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'Scarborough Country' for Feb. 7

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Joe Klein, Michael Crowley, Ted Casablanca, Dawn Yanek

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Well, Congress bickers while Iraq burns. 

Today the bleak news that American troops have endured the most deadly stretch of killing in Iraq since the war began, over 334 dead in the past four months.  And today, another chopper shot down as the U.S. military reports that a Marine helicopter crashed in Anbar province, tragically, all Americans on board dead, the fifth crash of its kind in three weeks.

Then there is, of course, the war at home, with Republicans shutting down the debate in the Senate over the president‘s plan to escalate that war in Iraq, telling Democrats it is the wrong message to send the troops.  But today, the secretary of defense and the top commander in Iraq told those Republicans that Americans in Iraq are smarter than that.

So who is to blame for the bloody stalemate in Iraq?  Is it a cowardly Congress or a petulant president?  Here now to talk about it is Joe Klein, columnist for “Time” magazine, Michael Crowley, senior editor for “The New Republic,” and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Joe Klein, the death of U.S. troops keep escalating, and yet Congress can‘t even debate this issue on the floor.  What‘s going on?

JOE KLEIN, “TIME” MAGAZINE:  You know, it‘s amazing.  It‘s the first time I‘ve ever seen the Senate not be able to get a vote on a non-binding resolution, just a “sense of the Senate” resolution.  It‘s really astonishing.

And you know, I don‘t think that either party here comes out looking very good.  The Republicans clearly don‘t want to have a vote on this, especially that one—that small group of Republicans who are up for reelection in 2008 and don‘t want to be pinned down right now.

On the other side, the Democrats don‘t want to have a vote on the Republican Judd Gregg resolution, which would oppose cutting off funds for the troops, which would probably get more votes than the Warner resolution or any of the other resolutions.  And it wouldn‘t look too good for the Democrats, it would look good for the president.  So you got a lot of gaming and scheming going on here, and kids are dying.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and kids are dying.  But right now, it looks like it‘s the Republicans at home that are getting most of the blame.  Take a look at this ad that is about to be played.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Remember their faces, remember their names, the Republicans of the United States Senate.  A majority of Americans oppose escalation in Iraq, yet instead of allowing a vote on escalation, the Republicans blocked the debate.  They‘re willing to send tens of thousands more troops to face danger in Iraq, but they don‘t have the courage to face a vote.  Tell Senator Warner, Stop the escalation.


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Joe, what‘s so interesting is...

KLEIN:  Tell Senator Warner...


KLEIN:  He‘s trying to stop the escalation.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, there are a lot of those senators they were showing, like Warner and Brownback, who said the night after the president‘s State of the Union speech that they would not support escalation, and yet they‘re falling in line with all these other Republican senators.  Why?

KLEIN:  Well, I think it was just—it‘s Senate arcana, I guess.  I mean, it‘s just the—you know, the law of the tribe there.  I don‘t know that that will sustain itself for very long because, as you said, the Republicans are being hammered by this, and the situation in Iraq is just deteriorating.  There‘s no question about it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Crowley, do you think the Republicans are going to share the biggest part of the blame here, or do you think Democrats are going to share an equal measure of blame from the American public?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  I think, broadly, Republicans are going to get the most blame.  They already are.  The headlines were terrible for them after this vote.  I think “The Times” and “The Washington Post” both played it as Republican obstruction of the debate.

And we saw today in sort of the second-day coverage, Republicans were complaining that they felt like this had not gone well for them.  But nobody is winning here.  “The New York Times” editorial page today criticized Harry Reid and the Democrats, saying that they had had a role in preventing the debate from going forward.  The very passionately anti-war liberals—and not all of them are liberals—people from across the spectrum in this country want to see a debate on cutting off funds.  They want to see a more drastic debate.  They want to see Democrats pushing things much harder.

So I think Republicans are getting the main burden of the blame here, but I think that sort of everybody is losing and from different constituencies, everyone‘s taking eat.  And generally, I think it kind of looks like Congress doesn‘t have its act together.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat Buchanan, Michael Crowley‘s right and the Republicans are getting blasted by the press.  Take a look at these headlines reporting on how the GOP‘s efforts to kill the debate on Iraq may be backfiring against them, “The New York Times” saying “GOP senators block debate on Iraq policy.”  And then you have “The Washington Post” saying “GOP stalls debate on troop increase.”  And then you have the Associated Press saying that “GOP blocks Iraq debate in the Senate.”

And Pat, it just looks very—you know, it gets worse, with “The LA Times” saying “GOP bats down resolution debate.”  Are Republicans, these same Republicans who saw their party getting thumped this past fall, setting themselves up for a bigger fall in 2008 by obstructing debate on what‘s considered to be the most important issue by Americans?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, they‘re clearly getting pounded by the big media, which is “The Times”—“New York Times,” “LA Times” and “Washington Post,” which have not been strong Republican papers in the recent past.

But Joe, I think, look, there‘s no doubt that the Republicans are being pounded.  But frankly, I blame Harry Reid here.  Harry Reid could have had a vote.  Warner said, We will give you a vote on my amendment, which, in effect, says we are against the surge.  And you can have the majority, overwhelming majority of the Senate would vote against the surge.  But in return, we want a vote also on this Gregg amendment, which says we ought to cut off funds, so that we can get all positions on the table.  Now...


SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, though, Pat, what seems so offensive to me is the fact that, as Joe Klein said, we are talking about a resolution that‘s going to have no legal impact.  And our congressmen and our senators can‘t even get their heads together to debate about a non-binding resolution while more Americans are being killed every single day.  We‘ve got a president who wants to escalate this war.  Iraq seems to dissolve into even greater confusion and anarchy by the day.  It seems like Washington is tragically out of touch with the American people and the situation on the ground in Iraq.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, no, they‘re not.  I mean, they‘re caught up in this situation in Iraq.  And Reid is responsible because he could have had a vote on the Warner amendment.  The price was a vote on the amendment to cut off funds, and a lot of Democrats want that.

Joe, why don‘t we have a vote on all of these amendments?  We all know we‘re divided not two ways but four ways.  Reid could have had that debate.  He could have had votes for two weeks gone.  He wouldn‘t do it because he‘s terrified that the deep divisions in the Democratic Party will be revealed and the fact that maybe a majority of his senators in the Democratic Party would like to cut off funds and get out now.  He doesn‘t want that, so he cut off debate.  He runs the Senate, Joe.

CROWLEY:  Actually, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe Klein...


SCARBOROUGH:  Are we back in a position now where the Democrats are put in power and they‘re once again afraid of their own shadow because they‘re afraid Republicans are going to say that they‘re not patriotic?

KLEIN:  Well, they‘re exactly in the same position that the

Republicans were in about judicial appointments in the last Congress.  One

thing that Pat said—I agree with everything that Pat said, except for

one thing.  And the real Democratic fear isn‘t that you‘d get a bunch of

Democrats voting—you know, voting against the Gregg amendment.  I think

most of them would vote for the Gregg amendment.  The problem is, you‘re

going to get a lot more people voting on the Gregg amendment to support the

president than you are going to get voting on the Warner amendment, which

is mildly critical of the president, and Harry Reid didn‘t want to see

that.  But I got to say this -

BUCHANAN:  Well, why not?  Let‘s have it, Joe!  Why not, Joe?  Let‘s have the vote and let everybody state what they feel and believe.

KLEIN:  I agree, Pat, but—and I think that, really, this is a diversion from the facts on the ground.  And the facts on the ground are these, that already this new strategy is deeply imperiled.  I mean, you know, there were supposed to be three Iraqi brigades coming to Baghdad to help secure the streets.  Two of those brigades, as I said on this program a couple of weeks ago, are Kurdish.  They don‘t speak Arabic.  And you know what?  They‘re not coming.

You know, the—my military sources—and I‘ve seen some open media sources saying that they‘re not coming.  And you know why?  On Saturday, the day that they had the big bomb in Baghdad, there were a series of seven bombs in Kirkuk, and there is a battle looming there between the Kurds and the Arabs for who‘s going to control that oil-rich land.

BUCHANAN:  And there‘s a vote coming, Joe.  You‘re exact right.  But Joe, why not tell Reid—just say, Open it up, folks.  We‘re starting with the Warner amendment, then the Gregg amendment.  And then we got—if Hagel‘s got another amendment, we vote that.  Let the country come to understand we have a deeply divided Senate, as we have a divided country, and you know, let 100 flowers bloom.


SCARBOROUGH:  Fine with me, Pat.  Let 100 flowers bloom.  Pat Buchanan, as always, the romantic on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  But I don‘t think anybody here disagrees with you, Pat.  I think Harry Reid should allow...

BUCHANAN:  Well, no, Harry Reid does!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... all of these debates to go forward.


BUCHANAN:  But Harry could let them go forward!


CROWLEY:  ... want this to go away.  It‘s the Republicans who fundamentally want this debate to go away more, than the Democrats.  The Democrats feel like they have a mandate from the voters.  They‘re supposed to confront the president.  They‘re supposed to speak for these voters that they feel gave them the majorities in Congress because they‘re not happy with the way...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Michael, what...


CROWLEY:  ... Republicans want this to go away.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is Harry Reid...

BUCHANAN:  Michael—Michael, but we don‘t want...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... afraid to have...

BUCHANAN:  ... it to go away.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... all of those debates?

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.

CROWLEY:  No.  Let 1,000 flowers bloom—that‘s fine.  But I just think that if you‘re trying to look at the bottom line of What‘s happening here, I think the Gregg amendment is a little bit of a gimmick.  The Democrats are not—they‘re not being completely intellectually honest.  They‘re a little bit confused about what they want.  But I do think it‘s fair to say, fundamentally, what‘s happening is Democrats...


CROWLEY:  ... want to force this debate, and Republicans want to run from it.  I think...

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what...


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what I think is—what‘s fundamentally happening here is the Democrats are once again afraid of their own shadows.  They‘re once again afraid that if they allow the Gregg amendment to go forward, Republicans are going to put them in a corner, they‘re going to accuse them of being unpatriotic.

And Joe Klein, I want you to take a look at these Republican senators and why they‘re saying the debate on Iraq would be such a terrible thing.  Roll the tape.


SEN. JOHN THUNE ®, SOUTH DAKOTA:  When we send a message like that

is, How is that perceived by those audiences that are going to be impacted

by it?  And namely, our troops.

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON ®, GEORGIA:  The messages we send should not be a message that sends a lack of confidence to our troops or to our commander-in-chief.


SCARBOROUGH:  And Joe Klein, tell us, what did Chuck Hagel tell you about being called unpatriotic or sending a negative message to the troops in these debates?

KLEIN:  Well, I spoke to Chuck Hagel about this.  He‘s a military—

Army veteran of Vietnam, combat veteran.  And he said it was despicable. 

He said that statements like those are the last refuge of scoundrels.

Now, look, you know, a lot of people in the military feel that this does undermine them.  They are very locked in on their mission.  But politicians have missions, too, and it is the mission of politicians that when a military operation goes off the rails, as this one has, you stop it or you change it.

BUCHANAN:  All right...

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me tell you...


SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s wrong with that, Pat?

BUCHANAN:  ... and the Republicans.  Look...

CROWLEY:  You know—but could I...

BUCHANAN:  ... I agree—look, if there‘s one guy and two guys in the Congress I agree with, the Senate, whose position is mine, it is Hagel and Webb.  But Hagel voted with those Republicans, with his party, to say, Look, I will vote for Warner, in effect, but you got to give these fellows their vote, too.  And that is the problem, Joe.  Reid is terrified of a wide open debate.  He wants a little debate on the Warner amendment, we gut the president and then shut it gone.


BUCHANAN:  ... the Democrats aren‘t open.

KLEIN:  You know, when Pat Buchanan starts quoting Chairman Mao about 100 -- 1,000 flowers bloom...

BUCHANAN:  It‘s 100 flowers, Joe!

KLEIN:  ... hold onto your wallet because what‘s happening here—I know—I know the way Pat thinks.  And if he were on the other side of this, if he were Harry Reid, he‘d be saying, My God, the press is whacking the heck out of the Republicans, let‘s just keep on blocking it.  Let‘s just keep on—let them...

BUCHANAN:  But Joe...


KLEIN:  The sad thing about this...

BUCHANAN:  This is too important for that, Joe.

KLEIN:  ... is that this is too important for that kind of politics.

BUCHANAN:  This is too important for that.  Exactly.  It‘s too important for it.  So I agree, get all the resolutions on the table.

CROWLEY:  Joe, can I say something about this...


SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Crowley, though, the fact is that the Democrats are winning this debate right now.  In the short term, Republicans are getting pounded by these headlines, despite the fact Harry Reid is trying to stifle debate.  But in the long run, though, won‘t it be Harry Reid‘s own party, his own Democratic base, and a lot of the types, that will demand that he is taking aggressive action?

CROWLEY:  No, that‘s right.  That‘s already happening.  I kind of hinted at that earlier.  I listened to a conference call that Russ Feingold had, actually, with a bunch of—with a bunch of bloggers a few nights ago, and you know, he was fired up and he was talking—it sounded a lot like Howard Dean did a few years ago—the Washington consultants have their clutches into the Democratic leadership in Washington.  They‘re out of touch.  They‘re afraid of their own shadow, to borrow, I think, Joe‘s line there.  And the rhetoric was very high, and these people are very angry.

So Reid is in a tough spot, and the left is not happy at all.  So I think probably in the broad middle of the country right now, the Democrats are winning.  They‘re beating the Republicans.  But they have this problem that‘s sort of creeping up on their left, and I‘m not they‘ve figured out how they‘re going to solve it.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat Buchanan, you have Feingold quoting me.  Pat Buchanan, I‘ll quote John Lennon.  Just remember, if you start carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain‘t going to make it with anyone anyhow.



BUCHANAN:  Give peace a chance, Joe!

CROWLEY:  Give peace a chance, I think some of these guys would like to say.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  That‘s all Pat‘s saying.  Joe Klein, Pat Buchanan, thank you so much.  Michael Crowley, get your Little Red Book out and stay with us, because coming up next: Is the U.S. government allowing Americans to be killed in Iraq to save a few dollars?  A stunning new investigation by NBC‘s Lisa Myers straight ahead.

Plus: A new twist in “Dateline‘s” hidden camera predator bust.  Those predators are so desperate to abuse young teenage girls that they‘re showing up at the same house at the same time.  Plus, a predator you‘ve got to see.

And the astronaut who drove 900 miles in a diaper to allegedly attack a love rival—the latest in that bizarre case.  Plus David Letterman‘s top 10 list for the astro-nut.


SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight, a frightening investigation into the inept management of the war in Iraq and how it may have cost too many Americans their lives.  Three U.S. Army officers indicted today in a bid-rigging scam that steered millions of rebuilding dollars to a contractor.  Included in the alleged payoff, cash, a Nissan sports car, a Cadillac SUV, real estate, even an expensive watch, among other items.  That money was supposed to go to rebuild Iraq.  But more importantly, that news comes on the same day that families of private contractors killed in Iraq went to Capitol Hill, charging money was put above their loved ones‘ lives.  Here is NBC‘s senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, with the story.

LISA MYERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, this is about the murky and dangerous world of tens of thousands of heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq.  There is no official count of how many have been killed in the last four years, but the number is sizable.  Families of four Americans killed in an especially gruesome attack in Fallujah in May 2004 were on Capitol Hill today demanding answers.


(voice-over):  It remains among the most gruesome events of the war, four Americans, private contractors, massacred and dragged through the streets.  Three years later, Katie Helvinston (ph) is out to prove that her son, Scott (ph), a former Navy SEAL, was betrayed by his company, Blackwater USA.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He went over there really believing in his country, and his contractor had been hired by this country, and he trusted them with his life.

MYERS:  Today, Helvinston and other families took their case to Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was told he was still alive when they tied him to the back of that truck and drug him through the streets of Fallujah.  And that was before they decapitated him.

MYERS:  The families are now suing Blackwater, charging the men were short-changed, sent out without armored vehicles, without heavy machine guns, even without a map.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why couldn‘t you give him the protection and the tools that he needed to complete his mission?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you believe that Blackwater was more concerned about the safety of its personnel or how much profit it could make from the contract?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is profit.  It is definitely profit.

MYERS:  The committee produced this e-mail from the day before the attack, an urgent appeal from Blackwater‘s Iraq manager for more ammo, more powerful guns, body armor.  “I have requested hard or armored cars from the beginning.”

Today a Blackwater official said the company cares about the safety of employees and that these men had adequate equipment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have you skimped on equipment.

ANDREW HOWELL, GENERAL COUNSEL, BLACKWATER USA:  We have not skimped on equipment, no, sir.


MYERS:  These families complain that security contractors are bound by

few rules and that there‘s no accountability when things go horribly wrong


SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, NBC‘s Lisa Myers.  Greatly appreciate that report.

We‘re joined again by Michael Crowley.  Michael, you know, amid all the talk of this mismanaged war and the mismanaged funds, we hear what‘s going on with Lisa Myers‘s package, and it sounds like an absolute mess in Iraq.  What‘s going on?

CROWLEY:  Well, Joe, it‘s just—it‘s just really horrifying.  And I mean, I think to me, the big lesson I draw from this is it‘s just another reminder—and I feel like we—you know, we say this all the time—but we weren‘t prepared for this war.  We didn‘t have the manpower.  And so we had to subcontract our national security.  And even the subcontractors were obviously stretched thin and didn‘t have enough supplies and couldn‘t protect these guys, many of whom are former U.S. military, are really good guys who put their lives on the line for America at some other point.  And it just shows you again—it‘s just another really tragic, stomach-turning illustration of how we were not prepared for what we got into, and people died as a result of it.

SCARBOROUGH:  So who‘s to blame—who‘s to blame for this ineptitude, again, that has cost contractors their lives?

CROWLEY:  Well, in this particular case—you know, I don‘t know all the facts.  That e-mail is pretty damning.  It sounds like it‘s possible that they were not putting the safety—Blackwater was not putting the safety of their contractors first.

But I would say that, you know, the real bigger moral of the story goes all the way up the chain of command to planning for this war from people who thought we could do it on the cheap with a smaller force, that led us to wind up having to have all these contractors.  We realized we didn‘t have enough military boots on the ground.  We needed more people in there.  So we went out and hired guys and basically outsourced our national security to firms that obviously weren‘t quite ready for the task.  I mean, it‘s disgraceful that we would reach this point in this country, but it‘s what happened.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  That‘s exactly what we did, I think, because of a lot of plans that were not made in 2002 and 2003 as we were leading up to the war.  Thanks so much, Michael.  Greatly appreciate you being here tonight.

And coming up next: Behind the scenes of some of “Dateline‘s” most daring predator stings yet.  See what happens when two suspects show up at once.  “Dateline‘s” latest hidden camera investigation coming up.

But first: Hollywood‘s take on the 2008 presidential race next in “Must See S.C..”


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: The presidential elections are still far away, but Hollywood is already planning a movie.  Conan gives us a sneak peek at the all-star cast.  Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Senator Barack Obama will be played by Colts coach Tony Dungy.  Perennial Green Party candidate Ralph Nader will be played by “The Simpsons”‘ Mo.  Potential Republican candidate Condoleezza Rice will once again be played by Snoop Dogg.  Hillary Clinton will be played by Chucky.  Very happy about that.


SCARBOROUGH:  Nothing (INAUDIBLE) about that.  And finally: Stephen Colbert is visiting a congressman near you again, and you may find out more than you bargained for in his most recent “Better Know a District.”


STEPHEN COLBERT, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  Ohio‘s 18th was also home to porn star John Holmes.  He grew up in—I kid you not—Licking County.  Efforts to build a statue honoring Holmes have been repeatedly derailed.  And as of now, there are no plans for its erection.  I‘d like to thank 10-year-old Chip H. (ph) of Daniel Isle (ph) in South Carolina for that joke.  For your efforts, Chip, you‘ll be sent a copy of my kids comedy album “Jokes You Shouldn‘t Get Yet.”


SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, the latest on that bizarre NASA love scandal, including what the family of shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak thinks may have put her over the edge.  Diapers, disguises—how did it all slip past NASA?

But first, “Dateline‘s” hidden cameras are there as police chase down predators as they try to escape.  We‘re going to show you some of the most elusive predators yet and how far police had to go to catch this new group of suspects.



SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, a woman NASA trusted to fly in the space shuttle drives hundreds of miles in a diaper to confront her love rival.  Hey, who doesn‘t?  Tonight, the space agency is in damage control.  How did it miss warning signs from this astronaut?  And the latest twist in this space scandal will be straight ahead. 

But first, “To Catch a Predator,” “Dateline‘s” hidden camera series that busts potential Internet sex predators just wrapped up a three-day California sting, nabbing almost 40 men.  But some of the guys caught around this time thought they had figured out a way to outsmart “Dateline.”  One suspected predator even thought his meeting in a park would be a sure way to avoid “Dateline‘s” cameras, but he, along with dozens of other men, fell right into “Dateline‘s” trap, including one man who tried to make a getaway before getting nailed by the cops. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s walking up the driveway.  Go to position two, open the door. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, what‘s up?

CHRIS HANSEN, CORRESPONDENT, “DATELINE NBC” (voice-over):  When more than one suspect shows up at a time, it poses a challenge for the Long Beach Police.  For instance, when 26-year-old Joshua Larios (ph) walks in the front door, the police hold our earlier visitor in the backyard before taking him in for processing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How was your drive? 


HANSEN:  Larios chatted online using the screen name “DowntownSanDiego” to a decoy who said she‘s a 13-year-old girl.  Larios sends the girl pictures of his penis.  Then he writes “Would you like to see it in person?”  Later, he writes, “If you visit me, would you do anything I ask sexually?”  “Yes, I guess.”

Larios asks the girl to appear naked in front of her father.  “I want you to let him catch you naked and see what he says.”  And he wants her to do something else in front a school teacher.  “I want you to wear a skirt and no panties, and let one of your male teachers see your legs open in class.”

Then, Larios tells the girl about the sex acts they will perform together.  We can‘t repeat them here. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How was your drive?

HANSEN:  And here he is, in our undercover house...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Awesome.  I made us some drinks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You did?  OK, cool.

HANSEN:  ... meeting someone he was told is 13. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So, sorry, it‘s kind of weird.  I haven‘t, like, done this...

HANSEN (on screen): Here, you can shake my hand.  Sir, come here for one second.

(voice-over):  As soon as Larios sees me, he makes a beeline for his car.  Because the police are busy with our earlier suspect in the backyard, they can‘t catch Larios before he speeds away in his $50,000 Lexus.  So an undercover police car follows him down the block.  Just around the corner, Larios is pulled over by a squad car and gives up peacefully. 

He‘s arrested and brought to the processing center.  He refuses to give the police any information without his attorney present. 

Larios and other earlier suspect, Josiah Walker (ph), were both charged with one count of an attempted lewd act on a child.  Larios faces an additional charge of attempting to send harmful matter.  Both men pleaded not guilty. 

Back at the house, 26-year-old Robert Williams (ph) is thinking about coming inside. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hey, come on in.  I made a couple drinks. 

HANSEN:  Williams is a truck driver who chatted online with someone who told him she was 11 years old, our youngest decoy ever.  He sends a live Web camera shot of himself while he‘s masturbating.  Apparently, before he comes inside, Williams wants to go back to his car. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you coming? 

HANSEN:  But taking no chances, the police arrest him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Police, put your hands up.  Police, put your hands up.  Go down to your knees right now. 

HANSEN:  Williams later pleaded no contest to one count of attempted sex with a minor. 

Forty-eight-year-old Frank Sierras (ph) is driving more than 300 miles to get to Long Beach.  He‘s coming to meet a girl he chatted with online. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Forty-eight-year-old male coming for a 13-year-old female. 

HANSEN:  But for this meeting, the decoy is waiting in a park, because Sierras said he didn‘t want to meet at the house. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s now inbound about five to six hours from his house to come all the way here and then take her back up there to where her mother lives. 

HANSEN:  According to Perverted Justice, Sierras had a sexual chat with an underage decoy before.  Now, using the screen name “CaliGuy4U2005,” (ph) Sierras chatted online for almost a month with a decoy who said she was 13.  In his earlier chat, he sent that picture of his penis and talked about making love to a 13-year-old.  Well, this time, he‘s much more careful about what he says, but Perverted Justice explains why he‘s still dangerous. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He is really definitely trying to gain the confidence of this child and make her feel special and important.  And in a lot of ways, the log isn‘t the most graphic, but it‘s very sickening to read when you recognize it‘s total manipulation of a child. 

HANSEN:  All through the chat, the 48-year-old Sierras compliments the girl. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “You‘re the nicest girl I‘ve chatted with in a long time.” 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  “Aww, you‘re sweet.” 

HANSEN:  He says he wants to buy her flowers, clothes and chocolates. 

He even sends her a picture of an audio player he bought for her. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “Here‘s the MP player you‘re getting.  I hope you don‘t mind pink.”

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  “Aww, you‘re kidding.”

HANSEN:  But Sierras also tells her she‘s sexy, talks about her bra size, and about what kind of underwear she has on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “They‘re not thongs, are they?”


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “Oh, those are hot.  That would be cool if you could model them for me.”

HANSEN:  He says he‘d like to spend the night with her and fondle and kiss her breasts. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “I bet they are so beautiful to just look at, let alone to touch and massage them.” 

HANSEN:  When the girl says she‘s visiting relatives in Long Beach, Sierras offers to drive down and give her a ride back home. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “Yes, we could even go to Disneyland or Magic Mountain.” 


HANSEN:  Now the decoy is here in the park waiting for him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe, by doing that, he felt that he could also survey the area, and see who else was around, and what the chances were that this was a law enforcement operation. 

HANSEN:  And, in fact, the Long Beach police have the park surrounded, and we‘re there with our cameras.  According to his chat, Sierras is driving an SUV, but suddenly he drives up in a different vehicle and approaches the decoy. 

The conversation is hard to hear, but he‘s clearly suspicious.  The decoy‘s hair looks different from the online photos Sierra saw.  As I walk over to talk to him, he spots me and runs. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s running. 

HANSEN:  The police make their move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Get down.  Get down on the ground. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.  All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just do what we tell you, all right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re the police, OK?  

HANSEN (on screen): Frank, I‘m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC.”  We‘re doing a story on guys who try to meet children online for sex.  Do you want to tell us anything about what you were doing in this chat with someone who identified themselves as a 13-year-old girl? 

(voice-over):  Sierras says nothing and is taken way to processing.  Then, police discover that, instead of driving his SUV, Sierras rented this car, perhaps to throw the police off.  They also find that pink MP4 player Sierras said he was bringing for the girl. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe a little gift. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, maybe a little gift.

HANSEN:  And he was apparently in a hurry to get here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, along with the directions, it looks like California Highway Patrol cited him for speeding. 

HANSEN:  And it turns out there‘s violence in Sierras‘ past.  In 1987, he pleaded no contest to a charge of assault and served three months in prison. 

(on screen):  What kind of danger do you think would be present for a guy like this taking a young girl for a ride that long, on a trip that long? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He could do anything, and she would be powerless.  She‘s away from people she knows and familiar locations.  He could take her anywhere. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Later, Sierras pleaded not guilty to one count of an attempted lewd act on a child.  Sierras‘ lawyer told us he has no comment. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Make sure you catch “Dateline‘s” next predator investigation Tuesday night on NBC when they travel to Texas. 

But coming up next here, NASA under fire, as an astronaut is charged with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping.  How did they miss the warning signs?  Tonight, her family is talking about the bizarre story out of Orlando and beyond. 

Later in “Hollyweird,” Britney Spears caught up in her own jealous rage.  A nightclub outburst against Justin Timberlake, coming up in “Hollyweird.”



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  Top 10 signs an astronaut is trying to kill you.  Number 10, “Says this is a giant leap for mankind as she tosses you off a bridge.”

Number nine, you turn on CNN and see the Hubble Telescope focusing on your house.  Number eight, she promises to “Take you out like Pluto.”  Number seven, it sounds crazy, but you could swear Mars is following you.  Number six, you were on the “Maury” episode, “I Had A Booty Call And Now An Astronaut Is Trying To Kill Me.”  I have no idea what that means.

Number five, her previous attempts to kill you have been postponed due to high winds.  Number four, she poisons your Tang.  That‘s the last thing you want to do, is get a hold of some bad Tang. 

PAUL SCHAFFER, CO-HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  Especially in space.

LETTERMAN:  Yes, exactly.

SCHAFFER:  But if you have a diaper on...

LETTERMAN:  Thank you.  Number three, she says she looks forward to being the first to walk on your lifeless corpse.  Number two, been getting threatening e-mails from  And the number one sign an astronaut is trying to kill you:  She keeps stabbing you with a pen that writes upside down.


SCARBOROUGH:  Tang, the official drink of astronauts since 1968.  Well, the late-night comics may be laughing, but NASA is in crisis mode tonight, dealing with the fall-out from an astronaut‘s apparent breakdown.  Lisa Nowak faces charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted murder after confronting a romantic rival in Orlando. 

Tonight, she‘s back in Houston undergoing psychological evaluation.  Meantime, NASA held a press conference, much, much different from the ones they‘re used to.  No mention of scientific findings or shuttle schedules.  Instead, there was talk of disguises and diapers.  An official focused on what went wrong and ordered a complete review of their psychological screening process. 

NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski reports on the bizarre story that everybody seems to be talking about. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ms. Nowak, do you have anything to say to your family?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS (voice-over):  NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak left an Orlando jail Tuesday after posting bail and being fitted with an electronic monitoring device. 

It was a world away from her life of brilliant accomplishment.  Last July, she flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  But Tuesday, the 20-year Navy veteran spent the day in a jail uniform and shackles, now charged with attempted first-degree murder. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Lisa Marie Nowak, 10 May, 1963. 

KOSINSKI:  Nowak is also charged with attempted kidnapping of Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman.  Police say Nowak drove more than 900 miles, from Houston to Orlando, to confront Shipman at the airport about Shipman‘s relationship with astronaut Bill Oefelein. 

Nowak‘s attorney argued this was not a mission to murder. 

DONALD LYKKEBAK, NOWAK‘S ATTORNEY:  What she did was spray her with pepper stray and no more.  What we have appears a desperate woman who wants to have a conversation with the other woman. 

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  I think that proving beyond and to the exclusion of reasonable doubt that Captain Nowak actually went to Orlando intending to kill this woman is going to be a little bit of a stretch. 

KOSINSKI:  Police say Nowak was wearing a wig, trench coat, and adult diapers so she wouldn‘t have to stop on the trip, and carrying a BB gun, knife, latex gloves, garbage bags, and cash.  In Nowak‘s car, police found a love letter to Oefelein.  She told police they had a relationship that went beyond work. 

Nowak left court free to return home to Houston, but not to work.  NASA says, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event.  She is officially on 30-day leave and has been removed from flight status and all mission-related activities.”  But NASA is a close family, and two fellow astronauts flew in to support her. 

STEVEN LINDSEY, ASTRONAUT:  Our primary concern is Lisa‘s health and well-being. 

KOSINSKI (on screen):  Nowak‘s family released a statement saying that this is completely out of character.  They call her an intelligent, caring, dedicated mother to her three children, but they say she and her husband of 19 years had separated just a few weeks ago. 

LYKKEBAK:  Reserve judgment on this case until it plays out.  It may be entirely different than what you speculate. 

KOSINSKI (voice-over):  Right now, no one seems to know what could have led this astronaut here and whether she‘ll ever be able to escape this atmosphere again. 


SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski reporting.  And Nowak‘s bosses at NASA aren‘t the only ones perplexed by her bizarre behavior.  Nowak‘s family is expressing shock at the charges, while admitting there were signs that something was wrong.  Her sister tells “People” magazine that Nowak never quite recovered from losing three former classmates in that 2003 Columbia shuttle explosion. 

And come up next, is Jennifer Aniston going to be a mom soon?  The adoption rumors have “Hollyweird” buzzing, and they‘re straight ahead.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, have your private chef whip up something special, baby, because it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, Jennifer Aniston.  “Life and Style” reports the actress wants to adopt.  Here now to talk about that and so much more, editor-at-large for “Life and Style Weekly” Dawn Yanek, and E! columnist, online columnist, Ted Casablanca.

Dawn, your magazine is reporting it.  What‘s the story with Jen wanting to adopt a baby?  Now, where have I heard this before? 

DAWN YANEK, “LIFE AND STYLE”:  Well, Jen‘s 38th birthday is right around the corner, this weekend, in fact.  And we‘ve heard that she is making plans to adopt.  In fact, she‘s been talking to adoption lawyers and telling her friends that it‘s going to happen sooner rather than later.  So, look, she may beat Brad and Angelina to the punch, because they, of course, are talking about welcoming their fourth child into the family soon, as well.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, so, Ted, I thought I understood the reason why Brad and Jen broke up was that Jen didn‘t want babies.  Change of heart here? 

TED CASABLANCA, E! ONLINE:  Yes, I think the story is sheer lunacy.  I could be wrong.  I‘ve been wrong before.  But, I mean, anyone who thinks that Jennifer is going to give up her margarita and nude sunbathing drill to have a kid, I think they probably think Brad and Angelina were just friends while making “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

YANEK:  I don‘t know, Ted.  I mean, birthdays have a way of making those biological clocks speed up. 

CASABLANCA:  This is true.  But I don‘t know.  If she was going to have kids, she had Mr. Babymaker himself to have kids with for a few years.  And why didn‘t she do it then? 

YANEK:  A few years changes everything.  I think we‘re going to be seeing babies in the future. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dawn, how old did you say she is? 

YANEK:  She‘s turning 38. 

CASABLANCA:  Well, in Hollywood, is 78...


SCARBOROUGH:  Turning 38, my gosh, that is.  I mean, 38 in Hollywood is the new 58. 

CASABLANCA:  And her movies aren‘t quite doing what they were doing before.

SCARBOROUGH:  Something like that.  TMZ is reporting that Britney Spears told a New York City deejay to stop playing ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake‘s, song, because it was driving her crazy.  Ted, we have a little bit of jealousy going on here with Britney?  I mean, she‘s having some problems lately with the men in her life. 

CASABLANCA:  I know.  But, listen, you‘re not going to hear this from me very often, but I think we should let up.  Let‘s just let Britney suffer in her Taco Bell drive-through silence alone.  You know, I think that we‘ve tortured her enough, haven‘t we?  She‘s depressed. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Ted, I guess what you‘re saying tonight is, just let Britney be Britney, right?

CASABLANCA:  Yes, it‘s enough.  I mean, if you want to pick on somebody, pick on Paris.  Britney, I‘d say let her off the hook this time. 

YANEK:  Yes, and you know what? 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about you, Dawn?

YANEK:  I think it‘s a very normal reaction for Britney to have, I mean, to see your ex everywhere, to hear his music playing everywhere, I mean, he‘s bringing sexy back.  Hollywood hotties are throwing themselves at him right about now.  I mean, I‘d want to call it quits, as well, right about now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wasn‘t there—wasn‘t it Britney that broke up with Justin though? 

YANEK:  Yes.  But it doesn‘t matter.  It‘s all about the ex-boyfriends, and how they reappear in your life, and where you are in it, what stage you‘re at.  And we‘ve heard this isn‘t the first time that, you know, she‘s been around Justin‘s music.  At the Baby Phat fashion show that she was at last week for fashion week, his songs were playing, and people were like craning their necks to see what her reaction would be. 

CASABLANCA:  Yes, Justin should be so grateful that Britney broke up with him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I don‘t understand the whole Justin thing, but, I mean, this guy‘s hot right now.  Speaking of Justin, he tells “Entertainment Weekly” that he was high while on the MTV show “Punk‘d.”  Ted, how dangerous of him!

CASABLANCA:  I think that it must have been from his days of hanging around Britney, I mean, because that‘s back when he was, you know, a little on the dirtier side.  Now he‘s cleaned himself up.  And, you know, Cameron had a lot to do that, getting him a little bit less skanky and more classy.  And don‘t think that they won‘t get back together.  I think that‘s not quite done with yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think that‘s coming back.  But when it happens, he‘ll start getting stoned again, eating moon pies, drinking Dixie beer, all the things you do when you‘re in Louisiana.  Hey, thank you so much, Dawn Yanek.  Thank you, Ted Casablanca.  Greatly appreciate it.               

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.



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