today in Rome?  Was this guy just running or do you think he was operating from Rome, which indicates a much larger conspiracy across country borders? 

KOHLMANN:  Well I find it hard to believe that in the days immediately following 7/7 and 7/21 that British authorities would have allowed this person to leave the country without closely monitoring him.  I have a sense that perhaps the Brits were following him to see where he went and see who he got in contact with.  Now there‘s a possibility then Italy, which is a very fertile ground for these groups, particularly North African extremist groups that this individual had supporters, sympathizers, locals that he could get in contact with and hide with.  But apparently, the Italians were on this very quickly. 

DANIELS:  I actually want to ask you something you just said because there seemed to be conflicting reports.  There is some intelligence and some guests on many shows saying London police have been tracking these guys for many, many weeks, if not, months.  Then you hear the other cable guests saying that‘s not true.  It‘s just very good police work.  Which one is it?

KOHLMANN:  Well they haven‘t been tracking these guys for months.  They‘ve only known about maybe one of them indirectly, one of the individuals behind 7/7.  I don‘t think that they knew any of these guys were necessarily potential terrorists.  However, the good forensic work that has been put in since 7/7 has led a trail back to these individuals. 

We‘ve seen, of course, the photos on the CCTV images.  This was forensic work, but the British police did an excellent job of tracking these individuals back.  However, I‘m sure that in the day or so before they moved in for the capture, they were monitoring these guys.  They were seeing who—what phone calls are they making.  Who are they talking to on the phone? 

We know that British police looked at their phone calls prior to 7/7 because we know that they‘re looking at another individual who was just picked up in Zambia, of all places, in southern Africa, Haroon Aswat, an individual who placed phone calls to these individuals, to the 7/7 bombers right before they carried out their act of terrorism.  So we know that the British police are looking at this kind of evidence.  It‘s a fair suggestion to say that they have been monitoring these guys in the meantime and looking to see who they‘ve been talking to. 

DANIELS:  Evan, finally just a bizarre questions maybe to ask you, but I‘m just looking at this video.  Does it strike you as a little bit strange that the cameras were able to capture these guys.  Does it smell to you like a P.R. attempt to show hey, we‘re on this?  We‘ve got these guys. 

KOHLMANN:  Well I mean yes—I mean obviously, the Brits want to reassure the public that they know who they‘re dealing with.  They don‘t want the British public to believe that we‘re entirely hapless here and I think there is some degree of satisfaction of showing these guys faces as being captured in, you know, in broad daylight in London.  It certainly would reassure some of those that ride in London underground everyday.  But again, I think it‘s fair to remind—I know Peter Clarke.  He‘s an excellent investigator.  I think he‘s right.  There‘s a potential for other cells.  We can‘t let our guard down now. 

DANIELS:  All right.  Evan Kohlmann.  Thanks so much Evan for all those insights. 

KOHLMANN:  Thank you.

DANIELS:  And now with the four suspected bombers in custody and many other suspected terrorists under arrests, authorities are hoping to get as much info out of them as possible.  But remember, these people are not so-called enemy combatants.  These are the people who will be tried in British courts, so the question that our next guest will answer hopefully is how will police interrogate them.  The man you‘re looking at, Gregg McCrary, he‘s interrogated dozens of suspects abroad as an FBI special agent, including several suspected terrorists.  The challenge is clear here.  How are you going to get these guys to talk? 

GREGG MCCRARY, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT:  Well the issue is who are they.  And we have to know who they are.  And I think a critical thing that begins to come out now information.  One of the individuals arrested, the guy with the New York sweatshirt on, the picture we see running—Muktar Said Ibrahim is in fact a convicted mugger.  He belonged to a gang of muggers and they were arrested and imprisoned in the mid 90‘s and then released in ‘98.  So I think we‘re dealing with something qualitatively different than hard-core terrorists here at this level.

These may be nothing more than street thugs who—and we see this in these organizations, these sort of psychopathic criminals that join this because it‘s the thrill and the fun of being violent and so forth.  That‘ll make it much easier to turn these guys and to get them to talk.  The other thing I would be a little bit—I‘d offer another perspective on from which your former guest just said about, are these—would these guys have blown themselves up had they had explosives?  I‘m not so sure these are suicidal people either. 

They certainly could have committed suicide by cop.  They could have forced the police to kill them had they wanted to do that.  But the witnesses said they were crying, that they said they were scared, they were afraid they were going to be shot and all of that.  So that all plays very well towards the idea that we‘ll be able to get some information out of these people. 

DANIELS:  So interesting, if you‘re right and these are more of the mules rather than the hard-core terrorists...

MCCRARY:  Right.

DANIELS:  ... who are carrying out the order, al Qaeda‘s tactic has been to get these guys to bond.  We saw the white water rafting photos.  So would it be the approach for interrogators to try to break those bonds by separating them.  Is that what you do, divide and conquer in this situation? 

MCCRARY:  Yes, absolutely.  Separate—keep in mind, their personalities could be somewhat plastic, somewhat moldable.  Again, I go back to this guy Ibrahim who went in as a mugger, got tied up with some of these radical extremists, came out wearing a beard, thinking he was a radical himself.  Now he‘s afraid to die. 

Once he gets in police custody, he may be able to be molded as well and may turn around and give information.  Keep in mind these psychopaths, one of the reasons we target them is that they‘re thrill seekers and they‘re bad guys and so forth, but they only have loyalty to themselves.  There‘s no loyalty to the group or to the mission.  So when you isolate them and they think it‘s in their best interest—their best self interest to cooperate, that‘s exactly what they do. 

DANIELS:  But again, the interrogation guidelines, they‘re pretty strict.  I mean I‘m looking at some of the guidelines and it‘s lighter than the anchor schedule here at MSNBC.  How do you get these people to talk when you have to give them breaks, you have to give them beverages, you have to...

MCCRARY:  Sure.

DANIELS:  ... watch their sleep levels.  How do you break them? 

MCCRARY:  Right.  You can do that, really.  It isn‘t that—it isn‘t all that difficult.  The British police had this pace law in effect.  It‘s been in effect since the 1980‘s and revised in 1995.  And that really doesn‘t inhibit the ability to get information.  I think just the fact that these arrests have been made, that the—this network is sort of coming apart shows that none of that has inhibited the British authorities from doing absolutely stellar police work in this case. 

Keep in mind that brutality doesn‘t work.  That setting aside any of the legal, moral and ethical issues that go to torture and you know and that sort of technique.  The practical reality is that doesn‘t work.  So going the other way doesn‘t necessarily hurt.  You just have to know the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of each individual and then target and capitalize on those.  And that affords you the best opportunity to get good information, get the truth, which is after all what everybody‘s after. 

DANIELS:  All right.  We‘ll talk the table anyway given the laws.  But Gregg...

MCCRARY:  Yes.

DANIELS:  ... McCrary thanks so much for all the insight. 

Now we‘re going to go...

MCCRARY:  My pleasure.

DANIELS:  ... to Aruba where the search continues for missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway.  We‘ll be talking to Natalee‘s mom in just a couple of minutes.  But first, there was two big decisions today, one involving the suspect‘s DNA.  The other one involving whether Joran Van Der Sloot can be subjected to further interrogations.  Now at the same time, a lot of activity outside the courtroom as well. 

Let‘s go to NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski for the latest.  Michelle, what can you tell us? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  These developments are coming out this afternoon from the court of appeals, throwing out Satish Kalpoe‘s DNA sample from evidence.  Judges say prosecutors never had enough evidence against him to begin with to take that sample.  Joran Van Der Sloot‘s sample also thrown out because of procedural errors, but prosecutors can re-file to get a new DNA sample from him and judges ruled that prosecutors can continue to interrogate him. 

Other big news today out at the landfill where searchers have been for two days now with a witness who says that three days after Natalee disappeared, he saw some men arrive in a white pickup truck and take out something that appeared to him to be a body and he says they buried it.  Well he took searchers out to that location.  Searchers then dug down about six feet.

They‘re actually using old newspapers they find to tell them what timeframe (INAUDIBLE).  We‘re told they got to a few days before Natalee vanished but so far, they haven‘t found anything connected to her.  Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway, was also out there all day with searchers.  This place really hasn‘t been searched before because there hasn‘t been a good enough tip to tell people where to begin, but now there is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE‘S FATHER:  It‘s like one of these other leads we‘ve been following up on.  You know we‘ve had everything from bloody mattress to burial to clothing north of the Marriott and of course right now they‘re draining the pond (INAUDIBLE).  So we‘re following up on every lead.  This is potentially a good lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI:  They‘re going to be right back out there tomorrow as well as that drained field that was based on another witness‘ statement.  They‘re going to be using the gas sensors to sense methane gas, also ground penetrating radar to try to see if anything was buried in that area and a couple of other spots on this island—Lisa back to you.

DANIELS:  OK.  Michelle Kosinski, thanks for that report and all your reports during the week.  We appreciate it. 

And coming up, we‘re going to have a lot more from Aruba.  We‘ve been coming to you live from right near the pond that authorities have been pumping for three days so you‘re probably thinking, why is it taking so long to pump this thing.  Well we‘re going to talk to somebody leading the search next. 

And Natalee Holloway‘s mother joins me.  She tells us why she‘s hoping events this week will shed some light on where Natalee is. 

Plus, a new twist on that “American Idol” controversy.  A former contestant says he had an affair with Paula Abdul, one of the show‘s judges.  Now FOX has hired, you‘re going to believe this, an independent council to investigate. 

And police still searching for that missing mother-to-be in Pennsylvania.  We‘re going to get the latest on that search coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Tomorrow will mark two months since Alabama teen Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba and still no hard evidence has been found.  Today a judge issuing two key rulings, one dismissing the DNA samples given by the three suspects last week.  The other one, denying the request from Joran Van Der Sloot‘s attorney to put end to any further interrogations of his client.

Now joining me now to help make sense of today‘s rulings, Aruban attorney Arlene Ellis-Schipper.  Always good to get your expertise Arlene.  You know you‘ve said from the beginning that prosecutors jumped the gun in getting these DNA samples.  Was this sloppy prosecution work? 

ARLENE ELLIS SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  Well, it was not so much sloppy prosecution work.  It was actually sloppy work from the judge of instructions.  What has happened actually, the procedural mistake that he made was that he should have invited the defense to volunteer the DNA sample first and if they did not volunteer, he should have heard the defense on this case. 

DANIELS:  Got it.  So it was really the judge‘s error...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Correct.  Correct.

DANIELS:  So how quickly do you think we‘re going to see the prosecution make another request and obviously, this time they‘re going to allow the defense to make their motion. 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Well, it depends.  For the Kalpoe brothers, actually the DNA sample‘s order was issued null and void decided because there was no grounds for it to take a DNA sample.  So in that matter, I think the prosecution would have to find some new grounds or new urgency to take a DNA sample.  In the case of Joran Van Der Sloot, apparently, there were grounds but that was issued null and void because of the fact of the procedural mistakes. 

DANIELS:  OK, so the judge did rule though that Joran Van Der Sloot will have to submit to some more interrogations.  Does his attorney have to be present during all of those interrogations, Arlene? 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Well he has a right to.  As you recall, there was a ruling that he has the right to be notified of every interrogation and he can be there. 

DANIELS:  Now, how does it work in Aruba?  If his lawyer says to him, Joran, I‘m advising you, do not answer this question.  Does Joran still have to answer it? 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Well, basically, he‘s—the lawyer is allowed to be at the interrogations but not intervene with them.  So I don‘t think they will allow him to give direct instructions during the interrogations. 

DANIELS:  So it‘s very different than U.S. law.  So why is the attorney there?  Just to monitor it?  What‘s the role? 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Yes, well basically I think the defense wants to make sure that the interrogation process goes according to the law.  There has been some complaints by the mother of Joran Van Der Sloot that there have been some strange interrogation techniques used.  Our law is very strict on what techniques can be used or can‘t. 

DANIELS:  What are some of the tougher things that interrogators can use in terms of sleep and sleep deprivation?  Can you give us a quick, quick run through? 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Well basically, it‘s basically just a conversation.  In our law—and that‘s different from what I understand in your law, that‘s why there‘s polygraphs allowed in your law and not in ours.  In our law, the suspect is never an object of investigation.  He is just merely a person, so have you to talk to him and you cannot objectively just hook him up to a machine and just analyze him.  That is not allowed. 

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  Yes, go ahead.  I‘m interested. 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  Another thing that is not allowed, according to the law, he has to - he cannot be interrogated between certain times.  So there is a limit on the amount of hours one can be interrogated.  It‘s not 24 hours.  You cannot interrogate 24 hours.  You have to sleep at night.  Those certain hours are for sleep. 

DANIELS:  Got it. 

ELLIS SCHIPPER:  And there‘s many other techniques.  For instance, what you cannot do is what we call—it‘s called after a town in Holland.  It‘s the Zance (ph) interrogation technique, meaning that the witness will be placed in a room with all pictures of the victim around him.  That is not allowed either. 

DANIELS:  So a lot strict laws.  But what interests me is that his attorney really can‘t intervene.  He can just sit there.  Arlene thanks so much.  It‘s very different than U.S. law.  We appreciate your expertise. 

So meantime, EquuSearch is back on the island.  You‘ll remember that‘s the Texas-based team of volunteers that spent the larger part of the past eight weeks searching the island for clues to Natalee‘s disappearance.  Well now they‘re using ground-penetrating radar to search a landfill that a witness alerted them to. 

Just to give you some perspective, if we have the map, you can see that landfill is about 10 miles from the pond that Aruban authorities are searching right now.  And joining me now, director and EquuSearch volunteer, Tim Miller.  Tim, I understand that yesterday you were actually with the witness searching the landfill.  Tell us about that witness because we really don‘t know a lot about him or her. 

TIM MILLER, EQUUSEARCH VOLUNTEER:  You know it‘s one of them things I wish had never gotten out, but now that it‘s out, you know I guess we can talk a little bit about it.  But you know we talked to the witness quite a bit.  I mean he talked to the FBI.  His—I believe his brother actually went to law enforcement first and talked to them. 

You know his stories are consistent on what he saw.  You know, again, we don‘t want to get our hopes up on anything and set ourselves up for disappointment.  But we‘re doing a lot of digging there.  We‘re going down about six foot.  We are looking for newspapers with certain dates on it to know that we‘re in the right area possibly. 

We‘re not there yet.  It‘s a huge area and you know stuff gets dumped all over that area where it gets pushed, so you know it‘s going to be a long, hard, hot tedious search of sifting through garbage and you know trying to come up with something and...

DANIELS:  Can you be a little...

MILLER:  ... it‘s just another one of them leads that we follow up on. 

DANIELS:  Yes and there‘s so many of them.  Tim, I wanted to ask you, can you be a little bit more specific and share with us what this witness is saying?  Why are you at the landfill? 

MILLER:  Well, apparently he went to the landfill and goes to the landfill to pick up stuff that he can sell, like salvageable things, and apparently saw a vehicle there, described with three people.  Saw a jeep that was parked off some place in the distance, watch, and actually saw a machine come in and claims he actually saw the hair and the breast and the chest of a girl. 

He‘s been scared ever since that and you know he‘s been carrying this around.  I mean he‘s scared for his life right now.  So you know we don‘t see any reason why he should be making this story up. 

DANIELS:  When did he come forward, Tim?  This is all new information. 

Are police treating him as credible at this point? 

MILLER:  I talked with the police commissioner on that and he said that we‘re, you know, we‘re not writing him off.  Once in a while it takes people like this to see something to lead us to something and solve a crime.  So he‘s certainly not being written off on this thing.  You know the police encouraged us to go ahead and search that, so we rented heavy equipment and stuff and we‘re out doing that and so you know, they would have to think there‘s a possibility that he is credible, otherwise, they wouldn‘t be, you know, asking us to do what we‘re doing right now, so...

DANIELS:  Tim, you just sound...

MILLER:  ... we‘re going to continue...

DANIELS:  ... you sound so exhausted.  I feel bad for you because I know that the EquuSearch team has been looking everyone.  You guys were in the park yesterday.  Now you‘re in the landfill.  But I want to be more specific.  Did this witness say that he saw the three suspects on the night or the morning that Natalee disappeared? 

MILLER:  No.  Apparently this was on a Wednesday after she disappeared that he saw them at the dump, 4:30 in the afternoon and claims he did see the body.  He did see the body being buried.  He was scared.  He couldn‘t say anything and you know now, I think there‘s some information that maybe the police have had for a week and a half or so and they kind of wanted to sift through his information to see how credible he was and so anyhow, it‘s you know credible enough to have us out there digging. 

DANIELS:  Well I hope something comes of it.  Thanks for sharing that information.  You know on Tuesday night, we saw authorities starting to dig the pond, pump the water out.  You know I‘m ignorant on these matters, but why is it taking so long?  We‘re looking at that shot of the pond and I was surprised to see how big the pond is.  Again, this is a pond that was filled with water just from the hurricane but it‘s got to be more complex than that.  Why is it taking so long? 

MILLER:  You know there was a lot of water in that pond.  The hurricane put a lot more water into it.  And we got to realize that the ground is saturated so there‘s, you know, a certain amount of water that‘s seeping back into there.  They‘ve got to get that thing about completely dry, which there‘s still going to be a lot of muck and a lot of nasty stuff to tread through. 

We did go around that pond this morning with our methane gas detector.  It did not pick up anything.  I‘m sure we‘ll be out there again in the morning with it and if we need to bring ground penetration unit, you know whatever resources are needed, we‘ll certainly be there and support all the efforts in that, too.  So you know I would think if they turned that pump off right now, tomorrow morning, there may end up—be two or three foot of water back in that thing.  So this is a constant thing that they‘re fighting to get the water out of there...

DANIELS:  Got it.

MILLER:  ... and you know, everybody‘s‘ doing everything right now.  I mean there‘s support for law enforcement and the people on this island and you know nobody‘s letting Natalee be forgotten about.  Everybody wants her located and you know...

DANIELS:  And neither are you Tim. 

MILLER:  ... we hope that happens.  We want to go home...

DANIELS:  I know.  You seem so tired and I know you‘ve been working 24/7 and I know her family and everyone else appreciates it as do we for coming on the show.  Tim Miller, thanks so much. 

And coming up, Natalee Holloway‘s mother talks to me about the latest developments in her daughter‘s case and why she still thinks the lead suspects know what happened to Natalee.  Beth Holloway joins me next. 

Plus they say you decide the results of the FOX reality show “American Idol”, but do you?  Now FOX has launched an internal investigation to find out if one former contestant got ahead by sleeping with one of the judges.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Coming up, it‘ll be two months tomorrow since Natalee Holloway disappeared.  Her mother has been in Aruba ever since her daughter‘s disappearance.  She joins us next, but first the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

DANIELS:  For almost two months, Natalee Holloway‘s family has been on the island of Aruba, searching for their daughter or any clues to her disappearance.  Still, nothing has turned up so far and few questions have been answered.  Earlier today I spoke with Beth Holloway Twitty, Natalee‘s mother, and I began by asking her, how is she holding up through this horrible ordeal. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER:  The last couple of days have really been, they‘ve really been hard.  I—you know I think with all the activity that‘s been going on around this pond, near the Marriott and just—I‘ve just been so preoccupied with that.  It‘s been a struggle.

DANIELS:  Do you still have that surreal feeling, I can‘t believe I‘m in Aruba.  I can‘t believe this is happening.  I can‘t believe I‘m in the middle of this media storm. 

TWITTY:  You know what, Lisa.  That is so funny you mention that.  Because you know had that for so many weeks and I don‘t know, Lisa, I think now, it‘s not surreal anymore.  I just—now, I see the reality of it.  But it took me a long time, Lisa, to feel that it is reality. 

DANIELS:  Well, you‘re working so hard.  You‘re doing this every single day.  Yesterday, as you know, the FBI came back and said that those strands of hair on the duct tape were not Natalee‘s.  Were you relieved? 

TWITTY:  Oh, absolutely.  I was when they first told me.  I really didn‘t say anything.  I think I was just kind of in shock and then I called him right back and of course, I‘m just—oh that was great news to me. 

DANIELS:  Now, we understand that the FBI told you about the results.  Do you feel like you‘re getting enough cooperation from the local authorities, Beth? 

TWITTY:  Well, it was a series of phone calls so I just meant that just happened to be the first and Benvinda De Sousa, our attorney, she called me right off, too.  So I was, you know, the phone calls were coming in. 

DANIELS:  All right.  We‘re glad to hear that.  As you mentioned, there‘s been so much activity this week.  First of all, the draining of the pond, the DNA results coming back.  Also these interrogators from Holland coming.  Are you feeling like things are getting done? 

TWITTY:  Oh absolutely.  I mean I think this week—we‘ve seen a lot of movement.  You know I look out into the field and I see the fire department and you know the investigators.  I mean this is high huge joint effort now and it‘s just incredible to me.  And you know with these professionals that are flying in from Holland, I mean yes, it‘s definitely moving and we are so grateful and oh, it‘s great. 

DANIELS:  Do you think those interrogators will be able to get through to the three suspects and finally get some answers? 

TWITTY:  Well, I‘m very optimistic about it, Lisa.  I mean I am.  I‘m very optimistic. 

DANIELS:  Do you feel like this is a constant push?  You have to push the local authorities to do something.  You‘re there in Aruba really trying to get the word out.  Do you feel like if you were not there, things would not be happening to the degree that they are? 

TWITTY:  You know, Lisa, it‘s not me anymore.  I realize now there‘s just an army of supporters that are carrying me through this.  So I‘m not alone.  So everyone has been instrumental in getting all this accomplished, Lisa? 

DANIELS:  And I‘m sure you‘re getting bags full of letters.  Here at the ABRAMS REPORT Dan gets e-mails every single day, everybody wishing for Natalee‘s safe return.  Does that support help you? 

TWITTY:  Oh, yes.  I mean it‘s just like a huge dose of therapy or medicine for me.  They‘re incredible and they‘re so personal and I just—it‘s absolutely overwhelming. 

DANIELS:  In terms of the witnesses who have come forward in the last couple of days, have you met any of them, Beth? 

TWITTY:  No, I have not. 

DANIELS:  Are you—is there a meeting planned in the future where you might talk to them? 

TWITTY:  No.  You know I just don‘t think that‘s necessary for me to get involved in that.  I think the investigators are handling that quite well so I‘m not going to get involved in that. 

DANIELS:  So what do you want that‘s not being done right now to happen?  Is there something that you‘re pushing for that you‘re not seeing at the moment? 

TWITTY:  You know, right now, Lisa, I can‘t say that.  The main thing that concerns me now is the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot‘s attorney and if they are trying to fight any admissibility of any new information that they gathered to be used in court, that will be what will upset me. 

DANIELS:  How certain are you that the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot still hold the answers to where Natalee is? 

TWITTY:  Well, I‘d also like to mention in that Paul Van Der Sloot also.  I think that they all have involvement and they all have knowledge.  What I need to know now is I want to know the details of the involvement. 

DANIELS:  And what do you think it‘s going to take to get those answers?  It‘s been two months as you are very well aware.  What is it going to take for these two guys to start to speak?

TWITTY:  I‘m just hoping that this fresh new look at the investigation and even going back to as early as the very hourly morning of May 31.  I‘m just hoping that there‘s, you know, some piece or something that‘s been overlooked or something that we can go back and hang on to and maybe help solve this Lisa. 

DANIELS:  Can you give us some sense of what your day is like?  How does it begin?  How does it end?  What are you doing throughout the day because we know you‘re working really hard. 

TWITTY:  Every day is different and every day is long, Lisa.  There‘s no way any of them are the same.  And you know it‘s usually around 2:00 before the day -- 2:00 a.m. in the morning before the day is finished and then you know we try to begin it around 8:00 and so it‘s a brief evening, but there‘s just so much to be done and so much to think about during the day and where are we going next is the only thing I‘m always thinking about, Lisa. 

DANIELS:  And is it mostly working with the FBI and all the other investigators and doing interviews to get the word out?  Is that what the day is mostly comprised of at this point? 

TWITTY:  It is and also, just still thinking and still coming up with new ideas of how to you know carry me through the weekend and what can I be doing next week and is there anything else that we can set into motion.  I mean I‘ve asked friends of mine and supporters is there anything else that you would do if you were in my shoes.  I‘m always looking for any suggestions, Lisa, that anyone has. 

DANIELS:  Well Beth, I know you‘re not in the United States, but I‘m sure you feel the support from here.  Everybody is thinking about Natalee and your family and they just admire how strong you‘ve been throughout all this, fighting to get answers for your daughter.  Beth, thanks so much. 

TWITTY:  Thank you, Lisa. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS:  And I think I speak for everyone that we wish her the very, very best. 

Coming up, new developments in the “American Idol” scandal.  One contestant says his affair with Paula Abdul got him ahead on the show.  Now FOX has hired what they‘re calling an independent counsel to investigate, very official. 

Plus the search is on for Latoyia Figueroa, that missing pregnant mother in Pennsylvania.  A vigil is actually going on right now.  We‘re going to talk to a close relative about the search.  Coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Coming up, family and friends join dozens of Philadelphia police searching for a missing pregnant woman.  We talk to one of her best friends next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Friends and family are joining Philadelphia police in the search for Latoyia Figueroa.  She‘s the pregnant 24-year-old woman who disappeared 11 days ago.  She‘s also the mother of a 7-year-old girl.  Now, police cadets searching for Latoyia in a Philadelphia park yesterday.  They found nothing.  Now the police homicide unit is investigating.  But police do admit that so far they don‘t have any suspects and no evidence that a crime was committed. 

For more let‘s go to Simone Weichselbaum, a reporter with the “Philadelphia Daily News”.  Tell us the latest Simone.

SIMONE WEICHSELBAUM, “PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS”:  Well as you said before, Lisa, homicide detectives are now on the case.  Actually, Philadelphia put one of their top homicide detectives on the case.  He was pulled off another case for a brief period of time last night to interview not the boyfriend, but the child‘s father Latoyia is pregnant with.  Police said he came up clear. 

He was talking for hours.  A crime scene unit around 11:30 last night came to his house.  They tried to find DNA, some blood, didn‘t come up with anything.  Today we also learned that his car was searched by police.  Also another woman he got pregnant a few months before Latoyia was also—her home was also searched, but again police aren‘t finding anything.  She‘s still a missing person.  They‘re baffled on this one. 

DANIELS:  What‘s so funny is that on the one hand, the police are saying there‘s no sign of foul play.  On the other hand, they‘re calling in the Philadelphia Homicide Division.  Is there any explanation for which way this investigation is headed?

WEICHSELBAUM:  Again, they‘re making it very clear, this is not a homicide case, only a homicide investigation because they have actually the SIU Unit, which is Special Investigations Unit.  The detective on the case, he‘s very well known in Philadelphia, a very good interrogator, a very good interviewer and they put him on the case...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  It doesn‘t make sense to me.  I mean they‘re saying there‘s no—is this more routine?  Is it the procedure?  Because...

WEICHSELBAUM:  It‘s very routine here in Philadelphia.  Also when a police officer is shot or might draw fire, homicide is also pulled to case.  Homicides here in Philadelphia are known as the best investigators.  They don‘t just deal with murder cases.  So any high profile crime, sometimes they do ask homicide to help out.

DANIELS:  So what happened for the first 10 days?  All the news media really didn‘t cover this case until 10 days later.  Was anybody looking for Latoyia? 

WEICHSELBAUM:  Well she—her family noticed her gone on Monday.  The police report I believe was filed on Wednesday.  In between, her family started calling around, calling her job.  That all began on Tuesday when she didn‘t come home of course.  Philadelphia police held their first presser I believe on Friday morning. 

Local media did cover that.  My paper, the “Philadelphia Daily News”, did have a story.  Then the next week, we started looking for other angles.  She was still missing.  Police didn‘t have anything new and I was a reporter, I thought well hey, why isn‘t the national media covering this.  So I actually began working on a story Monday looking into why it isn‘t the national media covering it?  Then Wednesday we noticed it was on CNN.  We looked into that some more.  We noticed the “Philadelphia Blogger” (ph) was also interested in the story and to my understanding he contacted the “Nancy Grace Show” and that‘s how the story became growing like. 

DANIELS:  Well it‘s definitely growing now.  Simone Weichselbaum, we wish you the very best in your pursuit of what happened here.  Thanks so much for the details. 

Now, Christina Lewis has actually known Latoyia since she was 5 years old.  She‘s a very close friend and she joins us now.  When did you start getting worried about Latoyia? 

CHRISTINA LEWIS, LATOYIA FIGUEROA‘S FRIEND:  Well I actually found out on Wednesday that she was missing and when I found out she didn‘t show up at work or call her daughter, I knew something wrong. 

DANIELS:  Christina, had Latoyia mentioned having any problems with her boyfriend before? 

LEWIS:  No.  Just the usual you have with, you know, a regular relationship. 

DANIELS:  You just heard the reporter...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  Yes, go ahead.  Go ahead.

LEWIS:  You—I mean, every couple has their own, you know, squabbles or whatever. 

DANIELS:  But nothing out of the ordinary (INAUDIBLE)?

LEWIS:  No. 

DANIELS:  You just heard the reporter saying that police are talking to other men from Latoyia‘s past.  Any of them stick in your mind as maybe being somehow involved in this?

LEWIS:  I mean it‘s a possibility.  You can‘t put nothing past anyone. 

But it‘s a possibility. 

DANIELS:  You‘ve got to have a theory.  You were very close friends with her.  You knew her very well.  What‘s your theory? 

LEWIS:  My theory is it could be anybody.  She could have been picked up off the street.  It could have been her baby‘s father.  It could have been some guy she‘s messing with.  Everything‘s a big question mark.  I don‘t know.  It is a big question mark.  I don‘t know.  They don‘t know.  That‘s why they‘re investigating it. 

DANIELS:  Is it possible that she just needed some time and on her own volition decided to leave Philadelphia?  Is it possible?  You know her.

LEWIS:  No, I don‘t think so.  Even if she did left, she still would have called her child and told her uncle where she was going if she didn‘t tell nobody else or she didn‘t tell me, she would have still got in contact with her daughter to see if she was OK.

DANIELS:  Well it bears repeating again that her boyfriend is not accused of anything at this point, he‘s not a suspect.  But Christina Lewis, thanks so much for coming on the program.  We hope that Latoyia is found safe and sound very soon. 

LEWIS:  Thank you.  I hope she is, too. 

DANIELS:  We‘re praying for her.  And again, if you have information on Latoyia Figueroa you can contact the Philadelphia Police Department.  There‘s the numbers, 215-686-3183 or the Citizens Crime Commission. 

There‘s the number, 215-546-TIPS.

Coming up, there‘s a new independent counsel out there.  This one has nothing to do with Monica Lewinsky.  This one is looking into charges “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul had an affair with a contestant.  We‘re going to get the latest.  That‘s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER LIGUORI, FOX ENTERTAINMENT PRESIDENT:  We‘ve hired an outside counsel to give us a hand with the inquiry.  To us, the credibility of the competition is the single most important thing we have to maintain.  And I think we‘re taking all the necessary steps. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  Sounds very official.  Following the footsteps of Washington politicians, “American Idol” big wigs hired an independent counsel—that‘s what they‘re calling it—to investigate a former contestants‘ allegations that “Idol” judge Paula Abdul acted inappropriately while—with a contestant of the show.  Back in May, this whole thing started. 

Corey Clark told America that Abdul coached him on his singing, gave him money toward his wardrobe.  And he said the two had a sexual relationship all the while, Abdul was judging Clark as an “Idol” contestant.  And at the time the allegations surfaced, Abdul‘s reps called Clark—quote—“an admitted liar, an opportunist.”

FOX Entertainment now says that Abdul, Clark—and Clark was—quote

“corroborating witnesses have been interviewed and that the results of the independent investigation will soon be revealed” but they fell short of saying what will happen to Abdul if Clark‘s allegations are found to be true. 

So joining me now, Harvey Levin, who is an attorney.  Also the executive producer and creator of “Celebrity Justice”.  I‘m curious what your take is.  Do you think that the popularity of the show is going to be damaged if the allegations prove to be true? 

HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”:  Well, I mean my take on it, Lisa, is that this whole—the trappings of independent counsel are really kind of a P.R. move on FOX‘s part.  I mean call it an independent counsel kind of overstates “American Idol”, if you know what I‘m saying.  Nonetheless, it is the most popular show on TV and I think image is everything here.  And they‘re just trying to show, look, those words mean something to America.  So we‘re going to prove to America that we‘re taking it seriously. 

DANIELS:  But do you think the show would just fall apart if Abdul wasn‘t part of it? 

LEVIN:  No, I mean I don‘t think it would fall apart.  I mean I think they could make transitions but I‘m guessing they don‘t want to mess with a formula that clearly works.  And frankly, I mean I don‘t think this means that they will fire Paula Abdul, depending on what the independent counsel says.  I certainly don‘t think Paula Abdul would face any kind of criminal penalty because that‘s not covered under the law in this kind of a show.  So I think this is really a P.R. move and I think ultimately, FOX will take the temperature of the public and if they think Abdul is still salable, she‘ll stay. 

DANIELS:  So is the independent counsel more of a survey to see what America thinks?  You think that what‘s going on here?

LEVIN:  I think that what FOX will do is they‘ll let the independent counsel do its thing so that they can come up with a conclusion and then that conclusion will kind of float as a trial balloon and depending on what America says, I think they‘re going to follow it.  But I think after all of this aired on prime time and all the publicity, “American Idol” still kicked butt.  And I don‘t think there‘s any reason to believe, especially months after the fact that they‘re going to jettison Paula. 

DANIELS:  I‘m having a surreal moment here that we‘re talking about independent counsel terminology and we‘re talking about “American Idol”.

LEVIN:  But that‘s the point. 

DANIELS:  There‘s something wrong with it.

LEVIN:  You see, but that‘s the point.  I mean I think the fact that they‘re using those terms and trying to elevate the importance of all of this, to me kind of says that there‘s some showmanship going on here.  And this really is kind of a P.R. move just to make sure that this franchise is protected. 

DANIELS:  All right.  Thanks so much Harvey Levin.  We appreciate it so much. 

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  All right.  Well we‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  And that does it for us tonight.  Thanks so much for joining us.  Dan will be back on Monday.  Be sure to stay tuned to MSNBC throughout the evening for the latest out of Aruba. 

And for more on the investigation into the newlywed who mysteriously disappeared from his honeymoon cruise, tune into “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”.  That‘s at 10:00 Eastern. 

Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  David Gregory sitting in for Chris tonight.  And we just got word from the Senate that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will begin on September 6.  David will have the latest and we‘ll also talk to White House communications director Dan Bartlett and Senator Trent Lott.

Have a great weekend.

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

END   

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