'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' for February 20

Guest: Martha Zoller, Ibraham Hooper, Bill Miskell, Michael Butera, Wendy

Murphy, Anne Bremner, David Kock, John Q. Kelly

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, has the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway case changed his story once again?  For the first time, we're seeing Joran Van Der Sloot and his parents during their trip to New York City, where the Holloway family used stealth tactics to serve Joran and his father with a surprise civil lawsuit that had the Van Der Sloots worried they were in more than just legal danger.  In a Dutch TV interview, you even see Joran's mom quickly hop in a cab and head for a New York airport in hopes of getting her son before the Holloway team does.


ANITA VAN DER SLOOT, JORAN'S MOTHER:  We want him to do is return to Holland because we're really—we're really afraid that strange things are going to happen, and I don't know how far this family will go.


COSBY:  And LIVE AND DIRECT tonight is Holloway family attorney John Q. Kelly.  John, how surprised, from your guys on the ground, were Joran and his parents when they were slapped with these lawsuits separately?

JOHN Q. KELLY, HOLLOWAY FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Total surprise on both their parts, as I understand it, Rita.

COSBY:  Any reaction?  Did they say anything?  Did they do anything? 

What was sort of the feel?

KELLY:  No.  In fact, it was—both services were memorialized.  We have videotape of Paulus Van Der Sloot being served in the lobby of the hotel, and he's just sort of stunned silent, staring at the papers.  And Joran, same thing.  We have a picture of him holding the papers, just standing there, staring at them at the aisle of a Delta flight on the runway at JFK.

COSBY:  And in fact, we're going to have those pictures tomorrow, John.  You know, from what you've heard, did they go over and did they—did the guy tap him on the shoulder?  How did they actually approach Joran on the plane?

KELLY:  They—no, the—we had our investigator three rows in front of him, just standing there, waiting for him.  Joran was going to be the last one off, to be escorted out by Customs, and we had our man in front of him, blocking his way, where he had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.  And he got served right in the aisle there.

COSBY:  And did he say anything at the time, or what did he say and do?

KELLY:  It's my understanding that when he was served the papers, he said, Thank you.

COSBY:  And that was it?

KELLY:  Yes.

COSBY:  How long had this been in the works for, John?  Because it's quite impressive to be able—you got parents coming from Aruba.  You got him coming from Holland—to coordinate this.  How long did you have it in the works, though?

KELLY:  Everything just happened very quickly, starting early on Wednesday morning, the 15th.  We got word that the Van Der Sloots might be heading to New York.  We then—I then talked to Dave and Beth and got authorization to draw up the complaint for filing.  We then confirmed that Paulus had left Aruba, was heading for New York.  So we had a surveillance team waiting to pick him up and sit on him at the lobby at the hotel.  We then confirmed Joran was leaving from Amsterdam, so we had an agent going from London's Heathrow airport over to Amsterdam, get on the flight in front of him to serve him and served the complaint Thursday mid-morning, e-mailed the index number to both the plane and the surveillance team, and caught Paulus in the lobby at about 1:00 o'clock.  And he couldn't communicate with Joran.  And then we caught Joran when the plane landed at JFK.

COSBY:  You know, let me play another little clip, John...

KELLY:  Yes.

COSBY:  ... if we could, from the interview.  This is with Dutch TV, actually speaking with Anita Van Der Sloot, Joran's mom.


ANITA VAN DER SLOOT:  We thought, Oh, no big deal, it will not happen.  But what is happening now is that somebody here must have informed the family that we're here.


COSBY:  John, I don't know how much you can tell me, but where did the tip-off come from to sort of get the tip because they're coming on these different flights?

KELLY:  You know better than that, Rita.


KELLY:  It turned out to be very accurate information, though, obviously.  But just like you, we don't reveal our sources.

COSBY:  And did you say (INAUDIBLE) I may be catching a red herring, I'm not sure if it's all going to work out?

KELLY:  I'm sorry?

COSBY:  Did you say, Maybe this is like a leap of faith, it may not work out?

KELLY:  Oh, well, you know, there are about 12 critical steps involved there, where anything could have gone wrong either in the—you know, the filing of the complaint and not serving Joran, not serving the father, one being able to contact the other.  You know, my ultimate, once I told the ultimate step and filed the complaint, that I'd have a complaint filed in New York state supreme court and no service made, and I'd be sitting there with egg on my face, looking like a jackass, if you will.

COSBY:  Instead, you're looking like a magician now in terms of juggling all this.  You know...

KELLY:  Well, it worked.

COSBY:  ... we talked to someone close to the Van Der Sloots, and let me put a little quote—this is about the family.  They said, “The family is very disappointed what happened last Thursday.  They feel this was a public relations stunt orchestrated by John Q. Kelly and Beth Holloway and the lawsuit  has no merits.”  Was this just for publicity, John?

KELLY:  No.  Absolutely not.  We feel very comfortable with the cause of actions.  We certainly had jurisdiction over them.  And they were the ones that thought they could flaunt this system, thumb their noses at us and come into our, you know, home court, into New York, and put their spin on things, and we certainly weren't going to let that happen.

COSBY:  So John, what happens now?  How long until they respond?

KELLY:  They have, technically, 20 days to respond because they were served in person.  It's up to them what, affirmatively, they're going to do now.

COSBY:  And do you think they'll respond?  And what happens if they don't?

KELLY:  You know, if they don't, it'll be a default judgment.  Just one thing, Rita.  It's kind of ironic that they're talking about it's a publicity stunt, and they were the ones coming into New York to do their series of interviews and do their PR stints here.  That was their sole purpose of coming here, as I understand it, to do interviews and air what they had to say.  So it hardly was a publicity stunt.  They were the ones seeking the publicity, and they're the ones that'll pay the price for it.

COSBY:  When you talk about default, what can happen legally?  Because the big question is how much jurisdiction?  Can we enforce this?  If they say, Look, we're not going to respond, we're not going to do anything, then what happens?  What can U.S. authorities legally do if they go forward?

KELLY:  Well, if they don't respond, then we can move for a default judgment.  Then you go to an inquest for damages, of which they wouldn't participate in.  A judgment could be entered after the default and the inquest, and we can execute on that back in Aruba against them.

COSBY:  So you're saying that somebody actually could go down there, can say, Look, we're going to collect, if it actually wins in the case?

KELLY:  Absolutely.

COSBY:  And what are you looking at?  How much could they potentially get?

KELLY:  Doesn't matter.  You know, we're looking for answers, we're not looking for money.  We're not looking for assets.  We're looking for a resolution.  We're looking for Natalee.  That's what we're looking for.

COSBY:  Could this be a long road, though, John?  You're dealing with also U.S. courts.  You're dealing with Aruba.

KELLY:  Sure.  You know, litigation is a marathon, it's not a sprint.  This was just the first small step.  We were able to serve them.  We were able to commence the action.  And I've got no, you know, reservations or, you know, other thoughts, other than it's going to be a very tough row to hoe, and we've got a long way to go.

COSBY:  I also understand you have an update on the sand dune search, which we all of a sudden didn't hear anything about.  Where does this stand?

KELLY:  Well, it's my understanding—I talked to Karin Janssen actually several times in the last couple days, and she just got back from Holland, and it's my understanding they're going back in the sand dunes with the Dutch dogs now.  They're not going to use the FBI dogs.  And they're going to use the ground sonar provided by the Netherlands Forensic Institute and finally do a—finally do a thorough search of the sand dunes, the pond location by the racquet club and a couple other places, too.

COSBY:  And when are they doing this?  And why has it taken so long, John?

KELLY:  I don't know.  it just—I guess red tape, and a lot of different pieces have to be pulled together.  But you know, I intend to be down there in the next couple of weeks and talk and see where all this is.

COSBY:  What do you hope to achieve when you go back down there?

KELLY:  What I do every month.  I like to sit down with Janssen and Dompig and see what they have to report and what progress has been made.  And at this point, I've been asked to and I'm sharing some information with them also, seeing if we can advance the ball a little bit.

COSBY:  All right, John.  Thank you very much.

KELLY:  Sure.

COSBY:  We appreciate it.  And good job juggling all those things.  And again, everybody, we will have those pictures tomorrow that John was just talking about, Joran being served actually physically on the plane, and his father being served as he was leaving the hotel.  We're going to have that on the show again tomorrow.

Meantime, another ground-shaking question from the interview.  Did Joran change his story about the night that Natalee Holloway vanished?  He certainly raised some new questions about the other two suspects, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.  And on the phone with us right now is David Kock.  He's the attorney for both Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.

David, first of all, there's some new questions tonight about sort of who was with Joran and who picked up Joran.  Did either of these two boys that you're representing now—both brothers, that's correct?  You're representing them both now, right?


COSBY:  Did either of them pick him up that night?

KOCK:  No.  Absolutely not.

COSBY:  They did...

KOCK:  Absolutely not.

COSBY:  They did not?

KOCK:  No.  Look, I have to tell you that the story that Joran is saying now at the end (ph) again that he called a friend to have him picked up was a story that already (ph) was the last story that he told in a series of stories where he kept changing the versions of what happened on that night, while my clients, from after the third day that they were arrested, they started telling this story that they dropped Joran and Natalee at the beach, went home, and until the following day, they were just at home.

COSBY:  So you're telling me again, David, that they were both at home?  After they dropped him off at the beach, that was it for both of them?

KOCK:  Yes, that's it.

COSBY:  Let me put up a quote because what you're just referring to, David, is the Dutch TV interview—he's done, obviously, a few, but the Dutch TV interview (INAUDIBLE) that he just did, Joran says, “I called one of my friends, and he picked me up and I went home.”  The reporter for Dutch TV says, “Who picked you up?”  And Joran answers, “Deepak's brother, Satish.”

You're telling me that Satish did not.  So what do you make of this discrepancy?

KOCK:  Well, like I said, no—his first story is totally different, that he wasn't even at the beach, that he wasn't even the last one with the disappeared girl.  So you know, I don't know how much really value you can give to this last version of his series of stories.

COSBY:  But why is he trying to say that your client was there, when your client says he absolutely was not?  What does this mean?

KOCK:  Yes, well, you know what it is?  The problem is that he was confronted with a phone call that he made from his cellular to the cellular of one of my clients, so then he had to give a justification for that.  Since that cellular number was Deepak's cellular number, he first indicated that he called Deepak to have Deepak pick him up.  Afterwards, the police confronted him with proof that Deepak was at home at that time on his computer, because Internet records show that.  So then he had to change his story, and since he said, I made the call to that house, he had to give another, you know, solution for the fact that the call was made and somebody picked him up.  So, you know, then the other likely person was then Satish.  It was more a matter of elimination, really.

COSBY:  So what does that say to you about Joran Van Der Sloot?  He's pointing the finger at your—at least one of your clients being some—playing some role here.

KOCK:  Yes.  Well, he's been doing that since early in the investigation, so it doesn't amaze me.  And of course, now again I am not amazed that he decides to stick to the last story that he told, so that at least lately, he seems more consistent (ph).

COSBY:  Are they still friends?  Is he still friends with Deepak and Satish?

KOCK:  No.  I think everybody would not remain friends with someone like that, in that position, in that situation.

COSBY:  What do you think, David, and what do your clients think of the trip to New York, that they came up here for interviews, and also what happened?

KOCK:  Well, let's say if it was my client, he wouldn't have made that trip.

COSBY:  And what's your reaction to the fact that they did and they've done these interviews?  What's your personal thought?

KOCK:  Like I said, I wouldn't have recommended that.  I don't think it's been (INAUDIBLE)  I think one should wait for a criminal investigation to finish, you know?  And I think if you go after publicity, you know, you have to live with the consequences also.

COSBY:  All right.  Well, David Kock, thank you very much for being with us, representing Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.  Thank you for being with us tonight, sir.

And coming up, everybody, find out why a court in Aruba could be days away from clearing Joran as a suspect, and what Joran's parents are saying now that they're back in Aruba.  It's coming up tonight.  And that's not all.  Take a look.

Still ahead: Why would a prison volunteer help a dangerous murderer sneak out of jail?  Police say they'll ask her when they find her and the killer she helped escape.  Wait until you hear how they pulled this dirty dog trick and how a security guard let them slip through the cracks.  It's tonight's “APB.”

And an Arab company may be about to take the keys to America's biggest ports.  Some say that creates a major threat to national security.  Are those people racist or rational?  The controversial new plan is coming up LIVE AND DIRECT.


COSBY:  So will the Van Der Sloots, Joran and also his father, actually respond to the Holloway family civil lawsuit that's now been slapped against them?  And does their trip to New York help or hurt their case?  Joining me now are former prosecutor Wendy Murphy and also defense attorney Anne Bremner.

Wendy, help or hurt their case that they came up here to do some interviews?



MURPHY:  Well, I'll tell you something.  They couldn't have been served in hand, and thus subject to the jurisdiction of New York courts, if they didn't come up, and they couldn't have probably been subjected to the jurisdiction of the New York courts without, quote, unquote, “doing business” in New York.

And people have been saying, Oh, they haven't done business here.  I don't see how they can be sued.  This case is going to be thrown out of court.  Not so fast.  I think the fact that they probably accepted the value of the plane fare and the hotel is enough.  That is enough in and of itself to subject them to jurisdiction in the sense that that's them doing business with New York.  And once you do that, that's it.  You're allowed to be sued.  There may be a difference of opinion about whether this is the best place to do it, but I don't think this case is going to be thrown out.  So they may default, they may let the case be resolved in a way that...

COSBY:  Yes, yes.  Let's get to...


COSBY:  Let's get to that in a moment, Wendy.  Anne, do you think helps or hurts the case?  Wendy brings up a good point.  you know, they probably got the airfare—I—it doesn't—we haven't heard anything that they got paid for the interview, but in terms if took the hotel, you know, got the (INAUDIBLE) the general travel stuff, you know, does that constitute business?

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY:  I think absolutely.  And it just has to be minimal.  And I spoke with one of the attorneys for the Holloway and Twitty families this morning, not John Q. Kelly, but I've talked to him before about this.  And it is—the personal jurisdiction is serving—you know, welcome to the United States.  Here you are.  You're served.  It's part and parcel of the subject matter jurisdiction.  And so this is not like they're saying jurisdiction, you know, out the window.  It's here, and I think it's enough, Rita, and it's important.  I agree with Wendy.

COSBY:  You know, Wendy, let me play a little clip because you could tell that the Van Der Sloots really were sort of taken off guard by the whole thing.  Let me play a little clip from the interview with Dutch TV.


ANITA VAN DER SLOOT:  ... we want him to do is to return to Holland because we're really—we're really afraid that strange things are going to happen.  And I don't know how far this family will go.


COSBY:  Wendy, you know, you hear that, it's like—you wonder, like, whether the tables turned?

MURPHY:  Yes.  I mean, and as well it should be.  Look, they are very comfortable in their country, knowing that their little guy got away with it and that, you know, the cover-up worked.  And that's because it's an us-versus- them thing.  Their citizenship prevails.  That's fine.  But they can't make it about who they know and whose political connections they have, when it comes to a civil lawsuit filed in this country.  They have no power here.  They will be subjected to this lawsuit.  They may default, which means judgment will be launched against them.  There'll be some kind of judgment and money damages awarded.  And if they want that to be in place here, I'll tell you, the worst case scenario for them is they'll never be allowed to speak or come to this country or do the kind of dog-and-pony show they've been trying to do, suggesting falsely that their little boy is so innocent.  So at least it'll shut them up.

COSBY:  Anne, do you think it could do even more than that?

BREMNER:  Well, sure.  In case like this, it's ironic that the hunter becomes the hunted.  And it's going to be more than that, I think, Rita, than what Wendy just described, and that is request for admission—if they don't answer those, certain facts are deemed to be admitted in this case.  And there's civil contempt if they don't comply.  There can be a jury trial on that.  They can go to jail, and all kinds of financial penalties.

But we're looking for a universe of facts right now that no one's been able to get so far, and they can get it through a civil case.  And it will hurt Joran Van Der Sloot and his family in the long run.

COSBY:  But Anne, how long could it take?  I mean, this whole process could take a long time, right, Anne?

BREMNER:  It'll take a very long time.  But you can ask for an expedited trial date and try to have it occur sooner.  Average, a couple of years, which is tough.  But in Aruba, Rita, it could be decades before they have any results.

COSBY:  Well, and Wendy, couldn't it get sort of lost in the shuffle, too, the bureaucratic red tape between Aruba, here?  Who knows how long it could take, right?

MURPHY:  Yes.  I mean, getting discovery in a civil case across continents is a very difficult thing to do.  You have to go through The Hague convention.  It's very complicated.  And I'm just telling you something.  Anne may be right that this is a nice little tool if you want to uncover information, cause people to sit for depositions, get people to talk who are clamming up.  But the bottom line is every single person that we'd like to hear from can just thumb their nose at this case and say, We don't want to talk to you, go to hell.

And if they do that, they will win.  you know, Natalee's family will win the lawsuit.  They'll win a zillion-dollar judgment against these folks, but they won't get what they really want.  This isn't about money, it's about information and solving this mystery and getting someone held to account for what is clearly...

COSBY:  And Wendy...

MURPHY:  ... a murder.

COSBY:  ... does it do that?  It doesn't seem like it gets towards the answers, does it?

MURPHY:  I don't think it will.  It could, I don't think it will because they can just say, We're not answering your questions.  We're not sitting for depositions.  We're not answering interrogatories.  Go to hell.  And the judgment will be lodged against them, but it doesn't get the family what they want because you can't get blood from a stone.  You can't make these people talk.  Cover-ups work, especially when you're in a different country.

COSBY:  Anne, let me play another little clip from the Dutch TV interview.  Here it is.


ANITA VAN DER SLOOT:  We thought, Oh, no big deal, it will not happen.  But what is happening now is that somebody here must have informed the family that we're here.


COSBY:  You know, Anne, what do we sort of learn about the family dynamics and Joran—you know, again, as you just heard from the attorney for Satish and Deepak—different stories.

BREMNER:  Well, absolutely.  And you know, there's that saying, There's no justice inside or outside of court.  I think it was Clarence Darrow.  And then, of course, Alan Dershowitz has said nobody wants justice.  I mean, isn't justice here, in some ways, to keep these people on the hook and to keep them confined in kind of a hell, so to speak, of this case and the consequences of what they purportedly did?  And so I think there's a lot of interesting angles here.

COSBY:  Just from a public relations standpoint, Anne?  I mean, do you think...


COSBY:  (INAUDIBLE) spectrum (ph) that it caused?

BREMNER:  Well, yes.  I mean, look at—you know, this—they're never—the attorneys are never, never, never going to quit.  This family is never going to quit.  Every night, we hear about this, literally.  And of course, Rita, you've been fabulous on this story.  And it's just more of bringing in that whole pressure on this family and that their world will only be ruled by this case.

COSBY:   So Wendy—Wendy, is the moral Deepak and Satish never set foot in the U.S.?



MURPHY:  Well, they're going to be very careful.  But you know, I'll tell you this much.  If there's somebody out there, somebody in Aruba who knows something and desperately wants to talk, cares about the truth, cares about justice, this could be the very thing they need to be able to speak out, whether it's a cop, a friend, somebody that one of these guys spoke to who has been told thus far, you know, because the Aruban government has such power over this case up until this point, to shut up and don't say anything and don't speak to anybody.  With a lawsuit and a subpoena in front of their face, they may well say, Hey, I feel like it's my job.  I now have the power to do it because this is a subpoena from an American judicial proceeding.  And they may well cooperate, and we could well find that we're going to learn more information as a result of this lawsuit.

COSBY:  Hey, great points, both of you.  Thank you very much.

And coming up, everybody, tomorrow, we're going to take you behind the scenes as the Holloway legal team worked around the clock on tracking down the Van Der Sloots as they arrived on U.S. soil.  We're going to talk with the man who actually served Joran the lawsuit.  He did it in person at JFK airport, and we have all the pictures.  That's ahead tomorrow night right here on LIVE AND DIRECT.

And still ahead, everybody, a volunteer at a prison dog training program pulls a trick of her own that cops say helped a dangerous inmate escape.  Tonight, the two are on the run, and now a security guard has a lot of explaining to do.  And is it a threat to homeland security?  There's a major controversy over a U.S. deal giving a company based in the Arab world control over America's busiest ports.  We're going to have the details and the fireworks next on LIVE AND DIRECT.


COSBY:  Tonight, a major uproar over a plan to sell control of six major American ports to an Arab country based—and an Arab company, rather, based in an Arab country, that some worry is way too close to terror.  The Bush administration OKed the plan that would let a company based in the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, to have control of part of America's busiest ports, including security.

NBC's Pete Williams has the story—Pete.

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Rita, the concern of the opponents of this deal say it's not simply that control of the port operations would be in the hands of a foreign company, it's that the company is owned by a foreign government.


(voice-over):  Two U.S. senators now say it should be illegal to do what the Bush administration has done, allow a company based in and controlled by the government of the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, to buy private cargo terminal operations in six U.S. ports, including some cargo screening.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY:  These are critical assets of the United States, both for its security and its economy, and it should not be run by foreign governments.

WILLIAMS:  The deal covers six of the nation's busy seaports: New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and the port of Miami.  Those operations are already run by a foreign company based in London, but the new buyer is Dubai Ports World, owned by the government of the UAE in the Persian Gulf.  The U.S. now consider it an ally in the war on terror, but those in Congress who oppose the deal note that some of the money for the 9/11 hijackers went through UAE banks, and two of the hijackers themselves were from there.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  We have no assurances that this company hasn't been or won't be infiltrated.  And what happens if the government changes?

WILLIAMS:  Some families who lost relatives on 9/11 agree.

PETER GADIEL, 9/11 VICTIM'S FATHER:  It's simply beyond belief that the president would tolerate this kind of insanity.

WILLIAMS:  But the Homeland Security secretary says the deal was approved by several U.S. government agencies meeting at the Treasury Department to review foreign transactions.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  We build in certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to, to make sure we address the national security concerns.

WILLIAMS:  And some in Congress are urging opponents not to judge the new owner based simply on where it's from.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), Connecticut:  We don't want to automatically exclude a company that happens to be controlled by an Arab government which is friendly to us.


WILLIAMS:  Tonight, officials at both Homeland Security and the White House say the deal is done and that the administration will not back down in response to the new criticism—Rita.

COSBY:  Pete, thank you very much.  And joining us now is Bruse Decell.  His son-in-law was killed in the September 11 World Trade Center attack.  You know, Bruse, what's your reaction to this deal?

BRUCE DECELL, SON-IN-LAW KILLED ON 9/11:  Well, frankly, I was very shocked in the post-9/11 world that they would turn over such a big operation to a company that's run by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

COSBY:  Well, what bothers you the most?  is it—would it be any Arab—any Arab government, or is it—is there something in particular here?

DECELL:  Well, the biggest concern that I have is that elected officials, they are being held in the dark on this.  And if they don't know what's going on, I certainly haven't got so much information.

COSBY:  Do you feel, what, that it should go through other screenings?  Are you saying that, look, no Arab company at all should have any, even a friendly Arab government like UAE?

DECELL:  Well, I don't even know that it's friendly.  And frankly, I'm listening to the elected officials on television saying the same thing.  So this needs to be opened up to the light of day.  We have to, you know, have more exploration and be given more information so that we can make an informed decision. 

COSBY:  Does this hit a chord, too?  You know, you lost your son in, you know, in 9/11.  Does this hit a chord sort of emotion, I would imagine?  And you say, “Why are they doing this?” 

DECELL:  Well, the thing that bothers me the most is because, from the point of view that I see what the administration is doing is, on many fronts, the borders are wide open, a million people a year walk in across the borders. 

They have a visa waiver law with countries in Europe where they have high Muslim concentrations of people who are rioting.  They can come and get off a plane, and there's no interior enforcement.  They get off the plane and walk out of the airport, and they might as well be citizens.  Nobody's looking for them.

COSBY:  Which I'm sure hurts like a chord to you, especially. 

DECELL:  Well, it does to me.  And also I'm putting forth a lot of effort trying to secure the country so that other people don't have to go through the pain that the 3,000 people that were murdered on 9/11 went through. 

COSBY:  Let me play a little clip.  This is, of course, our homeland security chief talking about this new plan.  This is what he had to say. 


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  We have the FBI involved.  We have the Department of Defense involved, of what the challenges are.  We have, in fact, dealt with this port before because we deal with it overseas as part of our comprehensive global security network. 


COSBY:  Bruce, do you have faith that the U.S. government is doing all the checks?

DECELL:  Listen...

COSBY:  You're shaking your head.  You're shaking your head hearing that.

DECELL:  The FBI was involved on 9/11.  The Defense Department, I heard Donald Rumsfeld say at the 9/11 hearing that he didn't think that it was his job to protect American soil.  So this administration is out of control.  They looked at the 3,000 people killed on 9/11 as just the cost of doing business for them. 

COSBY:  Well, our prayers are with us.  And we appreciate all your fights that you're doing in your son-in-law's memory.  Thank you very much. 

DECELL:  Thank you for having me.

COSBY:  And some say, of course, that it makes no sense at all to turn over a sensitive part of America's security to an Arab country, especially during these trying times.  A lot of people agree with Bruce. 

Others on the other hand say that that sounds just racist.  Joining me now is Ibraham Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and also radio talk show host Martha Zoller. 

Martha, what do you think?  Is it dangerous time?  Should we be doing this?

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, I think it's really a bad idea and it needs more review.  In addition to the six ports they're talking about, there are contracts in the company that was bought out of Great Britain that had to do with two contracts with the Department of Defense and with the United States Army moving equipment. 

I just think that this is a bad idea, not because of any racial issues or anything like that.  It's that we need to make sure that on port security, which was something that was a concern that we're not doing enough of it, that we're not handling our own national security.  And that's what it comes right down to.  That's what I'm hearing from my listeners.  That's what makes sense. 

COSBY:  Ibraham, before (INAUDIBLE) let me a play little clip from New York Senator Chuck Schumer.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  Only 5 percent of the containers that come into this port are inspected by the United States.  The other 95 percent in two weeks will be inspected by a company owned by the government of Dubai, and Dubai has had too much intertwinement with terrorism. 


COSBY:  You know, when you look back, during such a sensitive time—we just heard from Bruce who lost a son-in-law—why do this?

IBRAHAM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS:  Well, I think what we're seeing is a knee-jerk, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim political response, because the real response to this is not coming from security personnel.  They say they're OK with the deal, that they're satisfied that all security measures will be adhered to. 

You're seeing it from political groups and politicians trying to score points, and I don't think that's what we want to see in the post-9/11 era. 

COSBY:  Martha, is it all politics, Martha? 

ZOLLER:  Well, my problem with the whole process is, is there has been 1,500 requests of doing business with foreign companies that have came through CFIUS, which is the group that handles this.  They've only turned down one.

I think that this is not a very strong screening process.  And I think, in a post-9/11 world, maybe this company is the best company to run our ports, but I don't think this decision can be made without more investigation. 

I realize they're one of the best in the world, but the company they took over has been the best in the world and has been our ally for more than 150 years.  And, you know, that's what bothers me about this. 

It seems to have come about quickly.  We need to look in it more closely.  We can't turn our ports over. 

I though the guest you had before we started, Rita, made a very good point, is that we're not securing our borders, we're not securing our ports.  And those things need to be done. 

HOOPER:  And we're not turning our ports over to anybody.  Things will be relatively unchanged.  The same longshoremen that unload the ships now will unload them when the new company takes over. 

ZOLLER:  But why not have more investigation? 

HOOPER:  Just about everything will stay—have investigations, but we didn't investigate for six years when a foreign company was doing the same port operations. 

Senator Schumer says they're going to do screening.  They're not doing screening.  DHS does screening.  They hire longshoremen.  They keep the operations going.

ZOLLER:  But then a country that was not...


COSBY:  But, Ibraham, let me show you.  It says the winning bid went to DP World—of course this company—for $6.8 billion.  What do you do, you say Syria gives us the best bid, Iran gives us the best bid, we go to them? 

HOOPER:  It's being portrayed as if there's going to be keffiye-clad guys with AK-47s at checkpoints in Baltimore. 

ZOLLER:  But the problem is we have to interface... 

HOOPER:  I mean, this isn't going to happen.


COSBY:  But, you guys, let me show another fact.  UAE was one of three countries to support the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.  This same exact company, Dubai Ports, is also running the largest port terminal in Venezuela, another country that isn't particularly friendly of the U.S. 

I mean, Martha, when you look at that, is this really the right company? 

ZOLLER:  Well, and also, we will be interfacing our Coast Guard procedures and those kinds of things with this company.  Then they're going to have information, because they will have to cooperate with us on that.  But who knows who that information will get in the hands of?  That's what bothers me. 

I think this is something that we ought to handle within our borders with our own companies, and use it, and try to keep this kind of business home.  I'm not an isolationist.  But I think when it comes to national security, we need to be very sure, especially when it looks like two Army contracts are involved in this, too, we need to be very sure about that. 

COSBY:  And I'm going to ask you both, really quick.  Do you think this is going to go through—I mean, the White House says it's basically a done deal.  Do you see any way it's going to change, Ibraham, real quick? 

HOOPER:  I don't know where it's going to go at this point, but I don't think it's the message we want to send to the Muslim world that no Arabs, no Muslims need apply. 

COSBY:  No, and actually, that is a good point.  There's a lot of good Muslims out there.  The question is at this point.

Martha, what do you say?

ZOLLER:  Well, there a lot of good Muslim-Americans.  There's a lot of good Muslims everywhere, and that's what we have to remember.  But we still have to do what's in the best interest of United States of America. 

COSBY:  All right, guys, thank you very much.

ZOLLER:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And there are new threatening audiotapes out tonight, one from Usama bin Laden and another from his deputy.  They include an invitation to President Bush that some say could be a veiled warning. 

Here's NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  In Afghanistan today, anti-Western students demonstrated their support for Usama bin Laden, as an Islamic Web site posted the new threats from bin Laden and Zawahiri, excerpts not broadcast when the tapes first aired on Al-Jazeera last month. 

Most likely recorded in January, Zawahiri invites President Bush to convert to Islam. 

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, AL QAEDA LEADER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):  Despite all your crimes, foolishness, and black history, I offer you Islam. 

MITCHELL:  An invitation experts say could actually be a warning. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We believe it is part of a greater warning cycle that we would see in the run-up to an attack. 

MITCHELL:  On his newly released video, Zawahiri also takes aim at Pakistan's president, Musharraf. 

AL-ZAWAHIRI:  I say to him, your American masters are fleeing from Iraq and Afghanistan, so await a day of accounting for the Muslim blood you have spilt.

MITCHELL:  And, for the first time, bin Laden's deputy brags about escaping U.S. and Pakistani forces four times, a cruise missile attack on an Afghan training camp in August 1998, at Tora Bora in December 2001 after 9/11, a firefight with a Pakistani army in March 2004, and January 18 when he admits his family was the target. 

On his audiotape, bin Laden says he will never be taken alive. 


MITCHELL:  The English translator is an American wanted by the FBI, Adam Gadahn, seen here as a teenager in Southern California. 

U.S. Officials say the Zawahiri and bin Laden messages are aimed at rallying their followers and discouraging Americans about Iraq, but they don't know whether it's just propaganda or a signal to supporters of another attack. 

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington. 


COSBY:  Andrea, thank you.

And still ahead, little girl lost.  You're looking at the last known tape of a 12-year-old girl who's been missing for a month.  Police thought the trail had gone cold until suddenly the girl's backpack showed up out of nowhere recently.  The cops want to crack this case.  They're going to join us coming up, and they're going to give us some new leads. 

And a nationwide manhunt for a prison volunteer and a killer con who cops say she helped escape.  Wait until you hear how they got out and why a prison guard may also be to blame.  That's all coming up.


COSBY:  Developments tonight in an “All-Points Bulletin” for a convicted killer and the woman whose tricks helped him sneak out of jail. 

John Manard escaped from a correctional facility in Lansing, Kansas, more than one week ago.  He was serving time for murder.  Cops say Toby Young, a volunteer in a prison dog-training program, put him in a dog crate, loaded that crate into her van, and then she drove away. 

Now, it turns out that a prison guard slip-up may be to blame.  Joining us now by phone is Bill Miskell.  He's a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections. 

Mr. Miskell, did your prison guard even check the van when Toby Young was driving out? 

BILL MISKELL, KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS:  No, the indications are from the evidence that we've been able to develop over the course of the last seven days is that the officer who was stationed at that post did not follow posted security procedures for inspecting that van. 

COSBY:  And obviously, I would assume the procedures are, what, to check it top to bottom, right?  What did he do, just wave and say bye to his pals? 

MISKELL:  He looked at the van.  He looked at, as they loaded the box into the van, he was observing the van, but he did not check the van in accordance with procedures, no. 

COSBY:  And now I understand we also have some pictures of the guy, of Mr. Manard.  Tattoos all over him.  Could the tattoos hopefully be the key to catching this guy?  I mean, they're pretty bold here. 

MISKELL:  Well, certainly, the tattoos are going to be one method of identification once he is taken into custody.  Whether or not they're actually going to assist in the capture, the majority of those tattoos are on parts of his body that would normally be covered, his chest, his belly, his shoulders, his tricep area.  There are tattoos on his forearms that are all very distinctive and that may assist in identifying him. 

COSBY:  You know, it sounds like this was pretty well-planned out.  In fact, like you point out, he may not even be in prison clothes anymore. 

Let me show some of things that it's believed that this woman, Toby Young—this is, again, the woman in this dog program—she bought, we know, it sounds like an electric razor, two guns missing from her house.  And it's believed, what, that she had $10,000 on her?  Does this sound like something that was obviously planned for a bit of time? 

MISKELL:  This has been planed well in advance, and it was a well-planned escape plan.  The other thing that we believe that Toby Young purchased within the several weeks prior to the escape on the 12th of February was some kind of another vehicle that has been described to us as being a 1998 through 2000 Chevrolet SUV. 

And certainly, in the northeast Kansas-northwest Missouri area, we have been attempting to identify anyone who may have sold her that vehicle so that we can get a much better description of it, get a vehicle identification number, and use that in helping track where they might be. 

COSBY:  You know, as we look at the picture of these two, what was going on?  Was there a romantic relationship happening or developing?  She brought in the dog and suddenly fell in love? 

MISKELL:  Well, what we know is that she started the Safe Harbor Prison Dog program back in August of 2004 and that John Manard had been an inmate dog handler for about a year in the Safe Harbor Prison Dog program. 

Toby Young worked with a number of inmates throughout the Lansing correctional facility who had been approved for participation in this Safe Harbor Prison Dog program. 

COSBY:  But do we think something happened here more, that obviously she got somehow attached to this particular inmate?  What's her family saying tonight? 

MISKELL:  Well, her family, I think, is in shock.  I am reluctant to speak for them, but the family and the staff at the Lansing correctional facility are trying to figure out what might have happened for her to be involved in this event. 

COSBY:  And what's going to happen, real quickly, to that guard -- 10 seconds—security guard?

MISKELL:  We have proposed his termination.  We announced that today. 

COSBY:  Sounds like a good plan.  Thank you very much, sir.  We appreciate it. 

Well, authorities say that John Manard and Toby Young are armed and dangerous, as you just heard.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Lansing correctional facility at 913-727-3235.  Again, 913-727-3235, if you have any information at all tonight. 

And there's a lot coming up here on MSNBC this evening.  Let's check in with Joe Scarborough for a preview of what's coming up in a few minutes on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe? 


And talking about shoddy security, as you know, the United States of America is turning over security to some of its most important ports, including the port in New York City, to a country that had ties to 9/11, to two of the hijackers of 9/11, a country that was the staging area for a lot of the developments before 9/11, and to a country that helped ship nuclear components to Iran, and North Korea, and Libya. 

Not only that, I mean, they're talking now about continuing this. 

And, again, there a lot of people in Washington, D.C., very angry about it.  We're going to be discussing that tonight, Rita, and also going to be talking about how a major college campus voted down a memorial to a World War II hero because they said Marines were not people that needed to be looked up to.  We're going to be talking about that and much more in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.” 

COSBY:  Sure a lot of people are going to be furious about that one! 

Joe, thank you very much. 

And still ahead, a big clue in the search for a little girl.  But is it really a welcome sign or is it a sign of something sinister?  That's coming up next.


COSBY:  And tonight a potential breakthrough, a curious clue in the search for a missing girl.  Twelve-year-old Amber Harris vanished just after school after getting off a school bus in Omaha, Nebraska, back in November.  You can see her here in this surveillance video. 

She called her parents to say she would be late, but she never came home.  After more than two months of searching, a man discovered Amber's backpack in his trash.  Omaha police are hoping it will lead them now to Amber. 

Joining me now is Captain Michael Butera.  He's with the Omaha police department. 

You know, Captain, first of all, was there anything interesting at all on the backpack, inside the backpack, any signs of foul play? 

CAPTAIN MICHAEL BUTERA, OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Well, Rita, at this point, we're looking at the possibility of this backpack obviously being Amber's.  We have a tentative identification of some of the things in the backpack as being hers, but we haven't had the opportunity to forensically examine those objects, so we aren't for certain that it's hers. 

COSBY:  Is there a good chance it's hers?  It sounds like it's being reported pretty much that it is hers.  Is there a good chance, from indications there was a notebook and something with her handwriting in it?  It sounds like there's some pretty strong clues? 

BUTERA:  Yes.  Again, her parents have tentatively identified the items in the bag as being hers.  But, again, we have to forensically examine all of those items before we can make a definitive decision whether or not it's hers or not. 

COSBY:  Tell us again, Captain, how this came about.  What, somebody just called in anonymously and said what? 

BUTERA:  Yes, a party called in and said that he had found a backpack that he believed to have been belonging to Amber Harris.  And as a result of that, officers and detectives went to the scene, collected the evidence, and it's in the process of forensically being examined. 

COSBY:  And again, is this person, the person who called, tied somehow

·         do we believe he may be a suspect in the case?  It's kind of strange, all of a sudden this little girl's stuff found in his trash? 

BUTERA:  We've conducted extensive interviews on this case, including the person who located the backpack.  And at this point, we do not believe that he is a suspect in the case. 

COSBY:  All right, Captain, if you could stick with us.  We're going to be with you right after the break talking about some other clues in this case.  Stick with us, everybody.


COSBY:  And, again, you're looking at the last-known video of little 12-year-old Amber Marie Harris who was last seen getting off a public school bus around 5:45 in November and has not been seen since.  But now her backpack has just been found.

We continue with Captain Mike Butera of the Omaha police department.  Captain, any friends on the bus give any clues?  Like, who was really the last person to see her? 

BUTERA:  The kids are on the bus, friends, and students, and the bus driver, were the last to see her.  We've interviewed them several times.  Our initial indication was maybe that she had run away.  But then, as time progressed, we became more concerned that it wasn't in fact a voluntary situation but there may be something else involved. 

COSBY:  Did they say there was anything unusual about her that day or if she had a boyfriend? 

BUTERA:  Nope, it seemed like it was a normal day.  She seemed to be a normal 12-year-old child that up and vanished. 

COSBY:  You know, the background, you have to—of course, you always look at, you know, whether something domestic.  I know both her parents took a polygraph, but her father has an arrest record.  He was arrested 22 years ago for raping a girl and was arrested several times for DUI. 

Is he a suspect or should he be? 

BUTERA:  Well, again, at this point, Rita, we've followed up on hundreds of leads and interviewed hundreds of people, including Amber's friends, parents, associates, any other neighbors.  And so we have again thoroughly followed up on these leads up to this point, including polygraph of her parents and interviews with her parents. 

COSBY:  All right, Captain, thank you very much.  I hope you get some answers. 

And again, everybody, if you have any information on the whereabouts of Amber Harris, please call the Omaha police department.  It's 402-444-5600.  You can also call 1-800-78-CRIME.  Again, 1-800-78-CRIME.  If you have any tips, please call in.

And, everybody, that does it for me on LIVE & DIRECT.  I'm Rita Cosby.  That does it for me tonight.  Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” starts right now.

Joe, take it away.



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