updated 11/9/2005 8:48:31 AM ET 2005-11-09T13:48:31

Guests: Howard Fineman, Andy Borowitz

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

Scooter Libby.  He goes from being indicted to demands that he not be pardoned in just 12 days.

And the minority party takes a chunk out of the vice president, too. 

Tonight, when Democrats attack.

And, when White House staffers go to ethics class.  Coverage courtesy of Puppet Theater.

The story behind the story of Scooter Libby‘s novel from humorist Andy Borowitz.  Yes, there‘s a lot of sex involving animals in it, but people are paying $700 for a copy.

And then there are the toilet updates.  These cheerleaders have been fired, although they may also have been exonerated.

And the They-glued-me-to-the-seat guy, allegedly that wasn‘t the first time that had happened to him.  How could somebody‘s luck be that bad?

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

Good evening.

Even before entering the White House, the current presidential administration made a point of promising to give the nation a refresher course on ethics and good conduct, in contrast to the off-and-on record of its predecessors.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, as the old joke goes, sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you, as Scooter Libby could no doubt write.

It also proves that sometimes you teach the refresher course on ethics, and sometimes the refresher course on ethics is taught to you.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, it‘s not just the ethics classes that are to begin inside the White House, but some free lectures offered today by the Democrats.

If you were wondering when they were going to put all the recent events in a bag and throw them at the Bush administration, the answer was today, the Senate minority leader, flanked by two fellow Democratic senators, coming to media cameras with a dual purpose, to ask President Bush not to pardon Scooter Libby, and to accuse the vice president of being knee-deep in that CIA leak scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER:  There‘s a dark cloud hanging over the White House.  It‘s really a storm cloud.  The vice president, who gets his authority from the president, sadly is in the middle of that storm.

The manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq, Vice President Cheney‘s involved in that.  The White House energy policy that puts big oil ahead of the American consumer, Vice President Cheney is behind that.  Leaking classified information to discredit White House critics, the vice president is behind that.  Halliburton contracting abuse, the list goes on, and it goes on.

Certainly, America can do better than that.  We‘re demanding President Bush make a commitment to the American people that he will not pardon Scooter Libby, who is involved in this mess, or will he pardon anyone involved in this mess.  Unless a pardon is ruled out by President Bush, the American people will certainly not learn the truth.

No one is above the law, Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney, or President Bush.

Now, remember, we have a moving target here.  First of all, the president said anyone involved with this will no longer be in the White House.  But then he changed when he found Rove‘s involvement, and I assume Libby‘s involvement, he knew by that time.  He said, I will get rid of them when they‘re convicted of a crime.  So we have a moving target here now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator is a ball of fire, is he not?

No formal rejoinder yet to that challenge from either Senate Republicans or the White House.  But hours earlier, Senator Reid‘s counterpart, the majority leader, had teamed up with the House speaker to announce their own CIA leak investigation.  They wrote to the Senate Intelligence Committee, asking it to find out who told “The Washington Post” that the CIA was running secret interrogation prisons at so-called black sites.

NBC News has learned that the CIA beat them to the punch.  It has asked the Justice Department to investigate if any classified info was improperly released.

Back to the politics.  Senators Frist and Hastert—Senator Frist and Speaker Hastert delivered their own veiled commentary about that other CIA leak.  Quote, “The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen.”

Hadn‘t heard.

An investigation into that leak, though, may not have the results Republicans might be expecting.  On its Web site this afternoon, “The Los Angeles Times” quoted Senator Trent Lott as saying the secret prison system was discussed last week during the Republican policy luncheon the day before the “Washington Post” story appeared.  Lott thinks it may have been Republican senators who leaked it.

One of the implications of the black-site story is the fact that such places made torture so much more feasible.  Yesterday, the president announced publicly and unequivocally, quote, “We do not torture.”  Yet the vice president is reportedly pressing the Senate for exemptions, for the CIA, at least, in an antitorture bill, a discrepancy the White House press corps kind of picked up on this afternoon, and the press secretary kind of had to try to defend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HELEN THOMAS, UPI:  Can we get a straight answer?  The president says we don‘t do torture.  But Cheney (INAUDIBLE)...

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  It‘s about as straight as it can be.

THOMAS:  Yes.  But Cheney...

MCCLELLAN:  Yes, thank you.

THOMAS:  ... has gone to the Senate and asked for an exemption on (INAUDIBLE), you know, he...

MCCLELLAN:  No, he‘s not.  You—are you claiming that he‘s asked for an exemption on torture?  No.  That‘s...

THOMAS:  He did not (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  That is inaccurate.

OLBERMANN:  Are you denying everything that came from the Hill in terms of torture?

MCCLELLAN:  No, you‘re mischaracterizing things.  And I‘m not going to get into discussions we have...

THOMAS:  (INAUDIBLE) a straight answer for once.

MCCLELLAN:  Let me give it to you, just like the president has.  We do not torture.  He does not condone torture, and he would never...

THOMAS:  (INAUDIBLE) asking for exemptions.

MCCLELLAN:  Let me respond.  And he would never authorize the use of torture.  We have an obligation to do all that we can to protect the American people.

THOMAS:  That‘s not the answer.

MCCLELLAN:  We are engaged...

THOMAS:  (INAUDIBLE) -- is the administration asking for an exemption?

MCCLELLAN:  I am answering your question.  The president has made it very clear...

THOMAS:  (INAUDIBLE), yes or no?

MCCLELLAN:  ... that we are going to do --  No, you don‘t want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen.

THOMAS:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  And I‘m going to tell them the facts, (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why does the CIA need an exception from the military?

MCCLELLAN:  David there—let‘s talk about people that you‘re talking about who have been brought to justice and captured.  You‘re talking about people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, people like...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... Abou Zubayda --  No, this is is...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... this is facts about what you‘re talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCLELLAN:  Now, the people that you‘re bringing up, you‘re talking about in context, and I think it‘s important for the American people to know, are people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abou Zubayda, Ramsi ben al-Shibh.  These are...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

MCCLELLAN:  These are dangerous killers, (INAUDIBLE) the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you want to reserve the ability to use tougher tactics with those individuals who you mentioned?  I...

MCCLELLAN:  Well, obviously, you have a different view from the American people.  I think the American people understand the importance of doing everything within our power...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... and within our laws...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... to protect the American people.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But what is it, what is it that you want...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... what is it that you want...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... the CIA to be able to do...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... that the U.S. armed forces are not allowed to do?

MCCLELLAN:  Yes, I‘m not going to get into talking about national security matters, Bill.  I don‘t do that, because this involves...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This would be the exemption (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  This involve information that relates to doing all we can to protect the American people.  And if you have a different view...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... obviously, some of you on this room...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... in this room have a different view.  Some of you on the front row...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... have a different view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... not necessarily.  We simply are asking...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... a question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE), so then why is the vice president continuing to lobby on this issue, if you‘re very happy with the laws on the books?  What has changed?

MCCLELLAN:  Again, you‘re ask (INAUDIBLE) -- if you want to ask questions of the vice president‘s office, you‘re feel, feel free to do that.  We‘ve made our position very clear...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You said that we should direct questions to the vice president‘s office.  And presumably, the vice president is operating with the full knowledge of the president, in terms of lobbying to get an exemption for the CIA.  Are you saying that the vice president‘s office is operating independently?

MCCLELLAN:  What Helen was asking earlier was that the exemption for torture.  And that is just a flat0out false characterization.  No one‘s asking for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So what is the vice president lobbying for, and is he doing it on behalf of the White House, or is his office operating (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  Again, I just said, we‘re going to continue to work with Congress.

Go ahead.

THOMAS:  Why don‘t you answer the question on the exemption?

MCCLELLAN:  I just did, Helen.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... taboo to answer?  You blanketly...

MCCLELLAN:  Go ahead, Bob.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... cover the White House.  The vice president‘s office is under the auspice of the White House.  Why can‘t you just—why can‘t you answer...

MCCLELLAN:  I‘m not going to get into all the discussions we have with members of Congress.  If they want to add additional information, you‘re welcome to contact their office as well.

Go ahead, Bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, they don‘t answer like you do.  You are at the podium.  We need to hear from you.  You...

MCCLELLAN:  And I just made it clear what our views are...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE) all others.

MCCLELLAN:  There‘s a statement of administration policy that has been put out, packs in the first place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE), the vice president wants torture. 

Which (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  Wrong, that is absolutely false.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, then tell us, explain (INAUDIBLE) to the (INAUDIBLE).

MCCLELLAN:  The president‘s made it very clear that we do not torture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, then, what‘s the vice president doing?

MCCLELLAN:  I just told you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, you have not.

MCCLELLAN:  If you want...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE), I‘m not trying to be (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  No, I‘m not going to let you—no, you are mischaracterizing...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  ... what this is about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  It‘s put in the statement of administration policy.  

April...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Give us the statement.

MCCLELLAN:  ... I—look, you can keep showboating for the cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  But we‘ve made clear what our views are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)...

MCCLELLAN:  Go ahead, Bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Torture, indeed.

The reaction to all of this presently from Howard Fineman.

Meantime, there are those White House ethics courses.  They started today.  Karl Rove is expected at one tomorrow.  All 3,000 administration employees will be required to attend.  Not the president or the vice president.  We have no idea what they will actually look or sound like, so we must turn instead, and again, to our new form of journalism to cover stuff that there‘s, A, no access to, B, no TV of, C, no facts available about.

Next, the first episode of White House Ethics Class Puppet Theater.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Good morning, class.  As you know, I‘m Andy Card, White House chief of staff.  And this is the first of our refresher courses in ethics, ethical conduct, and...

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  Quiet, quiet back there.  Karl Rove, is there something you want to share with the whole class?  I didn‘t think so.

Now, Richard Painter (ph) from the counsel‘s office will be conducting the classes, and I‘ll be attending just as Justice Miers—I‘m sorry, Judge Miers—I‘m sorry, Harriet Miers will be attending.

But we thought we‘d start with a guest lecturer today.  If you‘d come in, please.

OLBERMANN (as Bill Clinton):  Hey, how are you doing?  Surprise!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The president and vice president were excused from class, but not, today, excused from a day of bad headlines.  As promised, Howard Fineman on the siege at the White House.

And a “DATELINE” report, as shocking as it revolting, a hidden camera investigation exposing child sexual predators.  And what one does after he is caught simply defies belief.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Since we are so fond of counting on this show, here goes.  One, the Democrats go after the vice president.  Two, the media goes after the press secretary.  Three, the Republicans go after a leaker, who may be in their own party.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, all this as the White House begins its refresher courses on ethics.

Let‘s bring in “Newsweek” magazine‘s chief political correspondent, Howard Fineman.

Good evening, Howard.

HOWARD FINEMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, “NEWSWEEK” MAGAZINE: 

Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Last Tuesday, the Democrats closed down the Senate.  Today, this Tuesday, slings and arrows against Mr. Libby and the vice president and the president, by extension, anyway.  Is this going to be a weekly thing?  They have something planned for next Tuesday?  Should I bring my popcorn?

FINEMAN:  It sure looks like it.  I was up on the Hill today, and actually was in Harry Reid‘s office not long after they popped all this.  And they were very pleased with what they were creating.  It‘s sort of like tear-‘em-up Tuesdays.

And part of it is the rhythm of life on Capitol Hill.  The senators go away for the weekend, they do their fundraising, they go back to their states, they do whatever they do, and they come back Monday night, and they‘ve digested the weekend talk shows and the Monday papers, and they‘re looking for something to go after.

And the Democrats are on the attack now, in part because the administration just isn‘t dominating the news in any good way, the way they used to be.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s sort of frightening, as a side note, to think that that was Senator Reid not tired, (INAUDIBLE) at his apex of the week.

But is there—do they have a plan here?  Or is this scorch-earth policy from the Democrats?

FINEMAN:  I think they have a plan.  And I think what the plan is, a new form of wedge politics.  You remember that term, wedge politics?  Well, that was a tactic invented by the Republicans, by Lee Atwater and others.  And the idea there was to divide the constituencies of the Democratic Party, set, for example, the labor unions against the African-American community on something like affirmative action.

Well, this is kind of wedge politics inside the Beltway.  The Democrats‘ aim is to divide the White House itself and the Republicans inside the Beltway.  So they want to set Bush against Cheney.  They want us to get—set Rove against Bush.  They want to set the Hill against the White House, and Republicans on the Hill against each other.

That‘s why Reid was out there, talking about the focus on Cheney. 

They want to make the White House either defend Cheney or give up Cheney.  So it‘s a new kind of wedge attack.  And I think they‘re being pretty successful with it right now.

OLBERMANN:  Well, in part, if that‘s true, certainly it‘s in part because they‘re—they seem to be getting the cooperation of the Republicans.  I mean, the response today was, Let‘s find out who let “The Washington Post” in on those secret CIA prisons, particularly the repurposed Soviet gulag we happen to be using.

I mean, do they, A, really want to be backing some sort of environment in which the words “CIA leak” and “investigation” are all linked, and in the news, and B, based on what Senator Lott said today, what‘s the point in starting an investigation, a high-profile investigation, in which you wind up finding one of your own leaders?

FINEMAN:  Well, yes.  I mean, I think the Democrats win doubly on that, for the reasons that you said, especially if Trent Lott is right, and it was a Republican who is the leaker.  And, you know, one of the standard rules of political investigations is, you want to know what the conclusion is before you start it, if politics is your aim.  So before they sent that letter, Hastert and Frist might have considered who was really at fault.

The other part of it is, the mere fact that the Republicans in their closed policy luncheon were discussing this topic is another benefit for the Democrats, because it shows that the Republicans, in private, were concerned about this before it ever hit print.  So they benefited all the way around.

And the other way that they‘re succeeding here is that George Bush is

playing right into their hands.  George Bush is a loyalist.  He‘s drawn the

circled the wagons, as we say.  He‘s not about to abandon Dick Cheney. 

He‘s not about to abandon Karl Rove, unless Karl Rove is indicted.

And that‘s just the kind of mentality that the Democrats are going to try to make George Bush pay for.

You have a situation today where “The New York Times” editorial page is basically calling for Bush to freeze Cheney out.  You can see the Democrats are going to be pursuing that theory from now through next year‘s election.

OLBERMANN:  The other thing here today, the Scott McClellan press briefing, it‘s hard to tell if that was about torture, or was simply about torturing him, or he was trying to torture Helen Thomas, I mean, it was (INAUDIBLE)...

FINEMAN:  Or watching it was torture (INAUDIBLE).

OLBERMANN:  Yes, there was a lot of torture involved here.  There seems to be this disconnect between the president‘s statement, We do not torture, and whatever the vice president‘s efforts are.  We don‘t know what they are.  They presumably are to keep a little corner of the world safe for, let‘s call it, extreme interrogation.

FINEMAN:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  How is the White House going to get around this, other than in this kind of, just, let‘s everybody pick up Scott McClellan and push him against the brick wall technique?

FINEMAN:  Well, they‘re not going to get around it that way.

But what I found significant about that exchange, and you ran a lot of it here tonight, is when Scott McClellan basically said to the people asking the questions in the front row, You don‘t represent America.  You don‘t know what America cares about.  You don‘t know what America thinks.  Because if you did, you would basically—and this was the subtext—understand that we need to take these extreme measures against these bad guys.

That kind of attack on the press corps from the podium, from the press secretary, is unusual.  Now, a lot of other conservatives do it.  Rush Limbaugh makes a living doing it.  I haven‘t heard Scott McClellan do that in that way.  And that was a faintly Nixonian echo that I heard there that should be troubling to this White House and to George Bush, because if he‘s going to try and defend his policies by saying that his critics aren‘t American, then that way lies more political trouble than he‘s already in, I‘m afraid.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, if 79 percent of the people in this Pew poll say that the Libby indictment is of some importance to the nation...

FINEMAN:  Right, exactly.

OLBERMANN:  ... the number for Clinton-Lewinsky was 65 percent, who‘s American and who‘s not is—that‘s a real tough sell.

FINEMAN:  It‘s a dangerous—that‘s a dangerous road to go down. 

It‘s the first time I‘ve heard McClellan do it.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, well, you can imagine he might be a little frustrated on that job.

FINEMAN:  He might, he might.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman of “Newsweek” and MSNBC, as always, sir, great pleasure, and great thanks.

FINEMAN:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Back at the ranch, in the president‘s home state, you call this a stampede?  I‘ve seen better stampedes in the lines at the doughnut shops.

And fired by their team, the two cheerleaders in the one bathroom stall may have been acquitted of fooling around.  That, and why a third cheerleader has been suspended.  The big news coming up on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We‘re back, and we pause our COUNTDOWN of the day‘s so-called real news for the segment of stories we know you really care about, news about cows and monkeys and stuff, and drunken mooseses.

Let‘s play Oddball.

We begin in Dallas with an Oddball traffic report.

And it‘s business as usual in the downtown area, only slight delays as hundred of cattle make their way down Main Street, 100 longhorns cruising through downtown Dallas to kick off this week‘s Interstate Batteries Texas Stampede.  A sponsored stampede?  Nice.  They should just let corporations tattoo us and get it over with.

Back to my point.  The steers in today‘s cattle run barely broke a sweat as they moseyed along.  It‘s like the running of the bulls, only on Prozac.  Officials are confident these bulls will be friskier in time for the weekend‘s big rodeo, because they have ways of making them jump around.

To Prague in Czechoslovakia, where the country‘s newest reality show combines the voyeurism of Big Brother and the dialogue of “The Osbournes.”  It‘s called “Discovery,” and it stars all the gorillas at the Prague Zoo, 16 cameras watching their every move, 24 hours a day.  See the monkeys play, see the monkeys eat, see the monkeys try to escape and kill the zookeeper.

Producers say they‘re trying to raise awareness about gorillas.  And who knows?  Maybe some of the late-night scenes in the gorilla cage will inspire another Scooter Libby novel.

San Diego, this guy has real talent, an orangutan.  Yes, we know they‘re not actually monkeys, but neither were those gorillas.  Save the e-mails, please, Mrs. Goodall.

Janet Satoo (ph), or Janie Satoo and Violet, San Diego Zoo‘s resident artisans, have produced a few masterpieces, which the zoo is auctioning off this week for monkey charities.  The work, particularly those by master artist Janie, shown here eating paint.  You know these artists.  The works are expected to fetch hundreds of dollars.  Get them at bargain prices now.  They‘ll be worth a fortune when these monkeys have passed away.

For a week, America has grimaced and/or laughed about the man suing Home Depot for a Super Glue incident in its bathroom.  Now a new report that it‘s not the first time he has told somebody this has happened to him somewhere.

But up next, sex predators on the Internet, a “DATELINE” investigation that needs no hyperbole here.  Grown men, going to a house expecting to meet an underage teenager there for sex.

These stories ahead.

But first, here are COUNTDOWN‘s the top three newsmakers of this day.

Number three, residents at the old folks‘ home in Sibbhult, in southern Sweden.  They were attacked over the weekend by two drunken moose.  Apples found outside the home had fermented.  The moose, a mother and a calf, ate them, got blitzed, and broke into the old folks‘ home, twice.  They eventually scared the drunken moose away by—I don‘t know, threatening to treat them like they treat the residents?

Number two, Andre M. Ellis of Hambridge (ph), Pennsylvania.  We have another remorseful bank robber.  He handed the teller a note asking for money and asking for God‘s forgiveness, and explaining he wouldn‘t have been doing this if he hadn‘t been in real trouble.  Ten minutes later, they found Mr. Ellis knocking on the bank‘s window, trying to give back the $1,100 he stole.

And number one, the very talented Tony-winning actress and singer Sutton Foster.  She was rehearsing a number in the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” scheduled to open in L.A. next week, when she fell backwards and broke her wrist.  She‘ll be in a cast for three weeks.  The song she was singing at the time, “I‘m an Accident Waiting to Happen.”  Wow, talk about really getting into a role.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  That pedophilia is an extraordinary and heartbreaking problem in this country cannot be denied.  Even if it were not truly so, you would get that impression anyway from the way TV news treats the subject.  But in our third story in the COUNTDOWN, sometimes what we can allow you to witness needs no exaggeration, no hype, and no scare headlines.  It is all too straightforward and all too real.  NBC‘s “DATELINE” program enlisted the help of a group called Perverted Justice that posed as teens in online chat room and then set up sexual encounters at this house in suburban Washington. “DATELINE” wired that home with hidden cameras. 

Our correspondent is Chris Hansen. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HANSEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Meet VAMale692005.  He is 28 and thinks he is talking to a 14-year-old.  He chatted online for more than a week with our decoy and slowly introduced more and more depraved sexual requests.  He even says he wants to involve a dog. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  As soon as the guy said, hey, maybe I would want to do this, and he was not immediately slapped down—it is testing the waters. 

HANSEN:  Was this all talk?  Or would this man actually walk into our kitchen?  That‘s him coming in the door. 

(on camera):  How are you doing? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How are you doing? 

HANSEN:  Why don‘t you have a seat right over on that stool, please. 

What‘s happening? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not much.

HANSEN:  What are you here for? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just coming to talk. 

HANSEN:  Coming to talk to who? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s it. 

HANSEN:  Why are you so nervous? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just get nervous.  I was coming to talk to Erin (ph). 

HANSEN:  How old is Erin? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She didn‘t tell me. 

HANSEN:  Try again? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I saw 14. 

HANSEN:  So you thought it was OK to come here to see a 14-year-old girl? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I didn‘t. 

HANSEN:  And you say, would you ever try anal?  Ouch!  That sounds like it could hurt.  Not if done right.  You have to be very gentle with that.  Quite a Romeo. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m a lonely guy.  What can I say?

HANSEN (voice-over):  He is more than just a lonely guy.  We did a background check on VAMale and it turns out, his real name is Joe Wonderlur (ph), an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Belvoir at the Intelligence and Security Command. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ve never done anything.  I‘m trying to get help with this. 

HANSEN (on camera):  What are you doing to get help? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Seeing a psychiatrist right now. 

HANSEN:  Well, it doesn‘t look like it is working too well, based upon all this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just started talking to him. 

HANSEN:  I mean, this gets pretty freaky here.  You talk about sex acts with a dog. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s one of the reasons I‘m trying to get help, because I‘ve gotten into fetishes that I know aren‘t right.

HANSEN:  I guess you‘re going to tell me next that this is the very first time you‘ve done something like this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Actually it is.  I‘m serious. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Here comes SpecialGuy29.  Earlier online, he told our decoy, who was posing as a 14-year-old boy, that he is an 11th grade English teacher.  Then he told the boy that he hates condoms but he‘s safe.  Our decoy asks SpecialGuy29 to bring beer and then throws in a request.  A technique often used by law enforcement to illustrate intent. 

He types: “side garage is open, strip to your underwear and come in, I‘ll be in mine.” The man says: “I don‘t wear underwear.” So the decoy says: “Then come in naked.”

We never thought he would really do it.  But we were wrong.  After casing our house, walking up and down the street, here he comes with the beer.  And you can guess what he does in the garage. 

HANSEN (on camera):  Could you explain yourself? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m sorry. 

HANSEN:  Why don‘t you go ahead and cover up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Certainly.  I‘m sorry.

HANSEN (voice-over):  The man‘s name is John Caneli (ph).  He tells me he‘s 29 and a bus driver.  Then he changes it to a teacher. 

(on camera):  What kind of conduct is this for a high school teacher? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, sir, I‘ve never done this before. 

HANSEN:  So you just woke up this morning and said, I‘m going to get involved in an Internet conversation with a 14-year-old boy.  I‘m going to go to his house, strip naked, and walk in with a 12 pack of beer. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, sir. 

HANSEN:  What would have happened, John, if I wasn‘t here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I probably would have chickened out, sir. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  After doing a deeper background check on him, we find out he‘s neither a teacher nor a bus driver.  His father says he is unemployed and he‘s not 29.  He‘s actually 43. 

(on camera):  Do you know that it is illegal to have a conversation on the Internet with the intent to have sex with a minor? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, sir, I do. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  You might think that this 43-year-old man who walked into our house naked ready to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex would be so humiliated after being caught literally with his pants down that he would never try it again.  Yet we find him right back online in a chat room the very next day. 

(on camera):  How can we be certain that this guy in this chat room is the same guy who walked into this house last night naked? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is the same screen name. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The same identical screen name he got busted on, SpecialGuy29. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He has changed nothing. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  He is spotted by a Perverted Justice volunteer who is posing as a 13-year-old boy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He just checked the kids pick. 

HANSEN:  Even these Perverted Justice veterans find what‘s happening hard to believe. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He keeps talking, then that‘s just going to be beyond comprehension. 

HANSEN:  Yet, he does keep talking.  And again, the chat quickly turns sexual.  And believe it or not, again, he agrees to yet another date for sex.  Our decoy asks if he wants to meet at McDonald‘s. 

(on camera):  What do you suppose the odds are that a guy like that would agree to another meeting? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would have said zero last night after watching what happened. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Well, SpecialGuy29 defies the odds and agrees to meet.  But first he confirms the meeting is not about food. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He really wanted to make sure it was about sex. 

HANSEN:  Sure enough, here he comes, headed toward the McDonald‘s. 

(on camera):  I have been in television for 24 years. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just came to get something to eat! 

HANSEN:  . and I have very seldom been at a loss for words. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sir, I just came to get something to eat!

HANSEN:  But I don‘t even know what to ask you first. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just came to get something to eat! 

HANSEN (voice-over):  He later changes his story. 

(on camera):  Last night, you walked into a house in suburban Washington naked, with a 12 pack of beer, yes or no? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

HANSEN:  OK.  Today, you‘re on the Internet again.  You have an inappropriate conversation with a boy you think is 13.  And you set up a meeting here at this fast food restaurant.  What was your intention? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  The man admits, he knows what he is doing is illegal. 

(on camera):  Then why do you do it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need help.  And that‘s what I‘m seeing a psychiatrist for. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  There are different reasons men choose to meet children for sex. 

:  Some, and this may be a minority, have a primary attraction to that age group.  Others are more looking for a situation where they can feel powerful or they can make them explore parts of themselves, try to do things in a situation where there is a power differential. 

HANSEN:  Whatever power they thought they had, it is lost as soon as they see me.  And now they‘re about to learn, I am not a parent or the police. 

First, the rabbi. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Could you please show me, tell me who you are? 

HANSEN (on camera):  I‘m more than happy to tell you who I am.  I am Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC” and we‘re doing a story on computer predators. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh no!  Come on!

HANSEN:  You don‘t want to touch me that way!

You don‘t want it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘ve got to stop this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sit down.  Sit down. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You don‘t have any right. 

HANSEN:  You‘re free to leave any time. 

(voice-over):  Now they knew this was all being taped for the record and for broadcast on “DATELINE.”

The doctor. 

(on camera):  But if there‘s anything else you want to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nothing. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  The teacher. 

(on camera):  And if there‘s anything else you would like to say, we would like to hear it. 

(voice-over):  And the man who stood naked in our kitchen. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you.  I don‘t have anything else to say. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  For more of Chris Hansen‘s “DATELINE” report, more on how you can protect your children from online predators, there is our Web site, countdown.msnbc.com. 

Also tonight, to lose one round with a glue-covered toilet seat seems like misfortune.  But does losing two of them seem possible in the same lifetime? 

And inside the writings of Scooter Libby, not about leaks and intel and war plans, but about how his characters love animals a little too much, if you know what I mean.  That‘s next.  This is COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The number of people who have been hit by lightning twice or more would surprise you.  The odds against it are only about 9 million to one.  More to our point, I once flushed a toilet, pulled up my pants and my lighter flew out of my pocket, it went down the drain.  Two weeks later, the exact same thing happened again. 

Still, in our number two story tonight, updates on the continuing sagas of the glue in one bathroom and the two cheerleaders in another.  It would seem to defy all logic that somebody could get epoxied to a toilet seat twice in one lifetime.  You will recall that Bob Doherty appeared on “THE TODAY SHOW” yesterday explaining how in 2003 employees at a Home Depot store in Louisville let him sit glued to their restroom toilet for 15, 20, or 25 minutes, the story varies, and how he is resultingly suing them for $3 million. 

Today The Rocky Mountain News of Denver quotes the former director of operations for the city of Nederland, Colorado, as saying Doherty claimed he had been glued to a toilet in its visitor‘s center in 2004.  The former Nederland official says he immediately investigated and found, quote, “no indication that anything had been on the toilet seat.”

According to the report, Doherty never sought medical attention for the second alleged glue nightmare, nor filed a report with the police.  It is not clear whether or not he even shouted, I haven‘t fallen but I still can‘t get up. 

And another tawdry toity (ph) story that may not be all it was originally cracked up to be.  Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders have been fired and a third has been suspended, but the nationwide drooling over a saga of forbidden love inside a Tampa bathroom stall may also have to be suspended.  The NFL team fire Angela Keathley, that‘s her on the right, and Renee Thomas.  They were ones in the bathroom at Banana Joe‘s nightclub.  Keathley is the one who allegedly socked another woman when somebody complained about how long the two had been in there.  Thomas supposedly became belligerent after her friend‘s arrest.  She was then arrested. 

Later proved Thomas was using the driver‘s license of a third team cheerleader, and Thomas has been charged for doing that.  Both were fired by the Panthers for violating a code of conduct that prevents all public embarrassments.  The third cheerleader, Kristen Owen was in North Carolina at the time but Ms. Thomas pretended to be here, but she‘s been suspended for violating the same code of conduct. 

The Panthers will not go into detail about specific infractions.  But while Penthouse has offered the fired women modeling jobs, and every comic worth his stripes has done a bit on this, it may very well prove that the assumption that the two were having sex was entirely courtesy of the woman who got punched. 

She said she heard the women moaning.  But listen to another eyewitness who said she heard more than just moans. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The blond was on the floor like literally, feet up, laying, like you could see she was in no shape.  She was sick.  And other than that, I mean, I didn‘t really hear any noise.  I did, you know, read some articles and I was like, no way.  They weren‘t in the bathroom long enough to have any type of activity, as I read.  And I did not hear any noise that sounded like they were doing anything like that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  So the morals of NFL cheerleaders may have been restored.  They might have just been in there throwing up from having had too much to drink.  The democracy is safe for another day. 

Now that the fired cheerleaders need any public relations help, Tom Cruise‘s sister is available.  That‘s our segue into our round-up of celebrity and entertainment news, “Keeping Tabs,” tonight.  Cruise has just dropped her as his publicist.  Lee Anne DeVette had been guiding, if that‘s the right word for it, Cruise‘s public image since March 2004.  Since then he‘s attacked actress Brooke Shields verbally, got into the “you‘re glib” verbal joust with Matt Lauer, jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey‘s couch, and gotten into a relationship with Katie Holmes, and has ever increasingly become a series of punch lines.  So at least his sister‘s PR efforts have not gone to waste.  She will be replaced by the co-chairman of the venerable publicity firm Rogers & Cowan. 

And that Powerball lottery that you and I didn‘t win?  Tonight we know who did.  Steve and Carolyn West, and Carolyn West‘s parents, Bob and Francis Cheney (ph), today came forward from Salem, Oregon, to claim their $340 million prize.  Steve says he tried to talk Carolyn out of buying the ticket because. we never win these things.  And I see they‘ve brought all kids with them.  And you get a psychiatrist and you get a psychiatrist and you get psychiatrist, and you get, and you and you and you and you! 

And what about him?  You write a novel in which characters are getting way too friendly with bears and dogs and deer, is that an insight into your personality or just a good read? 

That‘s ahead, but first here‘s the list of COUNTDOWN‘s top three nominees for the coveted title of “Worst Person in the World” today.  The bronze level, Buster the police dog.  OK, he is not a person.  Sue me.  It seemed not to bother Mr. Libby.  Buster worked for the South Yorkshire Police Force in England and was well-trained.  But shortly after deployment on the front lines, he began to slack off.  In one instance, he was reported to have walked right past a hiding suspect so he could sidle over to mark his territory instead.  The local constable says Buster has taken early retirement. 

Runner up?  Victor Hettigoda, he is one of 13 candidates for president of Sri Lanka in next week‘s election there.  You have hear of the campaign promise, a chicken in every pot, he‘s changed it slightly.  If he wins, he says he will use his own vast funds to give every family in the country its own cow.  That would be a bribe. 

And the winner, Ebony LeMay of Brentwood, Long Island, New York.  Her house was broken into Sunday.  Two masked men held her and her baby at gunpoint and then pistol-whipped her male friend.  So how is she the worst person?  Police say the gunmen were also her friends.  She had arranged to have the other guy over at her house so they could rob him.  She set up the guy in her own home and used her own baby as a prop.  Ebony LeMay, today‘s “Worst Person in the World”!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We should warn you straight off that this last segment tonight may be unsuitable for anybody under the age of, I don‘t know, 100?  The language might have made James Thurber and E.B. White blush, to say nothing of publication‘s founder, Harold Ross, but we have The New Yorker magazine to thank for giving us that look into the mind of the vice president‘s former chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby.  Scoot wrote a dirty book! 

The number one story in the COUNTDOWN, inside “The Apprentice,” and believe me, it will make you hanker for the good old days when you only associated that term with Donald Trump and maybe Martha Stewart. 

Libby wrote his novel in 1996.  If have a copy, two questions, A, why?  B, why haven‘t you sold it yet?  An autographed copy was put on sale online yesterday, the asking price, $4,200.  Unsigned hardcover copies have settled at about $700 apiece.  It‘s described as the story of a young Japanese who runs remote mountain inn and gets caught up in a world of intrigue.

Well, there‘s intrigue and then there‘s, well, bestiality.  There‘s a lot of bestiality in Mr. Libby‘s novel.  Sure, we all know already about the passage about the bear and the girl. 

Quote: “The young samurai‘s mother had the child sold to a brothel where she swept the floors and oiled the women.  At age 10, the madame put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons.  They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.  Groups of men paid to watch.  Like other girls who had been trained this way, she learned to handle many men in a single night and her skin turned a milky white.”

OK.

But what happened to the bear?  Well, never mind about the bear.  Scooter has also introduced us to many other fascinating characters in his novel: “There were odd tales of her sexual prowess.  And they said she had coupled with dogs and men and several of the boys at once.”

There was the hunter and his companions who had just killed a deer.  The hunter had a question: “He asked if they should (expletive deleted) the deer.”

Let‘s call in political satirist Andy Borowitz of the aptly and appropriately named “Borowitz Report.” 

Good evening, Andy.

ANDY BOROWITZ, “THE BOROWITZ REPORT”:  Good evening, Keith. 

And I might say that made me very hot just hearing you read that. 

OLBERMANN:  That is what I was afraid of.  I don‘t want to go out on a limb here, but a bear, dogs and a dead deer, am I beginning to sense a theme in his writing?

BOROWITZ:  Yes, well, there‘s a little-known Republican program called No Animal Left Behind.  And that‘s been a big theme in Republican porn for years. 

OLBERMANN:  This is just a big set of softballs at the batting cage for you, isn‘t it?

BOROWITZ:  And thank you so much. 

OLBERMANN:  Now, I don‘t want to leave the wrong impression here, this is not just a book about bestiality.  There‘s also incest and let‘s call them wooden prosthetic devices, and sex between women and fox spirits, which, despite the implications here, have nothing to do with FOX broadcasting, as near as we can tell. 

So this is a book for all readers, not just those interested in one kind of deviant behavior, right? 

BOROWITZ:  That‘s right.  I think we‘re going to see a big uptick in the sales of wooden prosthetic devices.  As a matter of fact, when you go on to Amazon, it says people who bought “The Apprentice” also bought a sexy wooden thing.  So we‘re going to be seeing lots of that.  I know I got one. 

OLBERMANN:  Artists and actors and satirists and newscasters are all quick to remind us, hey, just because I played this part and created this character, read the story, that doesn‘t mean I am them.  But how much insight does a novel really give us into the psyche of the author?  I mean, does this explain anything?  Does it explain his note to Judith Miller?  What does it—does it explain anything? 

BOROWITZ:  I really think that any number of the animal characters in the book could be stand-ins for Judith Miller because they aren‘t talking.  You notice that in the book.  So I think that that could be. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, you know, I mean, unfortunately he has got a female character in a cage which would be the direct analogy. 

BOROWITZ:  Exactly, exactly.  Read into it what you will. 

OLBERMANN:  Now we have beaten the hell out of Libby for this, and deservedly so.  If a Democratic White House official had written this book, his head would be on a pike somewhere.  But to be—try to balance it out a little bit, what about the psychology of people who are now willing to pay $700 for a copy of this book?  What do you make of them?

BOROWITZ:  You know, let‘s not be judgmental.  There is so little high quality bear-related porn out there.  And as a fancier of that genre, when I see a high quality version, I snap it up.  I do.

OLBERMANN:  The—we can always come back to the bear.  The senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Santorum, had this concern two or three years ago that some of the gay rights laws would open the door to men having sex with animals.  And that of course followed Libby‘s book chronologically by several years.  But I‘m wondering, is, in fact, this topic more associated with one party rather than the other?  And also, have I been living in a fool‘s paradise about this?  Is it a bigger social problem than I was aware of? 

BOROWITZ:  I think it is a pretty big social problem.  For example, exhibit A: the success of the film, “March of the Penguins,” OK?  I saw that film, very, very sexy.  I‘m the first to admit it.  I don‘t know if it is more of a Republican problem than a Democratic problem.  But I do think Republicans tend to do to animals what they do to the rest of the environment, so leave it at that. 

OLBERMANN:  And what is the Democratic Party strategy towards animals then? 

BOROWITZ:  Well, I think they like to protect animals, but sort of keep sort of an arm‘s distance relationship with them, which I think is good.  I think it is healthy.  It‘s a healthy kind of love. 

OLBERMANN:  Do the two parties have official positions on intermarriage between animals and human beings?

BOROWITZ:  Well, Rick Santorum actually is a little more open-minded than you might think.  He is in favor of people marrying bears.  He just doesn‘t think the bear should get health coverage.  That‘s his view. 

OLBERMANN:  How much fun have you had with this all told? 

BOROWITZ:  I‘ve just had a great time.  I just am looking forward to all the other books that are going to come out of this.  Perhaps Andy Card has written a book.  Let‘s see what‘s—bring it on, is all I can say. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  I think, unfortunately, that might be a line from Mr. Libby‘s book, too.  Andy Borowitz of “The Borowitz Report,” as always, sir, a pleasure having you on the program. 

BOROWITZ:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you for the deep and serious conversation. 

That‘s COUNTDOWN, I‘m Keith Olbermann, keep your knees loose, good night and good luck. 

Our MSNBC coverage continues now with “RITA COSBY LIVE & DIRECT.”

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

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