Guests: Richard Wolffe, Michael Crowley, Willie Geist, Kim Serafin, Marc Malkin
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, we have shocking new reports that show how tens of millions of your tax dollars in the rebuilding of Iraq were blown by waste, fraud and abuse.
But first, the war of words rises to a boiling point between George W. Bush and Iran. Today, the president blasted the Iranian government for interfering in Iraq, letting Iran and the world know that he was putting the Islamic state on notice that his patience was running out. Now the United States has launched a military mission to capture and kill Iranians inside Iraq. But the president‘s critics are accusing Mr. Bush of saber rattling and choosing conflict over diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Iranians began celebrating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that led to the Iranian hostage crisis, that on the same day a chilling report was released stating that Iran is closer to producing an atomic bomb than anybody previously thought.
Here now to talk about the possible coming war with Iran and today‘s disturbing developments are “Newsweek‘s” senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe, Michael Crowley—he‘s a senior editor for “The New Republic”—and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Now, Richard, the president has given the “hunt and kill” order for Iranians in Iraq. Is this war of words that we‘ve been following over the past few weeks now escalating into a possibly frightening conflict?
RICHARD WOLFFE, “NEWSWEEK”: No, I don‘t think so. Not yet. There‘s a third way that I think the administration is taking between war and peace, which is—may be best summed up as aggressive containment. Yes, there are going to be clashes in Iraq, as there are with just about everybody in Iraq. But broadly, in the region, they‘re trying to send a clear message, as the vice president told me just last week, that they want to be the bulwark of security in the region, a sort of a security umbrella for allies, a way of confronting and stopping Iran from spreading its regional dominance.
Does that lead to war? Maybe down the line it will, but right now, it‘s a containment, I think.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Michael Crowley, it may be containment. A lot of President Bush‘s critics say there‘s been no subtly to Mr. Bush‘s approach. Over the past few weeks, I want to show you what the United States has done. They‘ve done (INAUDIBLE). They‘ve ordered the deployment of a second carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf. They appointed a naval aviator with intimate knowledge of how to launch an attack on Iran as the commander-in-chief of the Central Command there, approved U.S. military action, as we were saying, to kill Iranian operatives in Iraq. And they also have raided an Iranian consulate in Iraq.
And this is what the president told Fox News regarding the topic of Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We‘ve got, you know, several serious issues with the Iranian government—not with the Iranian people but with their government. One, of course, is their interference in Iraq. And I‘ve made it very clear that we will protect our troops and protect innocent Iraqi people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Crowley, do you fault the president for issuing this “hunt and kill” order of Iranians that are in Iraq?
MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: I mean, it‘s a tough one, Joe, because you can‘t stand by when our soldiers are being attacked, if that is the case. I think it‘s a little murky, you know, and one wants to be a little bit skeptical about claims this administration is making, for obvious reasons.
But look, I don‘t know what good it does for us to get entangled in a fight with Iran. I mean, we can barely manage what‘s going on in Iraq right now, and to escalate into Iran at this point seems just kind of crazy, actually. And it‘s not clear that we really have the resources to take on that fight. We don‘t really have the world behind us.
And you know—and you just wonder what‘s going on in this administration. I mean, there are clearly still conservative hawks who feel that that regime should be overthrown, possibly with military force, or that we should bomb their nuclear program. And maybe that‘s where this is all headed. But it seems to me a very, very dangerous course of action. But the president is in a tough spot. If he does have information that they are attacking our guys, boy, it‘s hard to just...
CROWLEY: ... turn a blind eye.
SCARBOROUGH: But you know, Pat Buchanan, what we‘ve been hearing over the past several nights are a lot of skeptics saying, Well, this sounds just like 2002 and 2003, early 2003, and the lead-up of the Iraq war. And there are a lot of people out there who believe that possibly our intelligence agencies are gathering information and putting the worst possible spin out there on Iran‘s involvement in Iraq.
Do you think that may be what‘s happening? Do you think that this administration is trying to justify a coming conflict with Iran?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I do, Joe. I think they‘re laying a predicate for war in case they decide on war with Iran. I don‘t believe they‘ve decided yet, but clearly, they‘re laying down the idea that Iran is responsible for IEDs that are killing American soldiers. They may be involved in the Iraq war itself. I think Americans—we do have to take down and shoot to kill anybody who is attacking American troops without asking their nationality. And if that‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, what about...
SCARBOROUGH: What about this whole idea that we tell our troops to, basically, hunt down Iranians...
SCARBOROUGH: ... that are in Iraq? You know, we kicked down the door of their consulate a couple weeks ago, which is an extraordinary thing to do diplomatically.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think we‘re overstepping our bounds, Pat?
BUCHANAN: Well, it depends on what exactly we do. If you‘re going after people you‘re battling with, you‘re going after people who are preparing weapons, everybody would agree we ought to do it. But the red line is this, Joe: Is the president going to cross the border into Iran and see that as a privileged sanctuary being used to kill Americans and attack base camps there? And is that a prelude to an all-out attack on the nuclear facilities? We hear that there are 700 targets, a six-day attack, all of this.
I don‘t think the president has given the final go-ahead, but we are clearly on the slippery slope, at the bottom of which that type of thing can happen. Then you go to...
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, you just...
BUCHANAN: ... the character of the president...
SCARBOROUGH: You just talked about a possible war plan of 700 targets...
SCARBOROUGH: ... in a six-day war. Tell us about that.
BUCHANAN: Well, this is what I‘ve heard that I believe Arnaud de Borchgrave—and I believe he used that on Tucker‘s show. I may be mistaken, but I believe I read that. And Arnaud‘s been very much on top of this whole thing. And I‘ve talked to another source just not very long ago, who said if we‘re going to do it, that would be about right. Now, that‘s all I know of this.
But I do think this, Joe. We clearly are using the pressure to try to get the Iranians to do something before the February 21 or 23 deadline, when this 60-day—basically, this ultimatum from the U.N. runs out on sanctions.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. And you know, the Iranians, Richard—if you‘re the president and you‘re trying to decide what to do, you‘ve the Iranians, of course, who are close to developing nuclear weapons, according to the administration, than anybody thought before. They‘ve got a president that keeps mocking the United States. They‘re ignoring United Nations. They‘re threatening the extermination of Israel. They‘re threatening the extermination of the United States.
Is it the Bush administration‘s opinion—is it Dick Cheney‘s opinion, who you spoke with, as you said, this past weekend—that the United States just can‘t ignore that kind of behavior in the Middle East?
WOLFFE: Oh, absolutely, they don‘t want to ignore it. And look, they
the president called them part of the “axis of evil” before the invasion of Iraq. Look, if you are looking, as the administration has done, and what they called before the war in Iraq “the nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction,” it leads you much quicker and clearer to Iran then it does to Iraq.
Pat made an important point, though. They haven‘t made a decision to go to war, and that‘s the crucial difference with the Iraq war, where, essentially, you had the president making a decision about invasion, and then the case being explained an litigated in front of the American people.
Here what you‘re seeing is evidence been brought out, raising concerns, but no presidential decision. And my sources tell me, Listen, this is an NSC and a White House that is overwhelmed with Iraq. The idea that they‘re mapping things out on Iran—it just hasn‘t gone beyond the nuclear diplomacy. Now, that doesn‘t mean to say something won‘t happen. It could even happen by accident. But the plant—the run-up is just so different from Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, but you know, Michael Crowley, it seems to me that we are getting new information every day coming out of Iran. And it seems like—I won‘t say it‘s orchestrated, but certainly, if you were going to orchestrate the justification for war with Iran, the past several weeks have—you know, it‘s been a pretty good PR because we get a new bit of news every day, talking about what the Iranians have done, about what we‘re going to do. Today the news comes out and we‘re talking about these “hunt and kill” orders. Doesn‘t it seem like, again, they‘re just laying one case of top of the other, and they may be moving us towards some sort of conflict there?
CROWLEY: Well, isn‘t this the maddening thing about trying to understand Bush foreign policy after the Iraq war, which is that you don‘t know what to trust. I mean, you know, we know now how carefully they coordinated those stories about the aluminum tubes, and they timed—they timed to get a front-page story in “The New York Times” on a Sunday, and then Cheney and I think some of the other officials went out on the Sunday talk shows and said, In “The New York Times” today, there‘s a story about these aluminum tubes and Saddam‘s rebuilding his nuclear program.
It has potentially the same feel. It may not be the same thing. It may not be orchestrated in quite such a cynical fashion. But the problem is, and the problem we‘re going to have throughout the coming Iran debate, is that people just don‘t know what to believe and what to trust anymore.
CROWLEY: I mean, the way they went about Iraq has poisoned the trust that people have in their government.
BUCHANAN: Let me pick up on that. Let me pick up on that. I think what—look, now, Joe, you mentioned this report that they‘re only two years away from a bomb. I saw the report in “The Guardian” in London, where it says that that thing at Natanz is a joke, it‘s a fiasco. It doesn‘t work. The program‘s in chaos. In other words, no threat.
I think we‘re going to be getting propaganda delivered through the press from people who want war with Iran and from people who don‘t want war with Iran. That is why...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, are you...
SCARBOROUGH: Are we talking about latter-day a Judy Miller...
BUCHANAN: I think they‘re all...
SCARBOROUGH: ... situation, where you‘ve got...
SCARBOROUGH: ... administration people leaking to the press that the situation...
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me...
SCARBOROUGH: ... is more dire in Iran than it really is?
BUCHANAN: Give you an example. Con Coughlin (ph), who‘s a correspondent—I‘ve interviewed him before—says the North Koreans are helping the Iranians here. Is this true, or is this disinformation or information put out by a war party?
What we need, Joe, is this. The Congress of the United States has got to start holding hearings on exactly how great a threat Iran is to the United States of America. And secondly, that Walter Jones resolution—does Bush have the authority on his own to launch strikes across the frontier into Iran or onto their nuclear programs?
These things need to be clarified, and only the Congress of the United States can do it. And for the life of me, I don‘t understand why they‘re arguing about how we got into Iraq four years ago, when they gave Bush a blank check, when he‘s exercising what looks like a blank check right now!
CROWLEY: ... will be a little more skeptical this time around, though, because of the sort of Judy Miller experience. The administration will have a harder time getting their line out. There‘ll be more conversations like these. So that‘s one thing people who don‘t trust the administration can be optimistic about. Nobody wants to be the next Judy Miller, I suppose, is what I‘m trying to say.
SCARBOROUGH: And Richard...
BUCHANAN: Except there‘s a lot of volunteers~!
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, fools rush in, as they say! And Richard, it seems to me that this White House does have its hands full on Capitol Hill. Look at what‘s going on today. Now we‘re finding out that Senator Warner from Virginia, one of the president‘s most stalwart defenders through the past three-and-half, four years of the Iraq war, is now working with the Democratic chairman to find a resolution to denounce this surge. I mean, the president doesn‘t have a lot of capital to play with on Capitol Hill anymore, does he.
WOLFFE: No, he doesn‘t. He‘s got problems everywhere he looks, politically, on the foreign policy front. And look, to take it back to Iran for a second—they thought that there was going to be a demonstration effect out of Iraq, that Iran would fall as a sort of domino because the Iranian people would look at Iraq and say, We want that, too. We want to have this thriving Shia democracy. Well, the demonstration effect has clearly been very different, both at home and in the region. So are they aware of that? Do they know they have a credibility problem, as we‘re just discussing? Sure, they do.
And politically, there‘s no room to maneuver. That‘s why, if the president is going to do this, he‘s going to think of it taking historic action and he won‘t need Congress. He‘ll just have to do it for the history books.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s crazy, Pat. I mean, the crazy thing is this president is weaker than ever, I mean, one of the weakest presidents in decades, and yet he‘s able to do whatever he wants to do in Iraq with this surge, and he‘s going to be able to go into Iran, if he wants to, isn‘t he.
BUCHANAN: Yes. You know, I agree with Richard. I think, when it—in the last analysis, it‘s going to come down to whether George Bush wants to go home to Crawford, Texas, when Iran‘s nuclear program is, in his judgment, still on stream to produce a nuclear weapon.
Joe, this reminds me—I‘ll tell you—Harry Truman, you know, he fired Douglas MacArthur because MacArthur said, Look, China‘s a privileged sanctuary. They‘re sending these guys across the Yalu River to kill our guys. I want to go after China. And Harry Truman said, No. There was a red line. Russian pilots were flying North Korean jets. We didn‘t touch the Russians because we didn‘t want a wider war, even though Americans were being killed by Chinese and Russians. And that‘s what Truman‘s decision was. He fired MacArthur.
But Bush seems to see—Iran, of course, is not China. And he looks at that, I think, as pretty much a target that I think in his heart he would like to hit.
SCARBOROUGH: I think you‘re exactly right, Pat. And of course, the difficult decision is how do you not hit Iran when you have Iranian agents and possibly other people involved with that government killing the U.S. troops? It‘s a difficult, difficult issue. We‘re going to be talking about it much more in the days and weeks ahead.
Richard Wolffe, Pat Buchanan, Michael Crowley, thank you so much for being with us. Really do appreciate it.
And coming up next, a stunning new report that blows the lid off a scandal that involves millions of your tax dollars being wasted in Iraq, as one major U.S. contractor is accused of shoddy work and possibly fraud. Was it cronyism or just bad luck? And should the White House or Pentagon be held accountable? That NBC investigation coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up! Go down on your knees!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: NBC‘s hidden camera investigation reveals how suspects are getting smarter in their efforts to avoid getting caught in police sex stings. New busts coming up you‘ve got to see.
And later: There she is, Miss America, Oklahoma‘s beauty queen in the Big Apple. But don‘t worry, our own Willie Geist (ph) is there to guide her.
SCARBOROUGH: Tonight, a scathing new report is shining a light on what could be one of the worst failures of Iraq‘s reconstruction program. The focus, the Baghdad police academy. It was supposed to be the centerpiece of the reconstruction effort, costing millions of your tax dollars to build. Instead, the result so stunningly bad, it is unbelievable. Unbelievable!
I‘ve been following this story for a couple of months now, and it‘s just an absolute disgrace. There‘s cronyism or something going on over there, and we need to get to the bottom of it.
Well, one person who‘s doing just that is NBC‘s senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers. Lisa, what do you have?
LISA MYERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, by almost any standard, today‘s report is the most damning indictment yet of an American contractor in Iraq. The Parsons construction company has been paid $62 million for work that you have to see to believe.
(voice-over): Imagine if a contractor you hired for your home built a new brick wall that looked like this, or this, or installed plumbing that looked like this, or made concrete with enormous cracks. These are just a few snapshots of the Baghdad police academy, a complex of buildings that was supposed to be a showplace for training thousands of Iraqi police.
Instead, a new 200 page-report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction charges that the Parsons project was a disaster from the start—incomplete and substandard designs, substandard, even shoddy construction, no real quality control.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS ®, MAINE: This is an egregious example of wasteful spending and perhaps outright fraud.
MYERS: Construction was so bad that U.S. government investigators warned last September that the campus posed health risks to recruits because raw human sewage rained from light fixtures and ceilings. Also an issue, missing concrete around all these reinforced steel bars, which could threaten stability of structures.
STUART BOWEN, IRAQ SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL: It looks like 50 years of decay, rather than brand-new construction.
MYERS: In fact, work on this new building was so shoddy, the government decided to spend another $100,000 to tear it down rather than try to fix it. The report says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was supposed to oversee the Parsons project but noted almost no problems, even when this floor was sloping four inches.
COLLINS: In some cases, they actually awarded Parsons merit increases, despite widespread evidence of deficient work.
MYERS: Parsons was removed from the project in the spring of 2006. In a statement, the company claims the problems occurred after the facility was turned over to the U.S. government. The company also says that when notified of deficiencies, it alerted Iraqi subcontractors, which made repairs at no added cost.
MYERS: Today, inspector Stuart Bowen told NBC that this was the worst project his inspectors have found in Iraq. He says that despite hazardous conditions, most contractors in Iraq are managing to meet standards. But not Parsons. In fact, he says it‘s not just this project, that most of the Parsons projects inspected have had serious deficiencies—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Lisa Myers. You know, I‘ve been following this story for some time now, and it really is, it‘s an absolute disgrace what‘s been going on in Iraq as far as this reconstruction money‘s gone, especially for this Baghdad police academy. Here we‘re having these people coming in to train them, to build a democracy in Iraq. They‘re getting shot at. They‘re getting blown up. Their families are being assassinated by terrorists, insurgents and the like. And yet when they go to sleep at night, they have raw sewage dripping from the ceilings. Again, it is an absolute disgrace, and somebody should be sent to jail.
Let us bring in right now “New Republic‘s” Michael Crowley again. Michael, how can the president and how can the Congress give another $1.2 billion in construction aid for Iraq when you see these type of examples time and time again of U.S. tax dollars being wasted in Iraq either by, you know, waste, fraud, abuse or cronyism?
CROWLEY: Joe, it‘s totally shocking, and you know, it kind of boggles the mind that this is still going on. I mean, I think it speaks to the whole way—it actually goes back to the origins of the war, that they didn‘t have planning in place for what to do afterwards. And so I would say the Congress—now we have a Democratic Congress that can actually provide some oversight. I think one reason a lot of the reconstruction stuff has been such a fiasco—and by the way, this is not a limited example, there are tons of examples like this—is that there was no real oversight and...
SCARBOROUGH: But how can this happen? I mean, what‘s happening over in Iraq when you have, again, the police academy, which is supposed to—this was supposed to be the landmark for reconstruction in Baghdad—has raw sewage dropping on beds where these recruits, who are risking their lives to help us—I mean, they‘re living in these substandard conditions that pose great health risks.
CROWLEY: No, it‘s totally shocking, and look, the longer it takes us to get do good reconstruction projects and get the security forces trained, most likely, the longer we‘re going to be over there. So you can actually say there‘s sort of an indirect cost in American lives, when we can‘t get these things right...
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, no doubt about it.
CROWLEY: ... when we can‘t get the infrastructure rebuilt. So it‘s shocking. And look, you know, we don‘t know if this was a fraud or poor oversight, but there are clear cases of fraud. There are people who‘ve gone to jail. There was a contractor who had—who had prostitutes in Baghdad and he had CPA officials coming. And you know, they were pocketing money and buying jewelry. I mean, it‘s been happening—I‘ll say, Joe, the only thing that‘s been well run about this whole occupation is this inspector general. He‘s doing great reports...
SCARBOROUGH: He really is. And Michael, he‘s got an awful lot to report on, and I hope he keeps doing it. Michael Crowley, thank you so much for being with us. It is a disgusting, absolutely terrible scandal we‘ll continue following in the future. And thanks again to NBC‘s Lisa Myers for bringing that report to us.
Now, coming up: Bill Gates drops by “The Daily Show” and crashes the system. “Must See S.C.” is next. And later, more of “Dateline‘s” hidden camera predator sting. Are these suspects finally catching on to the police? We‘ll show you what happened in these new round of undercover busts when we come back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, put the horse out to pasture. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve just got to see.
First up, if you‘re the richest person ever, you don‘t have to waste time. I mean, and you don‘t have time to waste, especially when it comes to a late-night comedy shows. Check out what happens when Bill Gates stopped by “The Daily Show” last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”: I don‘t know if you noticed, but he left in a bit of a hurry. Take a look at the footage.
Thank you so much for joining us. We really do appreciate it. Bill Gates, Windows Vista on sale—oh, he‘s leaving. He can‘t just leave.
And what‘s interesting is, that is the cleaned-up version that we did for television. Here is what actually happened in the studio.
Thank you so much for joining us. We really do appreciate it. Bill Gates, Windows Vista on sale...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, finally, you can‘t keep the president from his Tex-Mex. It‘s another edition of David Letterman‘s great moments in presidential speeches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The
only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you having burritos for lunch?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I love that guy.
Coming up next, are sex predator catching on to “Dateline” and NBC‘s undercover sex sting operation? Maybe so, but they‘re still unable to stop themselves from showing up to the sting operation. We‘re going to show you what happened when a new round of suspects encountered “Dateline‘s” hidden cameras, next.
And later, Miss America takes Manhattan by storm, and our own Willie Geist is there for Lauren Nelson‘s Big Apple debut, plus her take on the Miss USA scandal, straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: “To Catch a Predator,” we‘ve got more of “Dateline‘s” hidden camera sex stings that exposes dozens of potential sex predators across America. Now, if you think you‘ve seen it all, well, you haven‘t. Not even close.
“Dateline‘s” latest sting in Long Beach, California, busted 38 predators in three days, all of them looking for sex with underage teens. Even a warning posted on the Internet that “Dateline” was in town didn‘t stop these men from turning out in droves, everyone from a father of three to this aspiring musician.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is our musician, Sugar Davis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is Mattie.
CHRIS HANSEN, CORRESPONDENT, “DATELINE NBC” (voice-over): This is Matthew Nash, a 36-year-old musician, screen name “Sugar Davis.” He drove about an hour to get here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you doing?
MATTHEW NASH, MUSICIAN: Not bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.
HANSEN: Nash was told he was chatting online with a 13-year-old girl. He talks about getting naked in a hot tub with her, smoking marijuana, and putting oil all over each other‘s bodies. That‘s apparently why he‘s decided to come inside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on in. Are you excited? Yay, I‘m excited.
NASH: Yay. Yes, I‘m—it was definitely a long drive, you know, coming down here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you bring any weed?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
HANSEN (on screen): You didn‘t bring your condoms or...
HANSEN: Why don‘t you have a seat right over there?
HANSEN: I need to talk to you for a minute.
HANSEN (voice-over): Outside, the Long Beach police are waiting. At the processing center, investigators find condoms, baby oil, and a vibrator in that bag Nash was carrying. And he tells the police he‘s married.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been married?
NASH: Thirteen years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been caught doing this before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got any kids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she aware of this type of behavior?
HANSEN: He also tells police he and his wife have been to counseling, because he‘s met others online for sex. Nash pleaded not guilty to one count of an attempted lewd act on a child.
On our first day, some show up but never come in the door, like this man, who doesn‘t like what he sees and pulls on a u-turn, even as the decoy waves him in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he‘s a goner.
Do you want to sit down and get a drink? I‘m just going to go get something really quickly. I‘ll be right back. Did you bring everything with you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome. All right, I‘ll be right back.
HANSEN: This man might have gotten a look at our camera crew behind that curtain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s running. He‘s leaving.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you do me a favor though, really, really quick? Can you pour me a drink and I‘ll be right back? Like two seconds, I promise. Wait, wait, wait, stop. Don‘t you want to hang out in the hot tub?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HANSEN: Or it could be that they‘ve seen our investigations and become suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up. Get down on your knees.
HANSEN: But in the case of this man, we think we know exactly why he doesn‘t come in the house. Forty-one-year-old Matthew Bland (ph), screen name “Bland Matthew,” chatted on-line with someone who says he‘s 13 years old. Bland asks the boy, really an adult decoy, if he‘s ever had sex before and explains the other sexual acts he says he will perform on the teen. He also sends along a picture of his genitals.
But when Bland approaches our house, hoping to meet a boy, we mistakenly sent our female decoy to meet him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You‘re looking for Timothy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, maybe I got the wrong—but this is 5278, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My apologies. I must have gotten the wrong address. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
HANSEN: He has the right address, but, remember, according to his chat, he was expecting a young boy. Bland tries to leave, but the Long Beach police have another plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up. Stop right there. Stop. Put your hands all the way up, straight up. Turn around.
HANSEN: Even though Bland didn‘t come inside, his explicit online chat and his showing up at the house are enough for him to be charged with one count of an attempted lewd act upon a child. He later pleaded no contest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go to position two, open the door, and call out.
HANSEN: Back at the undercover house, a copy machine technician and father of three is coming to the door. He thinks he‘s going to meet a 13-year-old for sex and lunch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a seat. Will you pour me a drink please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome. I‘m just going to go get my bikini on to go in the hot tub here, all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
HANSEN: Meet 44-year-old Robert Salinas (ph), screen name Bob10282001. The decoy online told him she was 13 years old. In his chat, Salinas seems to know what he‘s planning to do is wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “I could get in trouble for making love to a minor.”
HANSEN: So it‘s all the more disturbing when he asks if he can perform oral sex on her and inquires, “Do you masturbate?” He tells the decoy he‘ll come by before he picks up his child at karate and that he‘ll bring sandwiches and dessert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Maybe I‘ll bring ice cream. I can put it on you and eat it off your body.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ben and Jerry‘s Chunky Monkey?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, then, you can lick it off me.
HANSEN: Sure enough, here he is. And he‘s apparently a man of his word.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you bring sandwiches?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Awesome. I‘ll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
HANSEN: Did you get something to drink right there? No, please, have a seat. What‘s going on? What kind of sandwiches did you bring?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chicken.
HANSEN: Chicken. And so you were just going to come over and have a little picnic today, was that the plan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and I‘m going to go back to work.
HANSEN: Where do you work?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work at coffee service. We service coffee machines.
HANSEN: Coffee machines, yes. And how long have you worked there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty years.
HANSEN: Twenty years. And so you left the office today to come over here to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was out doing a service call.
HANSEN: Oh, so you had spare time while you‘re out doing a severance call, and you thought you‘d drop by and see your 13-year-old girlfriend you met online?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HANSEN: For a sandwich?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I knew it was wrong, you know.
HANSEN: You knew it was wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, and I almost didn‘t come.
HANSEN (voice-over): Salinas says he drove by twice before coming in, and admits he‘s chatted on-line before with people who said they were under age.
(on screen): Do you have children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do.
HANSEN: And how old are your kids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a 16-year-old boy, and 11-year-old girl, and 12 boy.
HANSEN: OK, so 11, 12, and 16. And this girl said she was 13.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen, right.
HANSEN: If one of your kids was home alone and you were out working some place, and a guy came over to visit one of your kids, would you be comfortable with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN: So why is it OK for you to do it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s not OK. You‘re right. It‘s not OK. I deserve what you do to me, but I beg for your forgiveness and give me a chance or something.
HANSEN: What do you think should happen to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you should look after me and I won‘t do—watch me very closely. I won‘t do anything. I could report to you guys or, you know, maybe I need this as a wake-up call to myself.
HANSEN: A wake-up call? Let me tell you what‘s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me.
HANSEN: All right. I‘m Chris Hanson with “Dateline NBC,” and we‘re doing a story on adults who try to meet children online for sex. If there‘s anything else you‘d like to tell us about your situation, we‘d like to hear it. If not, you are obviously able to walk out the front door you came in.
(voice-over): Salinas takes his lunch to go and is greeted rather cordially by the Long Beach police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, put your hands up. Stop.
HANSEN: Salinas is charged with an attempted lewd act upon a child.
Later, he pleaded not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: OK, so, you just busted me trying to have sex with a 13-year old kid, but I‘m taking the subs with me. These guys, I mean, they are creepy. I hope that guy gets at least five years in jail. It‘s terrible.
Anyway, make sure you catch part two of “Dateline‘s” California investigation. It airs next Tuesday at 8:00. And we‘re going to have a preview on Monday.
But coming up next here, Jennifer Aniston picks her nose and it‘s a new one. The full scoop ahead in “Hollyweird.”
But first, Miss America takes a bite out of the Big Apple. The newly crowned beauty queen hits Manhattan with our own Willie Geist and speaks out about the Miss USA scandal, next.
SCARBOROUGH: On Monday night, Miss Oklahoma, Lauren Nelson, was crowned Miss America. Today, she hit the streets of New York with our own Willie Geist.
Hey, Willie, how did it go?
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: You know what, Joe? Some correspondents are sent to the war zones of Iraq; others are embedded in fully stocked stretch limousines with Miss America. Well, today I stepped up and bravely accepted an assignment that falls into the second category.
Miss America, Lauren Nelson, let me tag along at a safe distance as she stepped out into the bitter cold of New York City to meet her adoring public for the first time.
GEIST: What are those 10 seconds like?
LAUREN NELSON, MISS AMERICA: I can‘t even tell you what I was thinking. Complete and utter chaos going on in my mind, but, I mean, as soon as they announced my name, I realized, “Oh, my gosh, I‘m Miss America.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new Miss America is Miss Oklahoma, Lauren Nelson.
GEIST: ... today, I want you to be totally honest with me, “Good Morning America,” “Regis and Kelly,” and me, who were you must excited to meet?
NELSON: You, of course.
GEIST: Is that right?
NELSON: Of course.
GEIST: So we‘re on our way to Broadway right now, headed into the heart of Times Square. If you had to pick one show to be in, you aspire to be on Broadway, one show, what would it be?
NELSON: I‘ve always dreamed of being Maria in “West Side Story,” but I‘m sure that they‘ll cast a blonde.
GEIST: (INAUDIBLE) subjects, do you have any requests of your new queen?
GEIST: Oh, did you really?
NELSON: Yes. Nice to meet you. Oh, my goodness. He‘s from my home town and my high school.
GEIST: Your technique for hailing a cab is a little too polite. Sir, this is Miss America. I just want you...
NELSON: It‘s nice to meet you.
GEIST: You know, Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE) Miss USA. Been a little controversy with that this year. He says Miss USA is now the preeminent pageant. What do you say to Mr. Trump?
NELSON: Well, there are differences in the two organizations. Of course, the Miss America Organization focuses on scholarship and a lot on community service and, of course, talent. So there differences in scoring and differences in the things that we do with our year of service.
GEIST: So are you suggesting that you won‘t be dancing on the bar at Marquee tonight later?
NELSON: I‘m definitely telling you I won‘t be dancing on the bars.
GEIST: This is the diamond district.
GEIST: I figured we‘d accentuate your crown.
Do you have a layaway plan?
GEIST: You do?
NELSON: Well, wow.
GEIST: Well, not only did we see some nice jewels, you got some digits.
NELSON: I got some contacts, yes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Let‘s play HARDBALL.
GEIST: Tell us about Chris Matthews.
NELSON: He was tough. He wrote back. He came back a few times, interrupted, and asked some tough questions.
MATTHEWS: I think it shows guts, and guys like guts, and they also like bathing suits on girls.
GEIST: Tell me about your cause.
NELSON: My cause is Be Net Smart, protecting kids online. And it‘s such a timely issue. It‘s an issue that‘s not always at the forefront of our thinking, and so my platforms here are about education and awareness and ways to prevent these online predators from approaching our children.
GEIST: In the end of all of this, what do you want to get out of it?
A year from now, what do you hope you‘ll be able to say?
NELSON: I hope I‘ll be able to say that I bought back the prestige to Miss America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In prosperity or depression, war or peace, there has always been a Miss America.
GEIST: ... things going pretty well with Miss America. She was a little creeped out when I asked her to go on a carriage ride. Didn‘t invite me to lunch, but I thinks because they already had the reservation made for four. Anyway, things went pretty well.
GEIST: You know what, Joe? She‘s the first person in recorded history to leave the diamond district without having bought someone. I even told her you were picking up the tab, and she was polite enough not to buy those earrings.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I really think it was pathetic that you actually offered the earrings, Willie. I mean, I know you all were making eye contact. I don‘t know what you‘re expecting. It was very revealing to me that she really did tell us the difference between Miss America and Miss USA. She talks about Miss America focusing on talent and scholarship and community service and then, of course, Miss USA focusing on sex and lots of it.
GEIST: You know, she did say...
SCARBOROUGH: Drugs, rehab.
GEIST: ... on camera, she will not be dancing at the bar tonight. That was on camera. Let‘s just say I‘ve got to run, because I‘ve got an appointment.
SCARBOROUGH: On camera, all right, very good.
GEIST: All right, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, if she‘s not dancing on the bar tonight, all I can say, I‘m glad I‘m in Pensacola. Willie Geist, thanks a lot.
GEIST: All right, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Appreciate it.
And coming up next, you‘ve heard of skeletons in the closet. It‘s the ghosts that are haunting Brangelina‘s new house. The spooky details next in “Hollyweird.”
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, it‘s time to start working on that Oscar speech.
It is time, my friends, for “Hollyweird.”
First up, Brad and Angelina are sharing their new home with more than the paparazzi. Historians in New Orleans say their new house is haunted. Here now to tell us all about it, senior editor for “InTouch Weekly,” Kim Serafin, and from E!‘s Online Planet Gossip, Marc Malkin.
Marc, what‘s the story?
MARC MALKIN, E!‘S PLANET GOSSIP: Well, it seems that the house that Brad and Angelina having bought, you know, in the Big Easy is actually haunted. You know, the question is, do you find a house in New Orleans that‘s not haunted? I think that just comes with any property there.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. And, of course, Kim Serafin, as if this couple is not strange enough, they move to New Orleans, a lot of attention around that move. And now, apparently, I mean, the city of New Orleans telling us that it‘s haunted. What do you know about it?
KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”: Yes, here‘s the thing about Brad and Angelina. I mean, they‘re a couple that totally understand the power of their celebrity. Unfortunately, the paparazzi has been hounding them since Angelina‘s mother passed away, so it‘s a sad thing. But they get it. And they get that they‘re going to bring a lot of good attention to the city of New Orleans. So get ready for lots of stories about ghosts and paparazzi and a lot more coming up in New Orleans. But they‘re doing a good thing here.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, no doubt about it. And, of course, we have somebody that‘s been associated with this couple before, Jennifer Aniston. She‘s in the news. And she‘s confirmed that she actually did get a nose job last week. I mean, you look at a picture of Jennifer, and you look at a picture of me, I mean, I‘m the guy that needs the nose job here.
What happened, Kim? Why did she feel the need to get her nose cut on when she‘s seen as one of the most beautiful women in America already?
SERAFIN: She absolutely is. But actually what she had fixed was her deviated septum. Now, there are other rumors and speculation that she might have had a breast augmentation. But, you know, let me say, speaking as the girl on the panel here, sometimes there are lucky girls who, when they eat too many French fries, they gain all the weight in all the right places. I think Jennifer is one of those.
I also think that a lot of guys might be perpetuating this story, because Jennifer has finally said, “You know what? Short of letting everybody take a feel, I don‘t know how to stop this story.” So it definitely behooves a lot of guys to continue the rumors that she might have had her breasts done, because there will only be one way to prove it otherwise.
SCARBOROUGH: Only one way. I‘ve seen the “Seinfeld” episode.
And Drew Barrymore is telling “Parade” magazine she likes to run naked through the field in Ireland. Marc, what can you tell us about that? And what field specifically is it that we should go to, to see Drew?
MALKIN: I have a feeling, you know, it‘s just any field that she‘s, you know, feeling. She says that she rides down roads, she‘ll stop her car, rip off all her clothes, and start running through the fields of Ireland. She said no one really sees her doing it. She makes sure no one‘s around. But this is Drew Barrymore. This is a woman who got up on David Letterman‘s desk and flashed him. This is not someone who‘s, you know, a wallflower.
SCARBOROUGH: No. Not at all. I mean, from David Letterman‘s desk to Ireland, I think we have one more reason to go to Ireland for St. Patrick‘s Day this year. Kim Serafin, Marc Malkin, thanks so much. That‘s all the time we have for tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘ll see you here tomorrow.
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