Guests: Candice DeLong, Stacey Honowitz, Linda Allison, Mary Mapes, Ellen Mariani, Greg Veis, Richard Miniter
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, America, the terror target. Tonight, a blistering report card. Why is our government failing Americans more than four years after 9/11? And where is the money going? We are going to get answers in a minute.
And shocking allegations out of Aruba. Officials there are trashing Natalee, her mother, and attacking the family and blaming Beth Holloway Twitty for their botched investigation. We will find out tonight.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks so much for being with us tonight. We are going to have all those stories in just a minute, plus, secret drug camps with thugs with AK-47‘s ready to attack you. But this isn‘t happening in Colombia. It‘s happening in our national parks. It‘s a shocking new crisis we will tell you about later on.
And it‘s not only what these teens are doing, but where they‘re doing it that have police officers concerned. You‘re going to see the latest developments in this teenage fight club fiasco.
But, first, Americans are no safer from another 9/11 attack, according to the former 9/11 Commission. In its final meeting, the former commission tagged the federal government with failing grades, saying America is not prepared to respond to another 9/11-style attack.
NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers has those troubling details.
LISA MYERS, NBC CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chaos of Katrina was made worse by the frustrating inability of first-responders in New Orleans to communicate with each other with anything more than hand signals and binoculars, the very same inability to talk that plagued rescuers on 9/11.
If the Pentagon were attacked again today, police in key Virginia suburbs could communicate by radio with the FBI, but not directly with police in Washington, D.C. In many cities, the problem is even worse.
THOMAS KEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: Four years after 9/11, it is a scandal that police and firefighters in large cities still can‘t talk to each other reliably.
MYERS: The 9/11 Commission gave the president and Congress an F on that and bad grades in other key areas. There‘s still no unified terrorist watch list to screen airline passengers, little progress in screening cargo and checked bags, minimal improvement in information sharing within the government.
KEAN: We‘re frustrated, we‘re passionate, and we‘re angry because the United States government is not doing what it needs to do to protect American citizens.
MYERS: The commission charged that Congress continues to dole out homeland security funds for pork. Newark, New Jersey, bought new air-conditioned garbage trucks. Washington, D.C., sent sanitation workers to self-help seminars.
JAMES THOMPSON, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: Why aren‘t our tax dollars being spent to protect our lives? What‘s the rationale? What‘s the excuse? There is no excuse.
MYERS: The government does good get marks in some areas, cutting off terrorist financing, going after terrorist sanctuaries, a biometric screening system at the border.
The White House argues, many of the bad grades don‘t reflect all the progress.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Are we finished? No. We have got more to do, but we have done a tremendous amount help secure the country.
MYERS (on camera): But the commission worries there is no sense of urgency. For example, Congress is finally considering a bill to set aside space on the airwaves to help first-responders communicate. It takes effect in 2009.
Lisa Myers, NBC News, Washington.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what. That‘s troubling.
But with me now to talk about how safe Americans should feel tonight are Ellen Mariani. She‘s from 911forthetruth.com. Ellen‘s husband, Neil, was killed in the 9/11 attacks. Also with us, Richard Miniter. He‘s the author of “Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush Is Winning the War on Terror,” and Greg Veis, assistant editor at “GQ.” He‘s also the author of a story in December‘s issue titled “Homeland Stupidity.”
Greg, let‘s start with you.
How would you rate American leaders in protecting four years after 9/11, after all your investigations and after writing this story?
GREG VEIS, ASSISTANT EDITOR, “GQ”: You know, it‘s—it‘s disappointing.
As Kean said today, it‘s a scandal and it largely has to do with how our money is being allocated, the federal grants.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, talk about that, because I understand that Alaska gets more money per person to fight terrorists than New York state.
VEIS: Not just more money, nearly double, $27 to $15 per person.
This is just clearly a pork delivery system and Congress should really be held accountable.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to talk how exactly some of the Department of Homeland Security money is being spent.
Look at just three examples from your “GQ” story, $148,000 for a robot in Wyoming called Miss Daisy that carries and fires a shotgun—not making this up -- $3,300 for a bulletproof vest for bomb-sniffing dogs in Ohio, bulletproof vest for dogs, and $63,000 of your money for a hazmat decontamination unit in a county in Washington state that doesn‘t even have a hazmat team.
Greg, what is wrong with the system? Why are things so screwed up that our tax dollars are being burned four years after 9/11 in these pork barrel projects?
VEIS: The problem is, is the allocation of funds based on population, rather than risk.
I mean, you‘re not only getting that; you‘re getting $5.2 million so that every policeman in, of all places, Missouri has a chemical biowarfare suit. There are constant instances of just misplaced funds and it has to stop.
SCARBOROUGH: Why isn‘t the president vetoing these bills?
VEIS: You know, your guess is as good as mine. I wish I knew. And it‘s disheartening to know that he hasn‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Richard, obviously, a lot of things we can be critical. I‘m very, very concerned about all the things I have been hearing over the past couple days.
At the same time, the proof is in the pudding, some would say; we haven‘t been attacked in the last four years. So how do you grade the president and the war on terror?
RICHARD MINITER, AUTHOR, “DISINFORMATION: 22 MEDIA MYTHS THAT
UNDERMINE THE WAR ON TERROR”: I think I would grade him pretty highly.
First of all, we haven‘t been attacked. That‘s no small miracle. More than 3,000 al Qaeda have been killed or captured in 102 different countries since 9/11. That‘s significant. Inside the United States, almost 700 people connected to al Qaeda have been arrested. Almost all of them have been deported, most of them on petty immigration violations.
But those connections to al Qaeda are not insignificant. And so that is making the country safer. Yes, of course, there are some boondoggle projects here and there. It‘s your federal government at work. If you like government, you will love the DMV. But, look, there‘s a lot of positive things happening.
They have developed new techniques for getting inside of mosques and identifying risks; they have deployed radiation monitors inside the New York City subways that are so good that when people get radiation therapy for cancer they get pulled aside by the NYPD and have to have a note from their doctor. So, we are much...
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Rich, let me ask you this. For the people that are listening out there that don‘t study this every day, like you, tell us, what is—if you could grade the government, give them their highest grade on what they are doing to stop us from being blown up in New York or St. Louis or Los Angeles or Miami? What‘s the government doing right? Why have we not been blown up? Why haven‘t there been any more attacks since September 11?
MINITER: Well, the arrests I talked about, the more than 700 people inside America who have been arrested, suspected al Qaeda terrorists, the radiation monitors deployed in New York City, but much more than that, the aggressiveness of policing, such that when people leave an unattended package in a bus station, like they did in Union Station in Washington, D.C., recently, the police are all over it.
Far more aggressive. The training is getting better. Yes, there are a lot of problems. It‘s your government at work, but, frankly it‘s a hell of a lot better than it used to be.
SCARBOROUGH: Ellen, let me bring you in here.
Obviously, September 11 struck very closely to you, your husband killed on that tragic day. Four years later, you have obviously been following this very closely. What are your thoughts as you hear the 9/11 Commission saying that our government really hasn‘t learned any lessons from that tragic day?
ELLEN MARIANI, HUSBAND KILLED IN SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS: Well, first of all, Joe, I‘m pulling a few things out of my Pandora box.
And my feeling, my heart feels that 9/11 is nothing more than obstruction of justice and a continuing—a covering up by Bush. And, furthermore, the 9/11 commissioners were all handpicked, as you all know. I‘m reading this, because I was told just a few hours ago. They were all picked by Mr. Bush to obstruct justice and maintain a cover-up of the facts.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Ellen, they‘re actually attacking—they‘re attacking the president, though, tonight, aren‘t they? They‘re saying that this president and Congress and Washington, D.C., haven‘t done enough to protect our country from the type of tragedy that was visited on your family. You certainly would agree with that, right?
MARIANI: To a certain point.
But let‘s talk about the Able Danger, the scripted 9/11 attack on America, the Oklahoma bombing with direct ties to the Philippines, and Watuba Bank (ph), also known as Project Bojinka. There‘s a lot of things here. Let‘s connect the dots of Oklahoma City, 9/11, and the Able Danger.
Project Bojinka, Oklahoma City—in New York, Oklahoma was rehabilitated—it helped Clinton.
SCARBOROUGH: Greg, yes, go ahead.
MINITER: Well, look, Project Bojinka. I have been to the Philippines. I‘m aware of the Philippine investigation. That was a 1994 plot by al Qaeda to blow up 11 airlines simultaneously over the Philippines. That was defeated, and through excellent police work by the Philippines, nothing—very little help by the U.S.
But the fact is, we have learned a lot since 1994. We have learned how they take over planes; we have learned a lot about how they assemble cells, and we have been able to defeat plots. We defeated a plot to blow up U.S. warships off the coasts of Africa, near the Straits of Gibraltar in Spain. We defeated a plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris. We defeated a plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.
So, we are learning and a lot. A lot has happened since Project Bojinka.
SCARBOROUGH: And let me ask you, Greg, despite the fact that we‘re doing—Greg, we are doing a lot of things right, if you listen to Richard, but, at the same time, you‘re also saying, though, that all of this money that‘s being spent on the Department of Homeland Security, most of it at least being wasted, right?
VEIS: I mean, we are doing a lot of things right. And that is important. It‘s important to know. And it‘s important to know that DHS is a very young organization, so there is some leeway that we should be giving it.
But the question is, are we safer than we were on 9/11? The question is, are we safe enough? And largely because of this federal—financial mismanagement, I would have to say the answer is no.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much.
Ellen, thank you.
Thank you Richard.
Thank you, Greg.
Appreciate all of you being here.
And, friends, when you have people in the federal government saying we don‘t have enough money to screen our luggage that goes underneath the airplanes when we fly, when you have people in your federal government telling you we just don‘t have enough money to protect the ports, when you have people in the federal government saying we just don‘t have enough money to do all the things we need to do to protect you, well, and then you hear about this waste and mismanagement, well, it‘s just like Richard said. It‘s your federal government at work. It‘s a disgrace.
And we have got to send a message to these pork barrel politicians in Washington, D.C., that we don‘t want to send our money for Homeland Security to Alaska and Hawaii and Missouri and these other states. Let‘s send the money where the biggest threats are, in New York, in Washington, in Los Angeles, in Seattle, in points of entry like Miami. That‘s where the money needs to be spent.
And, unfortunately, politicians behaving just like politicians always have, are more interested in their own backyard than what‘s in the best interests of the United States of America.
Now, when we come back, what was going on behind the scenes as New Orleans descended into chaos after Hurricane Katrina? Tonight, we know. It‘s a very ugly sight, friends, stories of confusion and damage control and bombshell documents that point to a Louisiana governor who may be responsible for the death of her constituents.
Plus, a bizarre new twist in the Natalee Holloway investigation. Did a mother‘s search for justice actually hamper an investigation? See who is making those stunning accusations and what slander they‘re throwing at Natalee.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is just getting started. Stay with us, because we will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Drug kingpins stealing public land, assaulting innocent tourists, and polluting our pristine rivers and lakes. Why can‘t America‘s law enforcement officers put an end to this growing threat, as drug cartels invade America?
We will talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Thousands of e-mails and phone records just released show how overwhelmed Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was in the days following Katrina.
One of the most outrageous revelations, her battle with the White House over bringing National Guard troops in to protect Louisiana residents.
On August 31, the White House urged Blanco to federalize the Louisiana National Guard. Blanco refused. The next day, the White House again pleaded. This time, Blanco asked for 24 hours to think about it. This is while the chaos started to erupt, by the way, outside the New Orleans Convention Center. The White House then faxed a letter to the governor the next day—hell was breaking loose—again urging her to let them take over, send in the troops, and protect the people of New Orleans.
And just 10 minutes before the president was to announce that move in a Rose Garden news conference, Blanco called again and rejected the White House request.
With me now is Doug Brinkley. He‘s a New Orleans resident, and, of course, a presidential historian.
Doug, you know, I have been attacking the White House for quite some time for a lot of failures. I have been talking about how the president of the United States should have done something, gotten troops on the ground, saved those poor babies that died on the sidewalk. But here you have got all these documents released, and it looks like the governor of Louisiana deserves a lot of blame, because she simply refused—it was a turf war.
People died in New Orleans in your hometown because of a political turf war with a governor that just seemed to be in over her head. Talk about it.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, there‘s no doubt she was in over her head.
Today—or, actually, it got released on Friday. It‘s 100,000 pages of documents. Now, some of it is inner—internal e-mails back and forth between the governor and other state officials, but the bombshells, the things that people are going to talk about, it really—it shows her at war with the Bush administration.
It seems to be—it‘s almost a childish game going on of who is going to get the blame. She doesn‘t clearly want to. One of the things I thought was interesting is, she—Governor Blanco attacks FEMA quite a bit for not having buses there, rightfully so, but never realizes, by bringing that out right now, then you say, well, about the buses of Louisiana? Why didn‘t Governor Blanco use those buses?
Also, it‘s very—it has got to make the relationship that she‘s already tense with Mayor Nagin even worse. In some of these e-mails, he comes off as being clueless, Mayor Nagin. He comes off as being in the bunker, unable to go on the ground. So it‘s always been a fight between FEMA, between—and the Bush administration, Blanco and Nagin.
And I think Governor Blanco thought this was going to help her, these documents. It showed her—she was so low in people‘s estimation. But I don‘t think it‘s given her much of a bounce, or none at all.
SCARBOROUGH: Not yet. And a lot of people say that it makes her look incompetent, makes her look ill-prepared, makes her look paranoid.
But you talked about Ray Nagin. Nagin comes across looking—just
again, just looking like he‘s in over his head also. But this is very
interesting. In a heated meeting on Air Force One, even as New Orleans
Mayor Ray Nagin seemed to question Blanco‘s leadership, this is what was
going on—quote—“Mayor Nagin slammed his hand down on the table and
told the president: ‘We just need to cut through this and do whatever it
takes to have a more controlled command structure. If that means
federalizing it, let‘s do it.‘ Bush turned to Governor Blanco and said,
‘Well, what do you think of that, Governor?‘ Blanco told Bush, ‘I would
rather talk to you about that privately,‘ to which Nagin responded, ‘Well,
why don‘t you do that now?‘”
Nagin and everybody else left the room, of course, as you know. And she, again, despite the fact you had the mayor of New Orleans, Doug, saying, come on, bring the troops in, she still balked at it. History is not going to judge her kindly or Nagin kindly or FEMA kindly or the president kindly, but it seems that the president woke up after about 48 hours. Then it was Blanco who was dragging her feet.
BRINKLEY: And in these e-mails of Blanco, you start seeing how highly partisan she is.
She‘s quickly trying to push everything on Bush. At one point, complaining about the Louisiana National Guard being in Iraq, she‘s demanding that they come back immediately, which obviously isn‘t going to happen when you‘re in a crisis situation of 42, 78 hours.
Also, there are other problems, I think, for Governor Blanco with this. It shows Maxine Waters, Congresswoman from California, African-American, very outspoken on race issues, being banned from entering the state of Louisiana or being allowed security, because they didn‘t want her opinion on the racial situation there.
That‘s going to cause Blanco problems with African-Americans in Louisiana. So I think the net effect of all of this, it‘s just—makes the White House distrust her more, makes Nagin distrust her more, makes the African-American community distrust her more. I don‘t think there‘s any net gain by this—this release of 100,000 pages.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Doug, from the very beginning, we have been talking about unfortunately this partisanship that you brought out tonight, that you have got Republicans not trusting Democrats, Democrats not trusting Republicans, while your city was flooding and while so many people, unfortunately, were dying there.
But talk about the politics in your home state. I have seen in some recent polls that the Democratic senator‘s numbers have actually gone down; the Republican senator‘s numbers have gone up. It seems to me that people that just kind of kept their head down, worked hard to help all people in Louisiana, did well politically, and those that, like you said, that were partisan are the ones that are getting pummeled right now.
Is that safe to say?
BRINKLEY: I think that‘s fair.
And when you talk to people in Louisiana, what they‘re interested in is hearing the stories I think about heroism in Louisiana, the so-called Cajun navy, people that took boats and saved people. There are a lot of good police stories coming out. And people in Louisiana are—have written off particularly Nagin and Blanco at this point.
I think Landrieu is still strong. And Mitch Landrieu, lieutenant governor, is strong. And David Vitter is strong particularly in numbers right now. But the—Blanco, Nagin, everybody is through with them now. The question is, how can you replace them? You‘re kind of stuck with them. The mayoral race was postponed due to the ballot boxes, polling places destroyed.
But it might happen, a race for mayor, in April. It might happen in June or September. And Blanco will be finished as of ‘07. So, there will be in coming months—it might take a year—some new leadership to assume the governor‘s mansion and city hall.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, you‘re right. You look at the lieutenant governor, you look at the senators, they certainly seem very strong.
By the way, Doug, I appreciate you being with us tonight. I‘m expecting a book to come out called “The Cajun Navy” any day now from you. That sounds like a great title, right?
BRINKLEY: It is. And it‘s true.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks for being with us, Doug. Greatly appreciate it.
BRINKLEY: OK. Bye.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Bye.
Now, California—from Louisiana to California—California is taking its war on drugs to our national parks, where there‘s a growing problem. Mexican drug—you‘re not going to believe this—Mexican drug cartels are running marijuana farms in the United States. Hikers are being threatened with AK-47s. Some have been shot for making the mistake of stumbling on to these secret gardens.
And a lot of Americans are asking why is it happening and why can‘t law enforcement get rid of these drug cartels, these Mexican drug cartels, in our national parks?
Well, let‘s bring in McGregor Scott—he‘s a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California—to find out. Thank you so much for being with us, McGregor.
MCGREGOR SCOTT, U.S. ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about the scope of this problem, again, Mexican drug cartels landing, basically invading our national parks. How serious is the problem?
SCOTT: Well, it‘s a serious problem.
And it‘s evolved substantially over the last five years. I think we all have images in our mind‘s eye of the ‘70s and ‘80s and hippies, if I can use that term, growing marijuana in the public parks and in the national forests. That has changed dramatically. And we now have a very real problem with the Mexican drug trafficking organizations taking over the marijuana trade in California and growing massive marijuana plantations in the Forest Service lands in particular, but also in the Park Service and in the Bureau of Land Management.
SCARBOROUGH: When did this start? Again, you‘re right. You used to think that it would be aging Grateful Dead fans that drove their V.W. into these national parks.
But now this isn‘t a laughing matter, is it? These are deadly drug cartels. And they have come to our country.
SCOTT: Well, it‘s not a laughing matter, because it‘s become big business, big money, and big violence. And oftentimes when law enforcement finds these gardens in the public lands, there are well-armed guards present. There are booby traps set up. There are all kinds of things to ensure that the guards maintain the integrity of the plantations that they‘re responsible for.
In addition, we obviously have an issue with law enforcement, when they have got to go in to try to take these plants out in terms of dealing with armed guards, but also our public at large is at risk. And if you‘re a deer hunter and you take your son deer hunting at the wrong time in the wrong spot and you encounter people with AK-47s, you have got a problem.
The third dynamic that is posed by this dilemma is the environmental one. These people go in and set up camps essentially for six months at a time, from the spring to the fall, from the planting to the harvest season, and they leave behind massive amounts of garbage. They divert streams. There are chemicals.
I am told that recently in one of the national forests in California out of 12 growth sites that were discovered during this past growing season, over four tons of garbage and over 500 pounds of chemicals were removed from those growth sites. So it is a pervasive problem.
Now, that‘s the bad news. The good news, in our part of the world, in the Eastern District of California, which contains all of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and many of the national forests in the northern part of the state, we have this last year brought together a coalition. I call it the grand coalition, because we have got local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies coming together to work on this problem.
And to the best of my knowledge, it‘s the first time we have put something like this together. We have stood up an intelligence center.
SCOTT: And the number of plants that were pulled in California this year by law enforcement broke all previous records. We‘re making a lot of progress. We are on it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, McGregor, that‘s great news. That‘s a good way to end this segment, of course.
I appreciate you being with us, McGregor Scott.
Of course, friends, the interesting thing is, the reason why they‘re growing these in the United States instead of in Mexico is, it‘s easier to grow here than growing in Mexico and smuggling it across the border. I‘ll tell you what. We really have to, obviously—hopefully, other law enforcement officers will have the success that Mr. McGregor Scott and his friends in Northern California had.
Now, coming up next, there are shocking allegations coming out of Aruba. Officials there are trashing Natalee and her family. And they‘re blaming Beth for their investigation problems. Going nowhere? Wait until you hear.
And the first rule of fight club is, of course, don‘t talk about fight club. But the second rule should be, don‘t tape fight club. The disturbing tape that‘s putting a lot of kids in hot water tonight—coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Aruban officials blame—slander Natalee, they attack Jug, and they blame Beth Holloway Twitty for derailing the investigation into her missing daughter. We will get the response from the family and more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Her report nearly brought down CBS News. But now Mary Mapes is fighting back and telling all in a new book. I will ask her if she has any regrets over the scandal.
And teens in trouble for a disturbing videotape. You will see why police are fighting mad over this real-life fight club.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—those stories in minutes.
But, first, a stunning turn of events in the Natalee Holloway story, and it comes from the man running the investigation in Aruba. Inside the January issue of “Vanity Fair” magazine, there is a big article on the Holloway investigation, in which Gerald Dompig, the deputy police chief, blames Beth Holloway Twitty for problems in the investigation.
Dompig he was pressured into arresting the three suspects in the case on June the 9th, even though he just wasn‘t ready to do it. Now, under normal circumstances, he says this—quote—“We would have taken much more time to monitor them. We would have had much more evidence had we waited.”
And that‘s just the beginning.
Let‘s bring in right now Natalee‘s aunt, Linda Allison, who‘s Beth Twitty‘s sister.
Linda, thank you so much for being with us.
I don‘t know where to start. I‘m not going to even repeat the slander that was aimed at Natalee. Of course, they attacked Jug. But they seem to be blaming Beth for all of their problems down there. What‘s the family‘s reaction tonight to these explosive charges?
LINDA ALLISON, AUNT OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Well, I haven‘t had an opportunity to speak with Beth or Dave this evening, but, after reading the article from “Vanity Fair,” I was just appalled to hear some of the things Dompig had said in that particular article, and just amazed at him attacking Natalee‘s character in this particular article, when actually they‘re trying to redirect this away from the actual investigation.
And I really wish they would focus on some of the other people that were questioned—or I guess a person of interest that they apparently never brought in for an interview. I‘m a little bit disappointed with—when EquuSearch was there on the island, waiting for a letter of approval from Dompig, and he never came through with that letter. So, EquuSearch and that dive team from Florida never was able to continue the search.
ALLISON: There are just numerous things like that, that just amaze me.
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, again, after all that, after you have the 10, 11 days where they let these guys run free on the island without securing the cars, without doing any DNA tests on them, again, after all the mistakes, it‘s just—it‘s got to be stunning to you and the family that now they‘re coming after you all and blaming you.
Plus, you have the lead investigator talking about Natalee, saying she drank, she slept around, I mean, just spreading these rumors. And this is a guy running the investigation in Aruba.
ALLISON: I know.
I found that very disturbing when I read that particular part of the article. I just felt like, how dare this investigator go and attack Natalee, making these accusations? And, again, it‘s another diversion from the actual investigation. And I know a couple weeks ago, Dompig said he wanted to interview the Alabama teens that were with Natalee.
And he said he would travel to the U.S. or send an investigative team. And they have yet to do that. And Beth‘s only request is that the FBI agent be present during those interrogations. And he‘s welcome to come to the U.S. And I just wish they would move forward with this case and continue the investigation and see where we can go. It‘s been six months and we still don‘t have any information as to where Natalee is.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, unfortunately, Linda, I‘m afraid they have moved on, but they have moved on from this investigation and now they‘re just trying to cover themselves.
Thanks for being with us. We‘re obviously going to be following it in the coming days and see what happens.
ALLISON: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, just bombshell accusations.
Thank you so much.
Let‘s bring in right now prosecutor Stacey Honowitz and retired FBI agent Candice DeLong, the author of “Special Agent: My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI.”
Candice, I got to start with you.
Is there any—do you lend any credence at all to this lead investigator‘s claim, that, if the family had just shut up, if they had just backed off, then they may have been able to get these suspects, to trap them and get them to talk?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: No, none whatsoever.
Joe, can you imagine if the FBI was in charge of a case, a missing-person case or a homicide case, and blew it, and all the subjects of interest were released, and then they turned around and said, well, we really didn‘t want to do the investigation that way, but the family made us do it?
That‘s outrageous. It‘s shameful. And the shame is on them, the cops.
SCARBOROUGH: So, basically, you‘re saying that the fact that they‘re turning around now, six months later, and saying, the parents made us do it, is just further evidence that these guys are idiots down there and they don‘t know what they‘re doing.
DELONG: Well, they‘re admitting their incompetency simply by saying, the family made us do it.
Joe, in cases like this, someone generally in a police department is
assigned to work with the family. Of course the family members of a
missing or murdered individual is going to be all over the police, wanting
constantly wanting information and updates. The FBI generally, every office has someone to be liaison between the family and the investigator, to hold them at arm‘s length, keep them informed of what they need to know.
But the families do not call the shots in an investigation. Would you tell your surgeon how to take a tumor out of your head? No. You let him do it.
Stacey Honowitz, are they just looking for an excuse to explain away their sorry investigation?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely, Joe.
Candice is 100 percent right. The family does not call the shots. There‘s always a victim advocate or a liaison involved in the case. And this is so typical. The same thing happens when you have a regular rape case in a courtroom. All of a sudden, it‘s the rape victim‘s fault that the rape was committed.
And that‘s basically what they‘re saying: We screwed up, but it wasn‘t our fault. It was because of Beth and because of Jug and everybody else, and we had so much pressure. So, this is typical behavior. I‘m not surprised by it. I‘m sure the Beth is thick-skinned enough. She‘s been through enough as a mother involved in all this that she could probably let this roll right off her back, as she should.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you all make—I really have never heard of any investigator doing this, certainly not in the United States. But what do you make of the lead investigator in Aruba now coming out, slandering, unfortunately, a young woman who is probably dead? Her parents said that they really buried her mentally back in June—but slandering a young lady, basically just spewing hearsay about what she did on the island—they talk about drinking and drugs and all these other things—and put words in her mouth about her mother.
And then, again, they attack Jug Twitty. And what do we make of all of this? Can there ever be any credibility lent to these Aruban authorities again?
DELONG: I don‘t think so, not for me.
HONOWITZ: I don‘t think so. You‘re certainly going to have a difficult time, especially when they‘re saying things like that.
How can you trust anything that is going to happen from here on? But, like I said earlier, this is typical behavior. They screwed up. They let these guys run free. They never secured evidence. They never got search warrants. They never took computers. They never took messaging. They never took blood.
And so, as a result of their screw-up, they‘re going to place the blame on the Twitty family. It‘s disgraceful. It‘s disgusting. And, like I said, hopefully, Beth can get some justice. Hopefully, they will focus now not on these collateral issues, which is what they are, but on the investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: Candice, do you agree with that?
And I would like to add, Joe, it‘s taking 40 or 50 years of specific education in major police departments in the United States that form sex crime units in how to treat victims of this kind of crime.
And this remark by this guy, who—the leader investigator—slandering Natalee kind of makes me wonder how seriously did they take this case in the first place?
DELONG: Were they ever really seriously intent on—or was it a situation of, well, she‘s gone; she got what she deserved because she was making out with some guy on the beach?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. It‘s unbelievable. You nailed it right on the head there.
Thank you so much, Candice DeLong.
Stacey Honowitz, thank you also for being with us. We really appreciate it.
Now let‘s go to Tucker Carlson. He‘s the host of “THE SITUATION WITH
Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Well, Joe, we have got an atheist group in Texas passing out pornography in return for Bibles.
CARLSON: And this breaking news from the Howard Dean front. You think—well, you think that‘s bizarre, listen to this, Howard Dean actually saying he thinks the U.S. government ought to send troops to another friendly country in the region around Iraq. This man, who thinks we have destabilized the region by sending our troops to the Middle East, thinks we should send troops to another country to destabilize it. He‘s insane.
SCARBOROUGH: And this is a guy that also is basically pronouncing that America has lost in Iraq. Excuse me. I smell Vietnam syndrome, part two. It just continues.
CARLSON: Who is running the Democratic Party? I know he is, I guess, but where are the adults who are going to step in with the hook and pull this guy off the stage before he wrecks the whole thing? Not that I would care, but still.
SCARBOROUGH: I think—again, I think it‘s too late. The only thing the Republicans have going for them, Tucker, Democrats.
CARLSON: Exactly. I think that every day.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. I know. Tucker, thanks so much.
CARLSON: Thanks, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: And make sure you tune in to “THE SITUATION.” It‘s coming up next at 11:00.
And we will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary Mapes was the woman behind the CBS memo-gate scandal. She produced the story on President Bush‘s National Guard service that relied on documents that people brought into question later on.
The ensuing problems ended several careers at CBS, including her own. She‘s got a fascinating new book out. It‘s called “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power,” which tells her side of the story.
Earlier, I asked Mary what she thought of her former boss, Dan Rather.
MARY MAPES, FORMER CBS NEWS PRODUCER: I worked with Dan for years. I think he‘s a wonderful man.
He‘s just about the hardest working man I have ever worked with. He has remained friendly and kind to me throughout. And going into this, he said to all of us—and I think it was something that CBS should have adhered to—he said, we went into this together and we‘re going to come out of this together. And I think Dan has done that with the people who worked on that story with him.
And, certainly, that‘s more than CBS did.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Mary, he‘s the only one that still has a job. Do you feel like he should have said, hey, I‘m standing behind the people that put this story together; if they go, I go?
MAPES: I don‘t know.
To me, that‘s sort of like—I don‘t know what the advantage would have been, to have lost one more journalist who had worked decades at CBS. I know Mike Wallace said that, but I also know that Mike Wallace did not resign when his producer left after the tobacco story at CBS.
So, I don‘t—I think Dan is a great reporter. I hope he—and I think he has lots of good years of reporting ahead of him. And I want him to do that in whatever way he does.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, at the time this blew up, I said that Les Moonves—I mean, I‘ll be honest. I was very critical of the report. But at the same time, I said that the happiest man in Manhattan at CBS was Les Moonves, because I thought it would allow him to go in and do something that he had wanted to do for some time, go into the temple of Murrow and Cronkite, blow it up, and basically create a news division in his own image. Is that too cynical of a take about the head of CBS?
MAPES: It‘s cynical, but I‘m sure it‘s not too cynical.
It makes me sad to say it. Moonves was quoted as saying to “The New York Times” magazine, I think this past September, that sometimes he wanted to blow the whole building up, referring to CBS News. And he also said he was enamored of, in London, on a cable show called “The Naked News,” where he wanted the news anchor to take off a piece of clothing with each story she read. And I suppose you don‘t want a 73-year-old man delivering the news when you do that.
SCARBOROUGH: I guess not.
Let‘s talk about—speaking of CBS veterans, back in January, we had Bernie Goldberg, somebody, obviously, that I know you are familiar with, had Bernie Goldberg on. And, obviously, he‘s been critical, not just of you, but of just about everybody at CBS over the past 10, 15, years. This is what he had to say about Dan Rather and the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD GOLDBERG, AUTHOR, “100 PEOPLE WHO ARE SCREWING UP AMERICA”:
Right after this report came out, he said that some of the people criticizing him were partisan political forces. Some of them were, no question about that.
But I will tell you who the other partisan political forces were. His source for the story was a partisan political force. His producer, Mary Mapes, sure was a partisan political force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You talk about this in your book. You have been slammed as being a left-wing activist. You say that‘s not the case, that you‘re actually a Middle American farm girl. Respond to Bernie.
MAPES: Well, first of all, I remember when Bernie just used to gripe at CBS about not getting enough airtime. So, I‘m very happy the rest of the world is getting to share all of his Bernie-isms.
I—Bernie actually listed me, I think, in that book of 100 most dangerous people or people who are screwing up America. I was number 14. And I was flabbergasted, because I was above Michael Jackson and Al Sharpton.
MAPES: So, I don‘t know whether to cry or brag.
But I did grow up on a farm. I did grow up on a farm in Washington state. I am a mom. I live in Dallas, Texas. I have chosen to live there, in a red state, for 16 years. I‘m a normal person. I‘m not—I‘m so sorry I‘m not an exciting activist tool for anybody. I‘m a reporter. And I‘m tremendously biased in favor of a good story that I have researched hard and long and think is ready to be presented.
SCARBOROUGH: You think that‘s the same of CBS and most other people in the media, that their bias is toward news, and not one political party or another?
MAPES: I think they‘re bias—and this is interesting—I think their bias is really—this is what worries me about news right now. It‘s bias toward a careerist bent.
People are worried about their own careers, rather than doing their jobs. And I think, if I had be more worried about my career, as I arguably should have been, I would still have one.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much, Mary Mapes.
And the book, again, is “Truth and Duty.” It‘s certainly recommended reading.
Coming up next, a real club—a real-life version of “Fight Club” caught on tape.
Stay with us.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s hard to watch, what appears to be a real-life fight club in, of all places, a cemetery. So, what were these kids thinking? Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The quiet and peaceful serenity of a local cemetery is punctuated by the sounds of pain, as two alleged friends cheered on by a lively crowd...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That got to hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... mimic the moves of the wrestling heroes on a bed of tacks, as they inflict pain and draw blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the camera.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Along with catching all the action, the cameraman seems to direct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Toaster. Toaster action.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the video gets more violent by the minute.
SERGEANT LARRY ONDRIZEK, KISKI TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thumbtacks all over the place, glass bulbs they busted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kiski Township Police Sergeant Larry Ondrizek walked us up to the Apollo cemetery to the exact location of the fight where the young men left behind some of their props.
They used Christmas bulbs, thumbtacks to body-slam each other. Pieces of glass, steel boards, wooden sticks with nails, lamps, you name it, were used to do bodily harm. Their friends say it‘s all in fun, but authorities say otherwise.
SCARBOROUGH: And, to think, I used to play basketball and Wiffle ball with my friends.
A new development tonight—police are now charging the teens with criminal mischief and scattering rubbish. Each faces fines up to $300. Boy, that will stop them from doing it in the future.
We will be right back with more.
Plus, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”—hold your breath, kids—just minutes away.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, you can make a difference in the life of troops overseas right now by going to Joe.MSNBC.com.
You all have already raised over $100,000 for these phone cards.
Thanks a lot.
Now, you have been waiting for it all day. The waiting is over. It‘s time for “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”
Tucker, what is the situation tonight?
CARLSON: Joe Scarborough, I have an answer for you. Thank you.
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