DAN ABRAMS, HOST: We are following up on a story you mentioned in your program. There is breaking news tonight. An explosive allegation that could hurt the campaign of Rudy Giuliani and, at the least, embarrass the parent company of FOX News Channel. Late today, book publisher, Judith Regan filed $100-million lawsuit claiming, among other things that a senior executive from News Corps encouraged her to mislead federal investigators. The motive she says, to protect Rudy Giuliani and his bid for the presidency. Now, Regan had an affair with Bernard Kerik who was New York Police commissioner under Giuliani. When President Bush nominated Kerik to be Homeland Security chief in 2004, Regan claims an exec from News Corps advised her not to disclose that to federal investigators, not just to protect Kerik, she claims, but to protect Kerik‘s long-time mentor and champion Rudy Giuliani. The lawsuit says, quote:
“A senior executive at the News Corporation organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani‘s presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.”
Her lawyers say they have evidence to back it up. Regan is suing after being fired from Harper Collins which is owned by News Corps. after the implosion of the controversial book, an interview which she oversaw. The question now, how serious is this for Rudy Giuliani‘s presidential campaign and could this actually mean that one or more executives at News Corps could actually be prosecuted? Here now Aitan Goelman, former federal prosecutor. Joan Walsh, editor and chief of Salon.com. MSNBC analyst, Pat Buchanan and Robert Greenwald, the film maker who directed “Outfoxed:
Robert Murdock‘s War on Journalism.” All right. Thanks to all you for coming on. Appreciate it. All right. Pat, how big a deal could this be for Rudy‘s campaign?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it‘s a serious matter in this sense. There are a lot of professional people and others in the party who are looking at Rudy Giuliani as the potential nominee in the race against Hilary Clinton. And they‘re going to say to themselves tonight and tomorrow—hey, wait a minute, are we going to nominate somebody and have some explosion go off under him because of this Kerik mess? And now something new has been added to it. Down the road which could kill our nomination. So, it‘s not good news for Rudy Giuliani. I don‘t see anything hard here now. It does look like Judith is putting a shot across the bough and telling the boys to negotiate. But it can‘t be good news to Rudy. It‘s just how bad it is.
ABRAMS: Let me read, this is from the lawsuit, Joan. Another News Corps executive, meaning a second News Corps executive, similarly advised Regan not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government‘s investigation of Kerik. Now, look, Joan, we‘ve been talking about Bernie Kerik for many months now in connection with Rudy Giuliani. But, you know, this is the first time we‘re hearing someone specifically say—hey, Kerik, Giuliani, don‘t say something about Kerik because it could hurt Giuliani.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes. I think it‘s potentially devastating, Dan. I mean, for one thing, you‘ve got Rudy already winning the FOX News primary. I mean, the “New York Times” showed it this summer. He had 25 percent more air time than Romney and 50 percent more air time than McCain. They love him. The second and I think even more devastating thing is if this means that Judith Regan is threatening to talk, and I don‘t think this is the only thing that Judith Regan knows. She is an intimate of Bernie Kerik who is an intimate at Rudy Giuliani. They have a lot of steamy details in all of their background. And I think if she‘s willing to say this about her former employers, she may be willing to tell a lot of secrets about Bernie Kerik and it‘s not good.
ABRAMS: Well, I should say, Joan, to follow up on that point, there was a gossip item. And again, we should emphasize it was a gossip item the “Daily News” and Rashem Malough (ph) back in July which talked about Judith Regan and it said—the tapes, meaning she has audiotapes, not only bolster her position against News Corps but may prove damning to more than a few FOX executives. So, if that‘s true, it sounds, Joan, like what she may have here is actual tapes of News Corps executives saying to her, hey, don‘t say what you know about Bernie Kerik to protect Giuliani?
WALSH: She is an ambitious woman. She‘s a smart woman. She didn‘t get where she was by rolling over. I‘m sure as things went bad for her, she collected everything she had. And, you know, she‘s a publisher. She works on books. I‘m sure she has tapes. And this is bad news.
ABRAMS: Let me ask - alright. Before I get to Aitan and Robert on this, Pat, do you put out a statement if you‘re Giuliani? Do you respond to this?
BUCHANAN: No, you don‘t, not at all. You just say there‘s nothing to it. I don‘t know what the lady‘s talking about. I‘ve got nothing to do with the suit. I‘m moving on and you don‘t say a word.
ABRAMS: That‘s what they‘ve told us, actually. No response tonight. All right. Aitan, let‘s talk law here. If you have News Corps executives, a parent of FOX News Channel telling Judith Regan not to disclose what she knows about Bernie Kerik, is that a crime?
AITAN GOELMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure could be. I mean, you could make a witness tampering case, could make obstruction of justice case. You know, I read the complaint, Dan, and I didn‘t see whether it was federal investigators or state investigators that Judith was supposedly talking to at the time. You know, Kerik pled guilty the Manhattan, I mean the Bronx D.A. state case and now he‘s been indicted federally. So, there‘s more than one investigation that could be implicated here.
ABRAMS: But, all we know now Aitan is this lawsuit, right? What kind of evidence do you actually need here to lead the prosecutors to file a case? Let‘s put aside a guilty verdict. But what do you need? If you are the prosecutor and you see this lawsuit and you say oh, boy, this may end up on our desk, what do you need from Regan to file a case against the News Corps executive?
GOELMAN: Well, I mean, you‘re not supposed to file cases as a prosecutor if you don‘t think you can win it. And I think that, you know, Judith Regan is kind of an inherently incredible witness, especially given the fact that she‘s asking for $100 million in this lawsuit. You have a bias issue there. And, unless she does have tapes or emails or something to back up the claim that, you know, these executives told her to lie to investigators, it turns into a “He said, she said case. Then the “She said” part doesn‘t seem all that strong.
ABRAMS: All right. Here, Robert Greenwald, let me ask you about this, this is again from the lawsuit it says - “As is typically done when FOX News on-air talent and commentators receive their talking points, this executive attempted to influence any information that Regan might be asked to give regarding Kerik.” I mean, it sounds to me like, you know, they are trying to link this lawsuit - the comments that are often made to FOX News on-air talent and what she may have been told to say with regard to Kerik.
ROBERT GREENWALD, FILMAKER: Well, remember, it‘s more than comments that they make to on-air talent. They have a pattern and we showed this in “Outfox” of written memos telling the on-air talent and the producers and the writers and the editors what political position to take. So, there‘s a clear trail of that in the past. Now, again, bear in mind, Sean Hannity gives a fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. We‘ve seen before the number of hours that Rudy Giuliani is on the air on FOX. So, it‘s actually part of a large and a very open, until now, political connection between Rudy and FOX.
ABRAMS: And you mentioned that. Let me read again from the lawsuit. “Defendants knew”—this is News corps, “they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her.” I mean, Pat, look, there‘s definitely an ax to grind here. No doubt about that, right?
BUCHANAN: Well, look, this is a very tough lady. I met Judith Regan and she‘s a tough accomplished lady who feels she‘s been badly used and abused.
ABRAMS: And a Conservative.
BUCHANAN: And she‘s fighting back, yes. And she‘s a - and I mean, she‘s published an awful lot of people and she‘s fighting back. This looks to me much more like really a shot across the bough saying, look, you fellows better come and talk because this is serious. And I‘m going to fight and it‘s going to be blood all over that courtroom and a lot of it‘s going to be friends of yours. And they‘re going to be embarrassed. And so, we better—you better come and talk. Now, is she talking Dan, about News Corps executives or FOX News executives?
ABRAMS: No, News Corps. She is saying News Corps executives but then she—then in the lawsuit they link it in and they say—as is typically done when FOX News, et cetera, this executive attempted to influence any information.
BUCHANAN: Well, that looks like—she‘s just dragging that in.
If she‘s saying that it‘s News Corps not FOX News.
ABRAMS: Right. Now, and I think that‘s fair. I mean, look, remember, she worked for Harper Collins, which is, you know, under News Corps. So, she would be talking to them about this.
BUCHANAN: All right. Sure.
ABRAM: Now, Aitan, let‘s get back to this lawsuit, again, $100 million lawsuit, do you think that it‘s just a firing, as Pat says, really an effort to get them to talk? I‘ve got to tell you, I‘ve got to believe that there was a lot of talking that went on before they filed this lawsuit where she said—If you guys don‘t settle something with me, if you don‘t work something out, I‘m going to have a lot to say publicly about FOX News, about News Corps, about Giuliani, about Kerik, et cetera?
GOELMAN: Yes. You‘ve got to imagine that there was some pre-filing conversations and maybe even a draft complaint faxed to someone on the FOX News team. You know, the interesting thing about this lawsuit is its timing, Dan. I mean, the complaint is filed one day after Bernie Kerik is indicted federally. I find that hard to believe that that‘s a coincidence. The thing about what Pat says, this being a shot across the bough and trying to bring News Corps to the table to fork over some money, this may spin beyond Judith Regan‘s control. You know, the prosecutors have the power to grand jury. They can make her talk, whether or not she wants to bury it when the case settles, when and if the case settles.
ABRAMS: All right. I asked before if this is bad for Giuliani.
Robert, let me ask you, is this bad for FOX News?
GREENWALD: Alright. It‘s very bad for FOX News. It proves a pattern that has existed. It takes it to a higher level, and it makes very clear to those three or four people who still doubt, that FOX News serves as a political arm, with a political agenda. When you get this high, when you get to the owners of FOX News, News Corps, and you have them connected to political messaging, it doesn‘t get any higher and it doesn‘t get any worse.
ABRAMS: I agree. I mean, Joan, if there is a tape or something
out there where someone is saying don‘t say this because it would hurt
Giuliani, that, to me -
ABRAMS: If you want to say, don‘t say it because it‘s unseemly; don‘t stay because it‘s sex. Don‘t say it because—I‘m not saying it‘s OK. It‘s still encouraging somebody to lie. But there‘s something different, there‘s something so political about saying—don‘t say it because it will hurt Giuliani‘s campaign.
WALSH: It‘s bad enough. I mean, this turns off Republicans. It‘s bad enough for liberals that FOX is so pro-Republican. But if you‘ve got them really banking on one candidate in what is really a fascinating primary season with lots of, you know, viable and good candidates by Republican standards, this is a terrible breach of trust.
BUCHANAN: Dan, wait a minute.
ABRAMS: Let me ask Joan. Joan, why do you think it is that FOX as you say is devoting so much more time to Giuliani, because is he a more viable candidate?
WALSH: I think it‘s several things. I think you know, he‘s friends with Hannity, so a lot of that air time was on Hannity, one-on-one with Hannity. Before and I believe it was before they disclosed that he was actually doing fundraisers.
ABRAMS: Hannity is honest. I mean, Hannity says -
WALSH: Hannity is honest, that‘s true. And then, you know, I think it‘s the New York connection. It‘s clearly the New York connection. You know, he was a popular—to be fair, you know, for one minute, he was a popular New York mayor. They know each other in the New York system. So, it‘s not shocking.
ABRAMS: Yes, let me have Pat in. Pat, go ahead.
BUCHANAN: But you know, when - look, when Bernie Kerik was named
to be the head of Homeland Security, nobody thought or thought seriously
that Rudy Giuliani was a certain nominee, a candidate for the Republican
nomination? And, look -
WALSH: He was a likely -
BUCHANAN: Yes, but this is a couple of years ago. Are you telling
me that, I mean, these people at the company were looking down the road
three years to say don‘t tell anything to the -
WALSH: Sure. (INAUDIBLE)
BUCHANAN: About Bernie Kerik and lie to them.
WALSH: Absolutely. I‘m not saying they did it, Pat. I have no special knowledge. But if you think about - I mean, the “Time” was talking about him as a presidential candidate when he was Man of the Year in 2001. He‘s been—his performance on 9/11 catapulted him to the top tier. Not necessarily the frontrunner of the Republican race six years ago.
BUCHANAN: You‘re saying - your suggestion that News Corps was already going out for Rudy when Kerik was appointed and they‘ve said lies to the Feds about Kerik because otherwise it will hurt Rudy? This doesn‘t sound credible.
WALSH: That‘s what she‘d said. I‘m not saying it, Pat.
ABRAMS: We shall see. Pat, I‘m glad you are keeping it—keeping the big picture here.
ABRAMS: Aitan Goelman, Joan Walsh, Pat Buchanan, Robert Greenwald, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Coming up next: A young Lebanese woman who used a fake marriage to become a U.S. citizen fools both the FBI and the CIA and gains access to highly sensitive security information. How did she ever get through? And, later, after denies Kucinich said he seen a UFO, a lot of people said come on, the guy is nuts. Now, some senior government officials and former military pilots are calling for a new investigation into the existence of UFOs and they say they‘ve got the evidence. Plus, a FOX News contributor and former detective demonstrates the differences between Hispanics, African-Americans, and Chinese people. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Did you know the FBI started doing more rigorous security screening for potential agents after the 2000 arrest of (INAUDIBLE) Robert Hansen who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for over 20 years. Now, it seems the agency may have been duped again. This time, by a Lebanese woman who faked a marriage to become a citizen and got a job as an FBI agent. She gained access to highly sensitive security information. Coming up.
ABRAMS: A major embarrassment tonight for the CIA and the FBI. A young Lebanese woman faked a marriage to become a U.S. citizen and then, passed background checks for the FBI and CIA, gaining top secret security clearances at both agencies. She pleaded guilty today, to charges she illegally sought classified information on the terror group Hezbollah. The CIA says it won‘t happen again. Here senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers. Lisa?
LISA MYERS: Dan, this is really an amazing story about how a young Lebanese woman used a fake marriage to become a U.S. citizen. Then fooled both the FBI and the CIA and gained access to highly sensitive security information.
MYERS (voice over): This is 37-year-old Nada Nadim Prouty who pleaded guilty today. She came to the U.S. 8 years ago, then used a fake marriage to become a citizen. After working as a waitress at this Detroit restaurant, Prouty managed to pass an FBI background check and became an FBI special agent. Four years later, she was hired as a CIA case officer.
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: This is a serious embarrassment to the CIA and the FBI. Someone who never should have obtained a top security clearance was given one and now in a position to cause a damage to our nation‘s interest.
MYERS: Prouty is not accused of being a spy. But she now admits she improperly searched FBI computer for information on her relatives and terror group Hezbollah. The FBI says Prouty is not a member of Hezbollah. But authorities point out her brother-in-law is a fugitive from justice. He spoke at a fundraiser in Lebanon alongside this Hezbollah leader, designated a terrorist by the U.S. government.
MYERS: U.S. officials say they‘re still doing a damage assessment and trying to figure out if Prouty passed on sensitive information to Hezbollah or anyone else. Officials say she did have high level clearances as an operations officer dealing with Middle Eastern issues. At this point, dam, Prouty is cooperating with the investigation as part of her plea agreement. Dan?
ABRAMS: All right. Lisa Myers, thanks a lot. Joining us now, MSNBC analyst and retired NATO commander, General Wesley Clark and MSNBC terror analyst, Evan Coleman. Thanks to both of you. All right. Evan, there were some red flags (ph) with her. I mean, we say this and look, there are people who can fool everybody, I guess. But, this is someone who probably they should have investigated more, right?
EVAN COLEMAN, MSNBC TERROR ANALYST: Yes, you would think so. And there is a fairly rigorous process of background checks, of criminal background checks, of credit checks. I mean, the point here is to try to weed out anyone who has anything in their background that may make them susceptible to recruitment by a terrorist organization or won‘t not. Certainly, if you are relative of someone who‘s involved in Hezbollah, you would think that would come up. But unfortunately, there is this desperation to get Arabic speakers into the Bureau. There is a dramatic shortage of them and sometimes they end up picking up people with curious connections.
ABRAMS: General Clark, I mean, is that the issue here? Is - if you‘re going to blame someone, is it the fact that there is just this absolutely desperate need to have Arabic speakers and so maybe they are letting a few things slide that they might not ordinarily done?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, RETIRED NATO COMMANDER: I think that‘s part of it. The other part of it Dan, is that I think when we got out of the cold war and moved away from focusing on the Soviets to relied a lot on blackmail as a recruiting technique that now you‘re into something different. This is about family connections. It‘s about sympathies. It‘s a different focus for protecting your access to secrets and I don‘t think they really caught up with the nature of the problem. It goes back to the relatives, the people around her, if all of those people willing to lie, then it‘s a net of protection around her.
ABRAMS: No, but it seems to me, typical background check, do you go—I mean, I have had people come to me to talk about family members or friends who are joining the U.S. Attorney‘s Office or want to become FBI agents, they ask me all these questions. The notion that there are family members here who are going to speeches of a Hezbollah terror leader, you would think that that would be a serious red flag.
COLEMAN: I mean, you would think so. Especially considering the
fact that someone why this trying to join the CIA even speaking to people
outside of this country in foreign countries comes up as a red flag, you
would think. But, somehow this managed to slip underneath the doorway and
this is not the first time. I mean, let‘s remember that Ali Mohammed, one
of Osama bin Laden‘s personal body guards, the senior member of al Qaeda
who helped case U.S. embassies and is in Africa was teaching U.S. Special
Forces how to hunt al Qaeda and was passing U.S. -
ABRAMS: General Clark, are we good about learning lessons here? Meaning—is something like this happens, do we - the CIA is saying it‘s not going to happen again. Can we rest assured?
CLARK: Well, I think there‘s a couple of different lessons here. One is—it‘s pretty hard to check for the falsification of all these citizenship papers. That takes a big effort on the part of the State Department and the Homeland Security, the old Immigration Naturalization Service. But it‘s pretty easy to ask about relatives to run down who the relatives are, what they are doing, what their connections are and with the right connections with foreign governments, we ought to be able to do that. And I bet that‘s a lessons they learned really quick.
ABRAMS: All right. General Clark thanks a lot. Evan Coleman as always. Appreciate it?
COLEMAN: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up next: A FOX News contributor and former detective in trouble for a little un-pc show and tell about the differences between Chinese, African-American, and Hispanics. And some people thought presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich was crazy when he said he had seen a UFO. But now, some senior government officials and former military pilots are heading to Washington this week calling for a new investigation into the existence of the aliens and say they have got evidence.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press. First up: FOX News contributor and former detective, Rod Wheeler in trouble for offering a little show and tell last night. He provided a visual aid to demonstrate the difference between Chinese and Hispanic male during a segment on racial profiling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD WHEELER, FORMER DETECTIVE: They‘ve actually narrowed down the suspect as being a Hispanic male. Not a black male, not a Chinese male with ice eyes like this but a Hispanic male.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: OK. Thanks for the demonstration. We like Rod.
Next up, the MORNING SHOW over on FOX has some technical troubles yesterday for almost eight minutes. Particularly, unfortunate for one guest, former senator, Defense Secretary William Cohen, who‘s on to plug a new book. The wrong camera was up for the entire segment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen is the author of “Dragon fire” a new political thriller.
It‘s a novel and the secretary joins us live from our D.C. bureau.
Good morning to you sir.
WILLIAM COHEN: Good morning to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain, senator from Arizona says that “Dragon fire” is a riveting thriller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, it is called “Dragon fire” and William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, U.S. Senator and Congressman, we thank you for joining us live today.
COHEN: Pleasure to be with you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: At least you got to see who he was. William Cohen is he the Bill Clinton‘s Secretary of Defense, makes you wonder about the censures over at FOX. And I know he is a Republican still. Finally, during another one of Bill O‘Reilly hard-hitting body language segment they analyzed Rosie O‘Donnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONYA REIMAN, GUEST: She just believes passionately in everything that she says. Does it mean that it‘s right or wrong?
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: OK.. She believes in everything she says.
Isn‘t that the definition of a fanatic?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: No. I would think that‘s the definition of someone who is intellectually honest. I know, tough concept to get your head around. I know.
We need your help Beating the Press. If you see anything right or wrong, amusing or absurd, please go to our Web site at Abrams.msnbc.com. Leave us a tip in the box.
Up next: Forty percent of Americans have reported seeing a UFO including presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich. Now, senior government officials and former military pilots are meeting in Washington to try to get the government to reopen UFO investigations. They say they‘ve got the proof. And a big break in the case of the alleged college student orgy murder. Tonight, police are testing blood soaked hairs found in the hand of the victim. Coming up.
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, it turns out Dennis Kucinich isn‘t alone. Several former military pilots and officials who believe in UFOs are now asking the government to start investigating.
And what could be a major break in the case that college honor student held by police in her roommate‘s assault and murder? Police now reportedly testing strands of hair found in the victim‘s hand.
Plus, Paris Hilton finally getting good press, sort of, for her work relating to helping drunk elephants? It sounds too good to be true. It is. It‘s not true. But it‘s in “Winners and Losers.”
People who claim they have seen UFOs are often dismissed as crack pots or conspiracy theorists. But now, this week in Washington, it‘s being taken seriously by some serious people, and not just Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Did you see a UFO?
DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did. And the rest of the account - it was unidentified flying object, OK? It‘s unidentified. I saw something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Turns out Kucinich is in good company. Former high ranking government and military officials are now calling on the government to reopen investigations in the cases involving unidentified flying objects. They say it is a national security concern.
Here now Air Force Colonel Chuck Holt. He was the deputy base commander of Bentwaters Woodbridge U.S. Military Base in England where an internationally reported UFO encounter was investigated. And Michael Shermer, publisher of “Skeptic Magazine,” the executive director of the Skeptic Society. You can guess what his view is on the matter.
All right. Colonel Holt, first let me ask you about what the goal is in going down to Washington now and what you hope to achieve.
COL. CHARLES HOLT, U.S. AIR FORCE: What I hope to achieve is that the
government will open up and come forward and start serious investigations
by an impartial agency or an arm of the government.
ABRAMS: I‘m about to play an audiotape that you have given us. Tell me what this audiotape is before we play it and then I‘m going to play it.
HOLT: In December 1980, I was called upon to investigate a very strange and unusual event. I took along my personal recorder which I normally carried when I went about my duties. And I recorded the events of the evening.
ABRAMS: And, all right. Then let‘s play it. Here‘s the tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HOLT: We just bumped into the first light that we‘ve seen. We‘re about 150 to 200 yards from the site. Everything else is just deathly calm. There‘s no doubt about it. There‘s some kind of strange flashing red light ahead.
SERGEANT NEVILLES: Yes. It‘s yellow.
HOLT: I saw a yellow tinge in it too. Weird. It appears to be making a little bit this way?
NEVILLES: Yes, sir.
HOLT: It‘s brighter than it has been. It‘s coming this way. It‘s definitely coming this way.
MASTER SERGEANT BALL: Pieces are shooting off.
HOLT: Pieces of it are shooting off.
BALL: At about 11 o‘clock.
HOLT: There‘s no doubt about it; this is weird.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Now, Colonel, tell me a little bit more about what you think you saw then?
HOLT: I‘m not really sure what I saw that night, but I can tell you it was definitely under intelligent control.
ABRAMS: What do you mean by that?
HOLT: The objects we saw in the sky moved in sharp angular patterns at high speed. The object we saw on the force moved between the trees, avoiding the trees. Horizontally, it appeared to be dripping molten metal. The center appeared like an eye that blinked. It receded into the farmer‘s field beyond us whenever we tried to approach it.
The objects we saw in the sky sent what I would say the equivalent of laser beams. They were going into the weapons storage area and one of which fell right at our feet. At that time I was quite concerned. Is this a message? Is this a warning? Is it trying to damage or hurt us?
ABRAMS: All right. Michael Shermer, look, you‘ve got a lot of people going to Washington this week, saying we need to investigate this. We need to spend some time and some money getting into a serious investigation. Do you have a problem with that?
MICHAEL SHERMER, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE SKEPTIC SOCIETY: In principle, no. But we have to remember with a little historical perspective that the U.S. Government conducted a thorough research of this in the 1950s, the Project Blue Book. And in the 1960s they did it again with the Condon Report through the University of Colorado. In the 90s, they issued two major publications from two different investigations of Roswell. President Clinton did his own personal investigation. Governor Bill Richardson from New Mexico did an investigation.
So it‘s not like the government hasn‘t been investigating these things. What we saw yesterday was really a call for the government to give a different answer. These folks already believe that extraterrestrials have come here, and they want proof of it from the government.
Well, the fact is, we don‘t have proof it yet. All we have are blurry
photographs, grainy videos and a lot anecdotes and stories. It really
comes down to -
ABRAMS: I want to play something you created. You talked about that I played a piece of sound there from the colonel a minute ago. Let me play this. This is what you did to expose how easy it is, you say, to fake UFO pictures. You say that you and a bunch of kids did this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERMER (voice over): This photo, for example, is one of the most famous in the history of UFOs. Over the years, this shot, and another taken moments later, have been examined many times.
No one has ever found any telltale signs of fakery, no retouching or darkroom funny business. But even if they‘re real photographs, they are not necessarily photographs of a real UFO. These youngsters gathered a hodgepodge of things you can find in any home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: The bottoms of one of those cake tin thingies.
SHERMER: The kids mixed and matched all the stuff with a little imagination, a glue gun and some silver paint. We gave the kids bamboo poles, fishing line and cameras.
Next, they took turns tossing and photographing a Cadillac hub cap. That‘s as sophisticated as we got. But the results were impressive. The children came up with several photos that could easily pass for classic UFO shots.
Dr. Rand Molnar of the Brooks Institute of Photography is frequently asked to verify alleged UFO photos. Now, here is our prized fake UFO shot. Remember, it‘s two plastic lids glued together hanging from a string.
Surely we are going to be found out.
RAND MOLNAR, BROOK INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY: No sign of a string still.
Nothing to indicate a string, a wire or anything.
SHERMER: Why can‘t the computer see the string? Because the camera that shot the original picture couldn‘t see it. Contrary to what you see on TV cop and spy shows, the computer can‘t detect a detail that the film never captured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Julie Schuster is with us as well from the Roswell UFO museum. Julie, what do you make of that? Michael is basically saying, look, don‘t get carried away here, you can fake it pretty easily.
JULIE SCHUSTER, DIRECTOR, ROSWELL‘S UFO MUSEUM: Yes, you can, and a lot of people do fake them. However, one of the things that - I mean, I have seen since I have been working as closely with the field as I am right now, is that, you know, the famous photo that he mentioned was not - did not have the technology that our cameras have now. It‘s an older photo. It‘s - and I don‘t remember the date.
But, you know, there are a lot of things that can be faked. I mean, we have one in the museum that a staff person took and it‘s a pigeon, but could be taken for a UFO. But there is also that great number of ones that are not verifiable. That makes them a UFO.
ABRAMS: And very quickly, Colonel, do you equate - do you necessarily believe that there are, quote, “aliens” involved with UFOs or just unidentified - we need to investigate more?
HOLT: I wouldn‘t say necessarily say they are aliens. They are something we don‘t know and we can‘t explain.
ABRAMS: All right, Col. Charles Holt, thanks a lot. Michael Shermer and Julie Schuster, thank you.
Up next, what could be a major break in the case of that college honor student suspected of being involved in the sexual assault and murder of her roommate. Police now testing pieces of hair reportedly found in the victim‘s hand.
And later, Boy George busted by police for allegedly chaining a male escort to the wall of his London apartment. I bet you can‘t guess if he will be one of tonight‘s winners or losers.
ABRAMS: Did you know with current DNA testing techniques, it is possible to tell a single person apart from anyone else using DNA from a single hair root? Coming up, the big break in the case of the college student could be a murder case. Tonight, police are testing strands of bloody hair found in that victim‘s hand that could lead them to her killer.
ABRAMS: There are new developments tonight in the case of a U.S. college student suspected of being involved in a sexual assault and murder in Italy. Twenty-year-old Seattle native Amanda Marie Knox remains behind bars in connection with the brutal murder of her roommate following an alleged forced sex orgy.
Police are now testing blood-soaked hair found in the fist of the murdered student Meredith Kercher, hair that authorities believe may belong to her killer. University of Washington honor student is one of three people being detained in connection with the murder and one of almost 175,000 U.S. students who study abroad each year.
Knox now reverting back to her original story that she was at her Italian boyfriend‘s house the night of the murder despite the fact that she allegedly told the authorities she was there and surveillance video shows her entering the house she shared with Meredith Kercher that night. Joining me now Sarah Baxter, correspondent with the “Sunday Times of London,” international law professor Michael Scharf(ph), defense attorney Julia Morrow, and forensics expert, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. All right, Larry, let me start with you. The hair, how important?
LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSICS EXPERT: Could be very critical. Providing it‘s not her own hair, it could provide information to identify who her assailant was. It could be any one of those three.
ABRAMS: If it‘s not her hair and it‘s a clump, pretty certain that‘s the killer, right?
KOBILINSKY: That‘s correct. And if it‘s plucked, that means there‘s a root. There may be DNA that can be tested. And it could be matched up to any one of the three suspects or another person.
ABRAMS: Sara Baxter, how is this being reported in Europe with regard to the fact that she keeps changing her stories?
SARAH BAXTER, CORRESPONDENT, “SUNDAY TIMES OF LONDON”: Well, people of Britain are fascinated by this story they regard it as it-could-have-been-me killing. Here is a very nice British girl who had gone to study abroad in Italy, learn a language and get a patina of culture.
And then, there is Amanda Knox, just a nice ordinary college girl seemingly caught up in a hookup culture of drugs and violence. So they are absolutely aghast. They are fascinated by the psychology of the Amanda Knox, the Seattle girl.
ABRAMS: Professor Scharf, is there anything that her lawyers, her family can do that says, “Hey, she is an American. She is being held in Italy. We want something”?
MICHAEL SCHARF(ph), INTERNATIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: Well, they may be interested in doing that, Dan, because Italian law is a little bit more difficult for a defendant than American law. For example, they don‘t have the exclusionary rule. Her confessions can be used even though she wasn‘t given the Miranda warnings. They don‘t have a jury. There is only a judge that makes these decisions.
On the other hand, they don‘t have the death penalty. The most she would do in time is probably 20 years. But, if her parents and the people back home are interested in trying to get her into an American court, there is something called the U.S. Long Arm Statute that was enacted back about two decades ago after an American committed a murder abroad in south Korea.
And as it turned out in that case, she came back to the United States. There was no law against Americans committing crimes at that time. And she literally went on a speaking tour saying I got away with murder. Nowadays, we can actually prosecute our citizens back here and have her extradited.
ABRAMS: But the bottom line is, she‘s being held behind bars in Italy. The Italian authorities are not going to let her go until they decide she is no longer a suspect, right?
SCHARF(ph): Well, we could try to put pressure on the Italian authorities. We have had this dance with them in the past. If you remember the time when the U.S. military aircraft clipped a gondola and a hundred Italians died.
ABRAMS: But that‘s a military case. That‘s different. That‘s a military case. Come on.
SCHARF: And of course, there is the case of the CIA officers in the United
States who more recently were alleged to have killed a diplomat and we -
ABRAMS: It‘s a CIA case. I mean, come on. Julia Morrow, if you were the attorney here, I think you are going to have to do battle in Italy, right?
JULIA MORROW, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. You‘re absolutely going to have to do battle in Italy. The crime occurred on Italian soil. Furthermore, the victim is from England. The victim is not a United States citizen. So, to the extent the crime would ever come here to be tried, I find that hard to believe. I don‘t think that would happen.
ABRAMS: What other kind of physical evidence are they still looking for, Larry?
KOBILINSKY: Well, they are going to be looking for fingerprints, trace evidence, hair fibers, anything that will associate one of these three or all of these three suspects to the victim. The knife, the tool used to slit this victim‘s throat is a key piece of evidence here.
ABRAMS: All right. I apologize to all of you for cutting this short. Sarah Baxter, Michael Scharf, Julia Morrow, Larry Kobilinsky. I wanted to spend more time. We had breaking news at the top of this show.
The body of Bolingbrook, Illinois Police Sergeant Drew Peterson‘s third wife was exhumed today and autopsy performed this afternoon. Police reopened Kathleen Savio‘s case after Peterson‘s fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared last month. Illinois state attorney James Glasgow says evidence suggests someone killed Savio and tried to make it look like she died by accident in a bathtub.
NBC‘s Alison Kartevold is in Chicago with the - That is huge, right, that the state attorney is now saying that a case that had been dismissed as suicide really was murder?
ALISON KARTEVOLD, NBC CORRESPONDENT: In fact, he said to us that this is the first time in his term with this department that they have ever exhumed a body. He says he has been with them since the 1970s. It is a pretty big deal that they are going back and doing this, and one of the things they hope to find out, Dan, is how she could have been rendered unconscious.
When they reviewed the files, they said the one laceration she had on the back of her head would not have been enough to knock her unconscious. And because they say that they have no toxicology reports that say there is anything in her system, how could a woman without any heart conditions or any other known medical conditions have simply accidentally drown in a tub? By exhuming the body, Dan, they hope they are going to determine that.
The other thing we realized today was that besides the investigation into the disappearance of his wife and the investigation into the death of his third ex-wife, we have been told that he is going to be going up against the Commission of the Fire and Police Department because of the internal investigation on Tuesday night.
ABRAMS: All right. Alison Kartevold, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Up next, tonight‘s “Winners and Losers,” including an Indian man who marries his mutt. Matrimony, he hopes, will create better Karma. A police officer survives an SUV sideswipe from an alleged drunk driver. And Paris Hilton‘s publicist knocks down an AP report that Paris is helping binge-drinking elephants.
A canine commitment to break a curse; a drunk driver who failed to brake; or an unlucky break for drunk elephants, which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s winners and losers for this 13th day of November, 2007. Our first winner, an Indian man who claims to have found happiness with a hound. P. Selvakumar(ph) actually married his mutt in a wedding he hoped will ward off evil spirits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
P.Selvakumar(ph) claims he has been cursed after killing a pair of pooches 15 years ago. The wedding, no joke to him, was even presided over by a Hindu priest.
ABRAMS: Our first loser, the stalker priest who has been dogging Conan O‘Brien. Instead of laying low while awaiting trial, the creepy clergyman was caught clashing the door of a Boston TV station. The harassing holy man demanded to talk to a reporter he had been e-mailing, just hours after the father‘s own dad reported him missing.
Our second loser? British balladeer Boy George, busted for allegedly chain ago male escort to the wall of his London flat. The Culture Club crooner has been charged with false imprisonment for the tie-up, teaching the band leader it‘s not OK to violate an immobilized captive.
Our second winner, a South Dakota man who has been told it is OK to violate and immobilize captives. Michael Horse(ph) won the case in the Supreme Court of South Dakota, which ruled that sex with a mannequin is OK as long as it‘s behind closed doors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I must be losing my mind. I guess all artists fall in love with their creations but you seem so special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Horse(ph) was hauled in after huddling in a corner and trying to make it with a mannequin dressed in a band uniform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Summertime at band camp?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But now he is off the hook since he diddled the dummy in a dark room. But the big loser of the day? An alleged drunk driver who swerved his SUV straight into a cop. The Texas teen barreled into a police officer stopped on the side of the road, conducting a routine traffic stop. He ripped the door right off the cop‘s cruiser.
The officer just missed getting crashed against his patrol car, a lucky break for the now jailed drunk driver as well. But the big winner of the day? Formerly jailed drunk driver Paris Hilton, finally getting some good press for reportedly speaking out on behalf of drunk elephants in India.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PARIS HILTON: That‘s hot. That‘s hot. That‘s hot. That‘s hot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The associated press reported today that local officials appreciated Paris taking on the plight of binge-drinking pachyderms across the subcontinent. They even quoted the heiress talking about her the efforts to reduce the effects of the inebriated rampages. After a few hours of celebrating Paris‘ new found cause, it turned out too good to be true. Tonight, Paris‘s publicist says the story‘s just a tall tale.
HILTON: That‘s hot, that‘s hot, that‘s hot.
ABRAMS: Here now is stand up comedian Maureen Langan from Caroline‘s Comedy Club here in New York City. All right, Maureen, thanks a lot for coming.
MAUREEN LANGAN, COMEDIAN: Thanks for having me, Dan.
ABRAMS: How does a rumor like this get started?
LANGAN: Paris started it.
ABRAMS: Yes? For sure?
LANGAN: Come on, she started it.
ABRAMS: Why would she start a rumor about herself helping binge-drinking elephants?
LANGAN: Because she‘s knocked down with Nicole Richie and they came up
with this together. You know this. But I‘m laughing because they switched
everybody‘s saying it‘s not true now. You know what happens here. She found out how much an elephant‘s tusk is worth, dead and she figured it‘s worth a fortune. She said come on, Dumbo, next round‘s on me. Yes. No, she did. That‘s the truth.
ABRAMS: Imagine the idea that somehow she‘s going to take up - quotes and everything talking, about her taking up as her cause drunken elephants.
LANGAN: Well, they had quotes, and they even had a guy named Sanjita Guswami(ph), the head of People For Animals in India got behind her and had quoted her.
ABRAMS: He was saying he was glad that she was -
LANGAN: He commended her for working with animals. But I think she should have started at home working with animals. I believe Paris should have started with Lindsay Lohan by trying to get the monkey off her back. What do you think?
ABRAMS: But it seems to me, the idea of drunken elephants, it‘s almost - I
remember when I first saw this, I said to the person, there‘s no way this
story is true. There‘s no way. And then I started thinking, I don‘t know,
is somebody telling her that there‘s this outbreak in India of elephants,
what is it, they are drinking rice -
LANGAN: It‘s rice beer on the farms of the Indian farmers. She wanted to work with the anorexic giraffes, but that didn‘t pan out. So she went with drunken elephants. Had she started sooner, she might have been able to Marlon Brando. There‘s still help for Ted Kennedy. There‘s still hope for him. And the baby elephant, Danny Devito, so she might be working with him.
ABRAMS: Maureen Langan, thanks a lot.
LANGAN: Come on.
ABRAMS: Appreciate it. That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Up next, stay tuned for “LOCKUP, SAN QUENTIN.” See you tomorrow.
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