Guests: Peter Beinart, Cliff May, Dana Milbank, David Becker, Jamie Leigh Jones, Todd Kelly, Joel Brodsky, Laura Italiano
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Tonight, justice delayed. Republican senators block a bill to ban waterboarding and other so-called harsh interrogation techniques. What happened to the rallying cry on the Right that if Democrats believe waterboarding is illegal, they should pass legislation? Well, they‘re trying. Justice diverted. Bush league style.
Days after our series exposed the dismal record of the Justice Department‘s civil rights division, a key figure quote, “Resigns,” then writes a self-congratulatory farewell letter. No, I‘m not buying mission accomplished on this one.
Plus justice denied? A 23-year-old, former Halliburton employee alleges she was gang raped by co-workers and that the government and the company are trying to cover it up. She‘s with us live to tell her story.
But first: Congress stymied in its effort to outlaw waterboarding.
Republican senators now blocking a vote on a bill passed by the House. Remember, during the hearings from Michael Mukasey to become attorney general, the rallying cry among many on the Right was if Democrats were serious about stopping waterboarding, they should put it to a vote. Well, that‘s what they‘re attempting to do, and that‘s exactly what Republican Senator Arlen Specter encouraged them to do as he voted to support Mukasey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, ® PENNSYLVANIA: Now, this status of events brings it squarely to the per view of Congress to make a decision as to whether waterboarding amounts to torture and, therefore, should be illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Here‘s Republican Senator Lindsey Graham claimed that he wanted the same thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, ® SOUTH CAROLINA: And if we need to pass laws against waterboarding, more specifically, I will vote for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well, not necessarily. A new bill is in the Senate, one that would, quote, “Require the CIA to adhere to the Army‘s field manual on interrogations which bans waterboarding. But now, Senator Graham has put a hold on the bill saying it would be a quote, “Colossal mistake.” It sure seems many Republicans in the Senate just don‘t want this legislation that outlaws waterboarding. Joining me now, Peter Beinart, editor at large for “The New Republic” and Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. We‘ll be joined by Pat Buchanan in a moment who‘s there as well. Peter, it sounds to me, look, you guys this, you follow where the legislation started and why it‘s being stymied. It sure sounds like they‘re using the excuse of these parliamentary sort of issues to simply keep out a vote on waterboarding.
PETER BEINART, THE NEW REPUBLIC: It is really bizarre. It seems almost pathological. On the one hand you have Republicans saying this isn‘t torture, it‘s fine. On the other hand, they‘re saying we don‘t do it anyway. Then when you actually push comes to shove and you actually have legislation to ban the thing, they find a way of being against it. I mean, it seems to me this many years after 9/11, we still not learned anything about the importance of America‘s good name in winning the war on terror?
ABRAMS: You know, Cliff, what‘s the problem with legislation—I mean that says we need to outlaw waterboarding?
CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: There are going to be those who are for it including Republicans and there are going to be those who are against it including, I presume, Democrats as well. If you look at Lindsey Graham‘s remarks and keep in mind in addition to being a senator he‘s an army reservist, an Air Force reservist and he is an Air Force lawyer. So, he knows his stuff pretty well. It seems to me what he‘s saying is by saying that the CIA must be restricted to the entire army manual only, you‘re restricting them too far, you‘re probably restricting other things besides waterboarding and by the way, is there still a controversy over waterboarding? I think there is. What do we know since the last time we talked? Well, Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded for 35 seconds. One of the CIA operatives who was part of that mission said I do think it‘s torture, but after 35 seconds, he‘s saying like a bird, and we saved American lives. Some people think that‘s a good idea.
ABRAMS: But this is about hypocrisy again.
ABRAMS: It drives me nuts, Pat Buchanan, look, here is what the Army
hang on a sec, Cliff. Here‘s what the Army field manual says Pat, alright? Prohibited during interrogations. Forcing a detainee to be naked, applying beatings or electric shock, waterboarding or conducting mock execution. What‘s the matter with that being the standard? Hang on, I‘m asking Pat, Cliff.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You‘re talking army rules and regulations. Army soldiers, combat soldiers, air force, navy should go by the Geneva Convention. I agree with that entirely when they fight conventional wars. But in a war on terror, the enemy uses as a tactic the deliberate mass murder of civilians and innocent individuals. That is a criminal act, and the persons you capture are not in my judgment, they‘re not soldiers under any international law. There‘s something else. And they can be aggressively interrogated. And I have to agree, look, if you can save lives in a war on terror because somebody knows something is coming, you do what you have to do. And then I think you go out and you make a statement saying, this is what I did, this is why I did it, do what you want.
ABRAMS: Here‘s my problem, alright? Because Cliff May and Pat Buchanan, two of my very favorite guests and they‘ve been on this program many times, all right? And we talked about this in the context of the Mukasey hearings, both Cliff May and Pat Buchanan were saying, let‘s go to Congress, let‘s go to Congress. I‘m going to play back for you guys. Here‘s what both of you had to say about the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: This is our policy. They‘re asking him as the chief advocate for the United States of America—is it or is it not torture? And he keeps hedging.
MAY: Here‘s how you can settle it very quickly. You have a congressman, they can pass a law; they can pass it tomorrow. And that law could say, we describe as torture waterboarding. That‘s the law of the land. Then it would be settled. Why don‘t the congressmen do that?
BUCHANAN: Why don‘t they write the law and say it‘s illegal?
ABRAMS: No. But that‘s a Congressional matter.
BUCHANAN: That‘s how laws are written, Dan. Congress writes one.
ABRAMS: No. That‘s not the only way. There‘s also interpretation,
Pat. There‘s the fact that torture -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. So, there we have both the Pat Buchanan and Cliff May, both saying send it to Congress, send it to Congress. Now, they‘re trying to send it to Congress and the Republicans are saying they don‘t want to vote on it.
BUCHANAN: Well, look, I agree, send it to Congress. If Congress wants to outlaw it, fine. I‘m telling you what my position would be if the Army should be out of it. If I were a CIA interrogator and we talked about that in that situation where somebody‘s gotten a nuclear weapon on a ship and I‘m interrogating this guy I would do what I had to do to save folks.
BEINART: What we know about waterboarding, one thing is that people have a tendency to lie, that‘s what some of the CIA analysts have also said. It is worth noting that the United States in 1947 prosecuted a Japanese officer for war crimes for doing this kind of thing. We have moral standards as a decent, civilized society.
ABRAMS: Cliff, let me ask you this question, all right? Let‘s assume for a minute exactly what you said a moment ago, which is that there can be some value at some time, the ticking time bomb scenario, right? Where you capture al Zawahiri, right? And you want to make sure you question him right away. In that particular case, why can‘t you still have a law on the books that says waterboarding, all this other stuff is illegal, and if the president wants to authorize it for that single case, he can authorize it, promise a pardon, et cetera, if need be, but at least there‘s a level of honesty in government and at least we can have laws we can rely on?
MAY: I actually quite agree with you. You can do it a couple of ways. All Congress has to do is sit down and write it. They can say there will be a national security court that has to OK it. They can say that a Congressional Intelligence Committee has to OK it. They can say the president has to authorize it. What‘s going on here is that the whole army manual is being imposed on the CIA and on a lawyer for the military who is also a senator says it‘s not a good idea. Now, if it‘s mostly Republicans who are opposing, all Democrats need to do is they have a majority, they can try to pass it or go back to the American public and say, here‘s what we want, give us a big enough majority that we can make sure that never again will we inflict 35 seconds discomfort on an operative to save American lives.
BUCHANAN: I agree with your Jack Bauer exception, you got it almost right. Just, I have a lot of things to say that is torture, we don‘t do this. But in extraordinary circumstances, get authorities and have to approve it, who can approve it very quickly.
ABRAMS: No, the president.
BUCHANAN: You can‘t call the president.
ABRAMS: Why? Oh, why? The only case is—wait, are you—we only know three cases where people have been waterboarded, right?
BEINART: I think the point that Dan is trying to get at is once you open the door for this, there‘s a lot of precedent for the fact that it tends to fly wide open and people go way, way beyond. And that‘s why you have to be very, very, very careful.
ABRAMS: And I want to bring it back to the point here. Cliff, I want
to bring it back to the point which is that Republicans are avoiding a vote
on this. That all the people out there who said, the Democrats are afraid
of a vote on the issue, et cetera, no, they‘re not saying let‘s vote on the
issue. And Republicans, you know, I don‘t know, no additions -
MAY: There are procedures in Congress and every member of the Congress gets to use those procedures to stop or block or prevent the vote. If you have enough of a majority, you can do it anyhow. But let me just make sure I understand. As far as we know, only three people were waterboarded. They were all passed (INAUDIBLE). We saved lives.
BEINART: We need more exception on here, Cliff.
MAY: Can I say do you regret the fact that Sheikh Khalid Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were waterboarded? Would you rather see Americans die?
ABRAMS: He‘s asking a question. Hang on, let him respond.
BEINART: I‘ll stand with John McCain who knows a whole heck of a lot more about torture than you do against you on this and say we should not have waterboarded. But there‘s evidence that they lie. And you have no evidence that the information we got was a result on waterboarding.
BUCHANAN: Well, you ought to stick with the “New Republic” and let other people do the interrogations.
BEINART: John McCain doesn‘t work for “The New Republic” -
ABRAMS: And also, hang on—but also again, I want to make sure that
we don‘t hear again Republicans, including two of the guests on this
program, saying put in it front of Congress. Now you guys are both saying,
MAY: Dan, there‘s nothing. There‘s nothing hypocritical.
ABRAMS: They‘re trying.
MAY: This is a Congress that debates issues. Let me say—I have respect for Peter and others who say the truth, which is we never want to see discomfort inflicted upon these terrorists. If Americans have to die, that‘s OK.
ABRAMS: Cliff, I‘m going to turn it on you.
BEINART: Cliff, with all due respect, you know this better than to call this discomfort. Human rights watch has said that people have heart attacks and die from this.
ABRAMS: So Cliff, bottom line is you do not think that torture should be outlawed? Yes or no?
MAY: No. I think torture is outlawed. There‘s a line between severe discomfort and torture is there. And very hard to figure.
ABRAMS: I‘ve got wrap it up. I have an honest debate on this and I don‘t want to hear people again, saying put it in front of Congress. They‘re trying, people. They‘re trying. All right. Peter Beinart, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Cliff May and Pat Buchanan, thank you. Good one. Woo.
Coming up next, the effects of our Bush League Justice series already being felt in Washington. Just three days after we exposed the dismal record of the Justice Department‘s civil rights division, one of its most powerful players has resigned, but he‘s still getting another gig in the Justice Department. Why?
Plus: The American Bar Association magazine reverses course. Retracting its decision to name disgraced attorney general, Alberto Gonzales its 2007 Lawyer of the Year.
And a young woman says she was drugged and gang raped by her Halliburton co-workers in Iraq and the company and the U.S. government are trying to cover it up. She‘s with us live to tell us exactly what she says happened. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Did you know in five years the Bush administration filed seven lawsuits under primary anti-discrimination provision of the voting rights act? As comparing to the Clinton administration, they filed double that number in less than half the time. Coming up: Our Bush League Justice series already having an impact in Washington as the head of the Justice Department‘s Voting Rights Section resigns just days after we expose their record. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Just days after our series - Bush League Justice exposed the dismal record of the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights division in particular the voting rights section. John Tanner, the head of the division resigned Friday. He oversaw a division that twisted the Voting Section‘s goals by focusing on cases that target minorities rather than protecting them. Tanner was even caught on camera making this absurd comment about minorities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TANNER, FMR. DOJ VOTING CHIEF: Society is such that minorities don‘t become elderly. The way white people do. They die first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Tanner is now trying to celebrate his so-called accomplishments now that he‘s been moved to another less high profile Justice Department job. We‘ve got his internal good-bye memo. We won‘t going to allow this effort to destroy his record to go unchallenged. And I want to know how does he land another prestigious Justice Department gig after his disaster at the Voting Rights section? We‘re joined by David Becker who works on the Voting Rights section of the Justice Department; he‘s now a people for the American Way and Dana Milbank, national political reporter for the “Washington Post” and MSNBC political analyst. All right. Dana, is this just the way things work in the Justice Department - if you do a bad job in one place and they have to get rid of you finally, you get another job somewhere else that will be less high profile?
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, and you have to go through the ritual of saying this was entirely his own choice. It‘s sort of like the old line about he resigned to spend more time with his family, which you never believe. But this is really a case of live human sacrifice. And that occurs quite a bit here in Washington. One of the last cultures to practice this. But, this guy simply was—became too difficult to handle.
Not necessarily because of the policies that you‘ve been talking about, but
because of that one line. That really gave the Democrats what they needed
to embarrass the Bush administration. They let a decent interval go and
ABRAMS: Yes, but this isn‘t a guy being investigated for a misuse of his travel et cetera. I mean, this wasn‘t just about this. All right. Let me bring it back, David Becker and this is part of his e-mail, all right? This is his congratulatory e-mail to his staff about all the great things they‘ve done in this department. He says, “There are now scores of African-American elected officials across the southeast who entered through doors I helped open.” He goes on to say, “In 2006, the section filed the highest number of new lawsuits in its history.” And I will go on, “Over a million of our fellow citizens for the first time have full and equal access to the polls. All of this is thanks to our recent work.” Is John Tanner‘s recent work in the civil rights division and in voting rights in particular to thank?
DAVID BECKER, FMR DOJ EMPLOYEE: Yes,, it‘s a remarkable statement, isn‘t it? I mean, on the one hand, it‘s nice to hear him finally giving credit to the staff of the voting section, half of the lawyers of which were driven out over the past 2 ½ years and over 60 percent of the civil rights analysts who left under his leadership. Sadly, we‘re seeing this kind of artificial pumping up of numbers which is meant to camouflage an overall effort to—rather to enforce the law so as to protect the voters of the Voting Rights Act and other laws it was to protect to actually harm those voters. And I don‘t thing voters, for instance, African-American voters in Georgia or the state of Indiana where the Justice Department has taken very, very troubling positions with regard to restrictive voter I.D. laws that tend to disenfranchise those voters. I don‘t think they feel they‘ve been enfranchised by John Tanner‘s leadership.
ABRAMS: Again, we talked about this before -- 2001 to 2006, they didn‘t pursue a single case on behalf of African-American voters. I mean, this was a department that was completely twisted to focus on voting fraud cases, which disenfranchised minority voters. This is what Barack Obama said about it, Dana. “It‘s unacceptable that the administration is simply shuffling deck chairs by moving Mr. Tanner to another important position in the Justice Department.” I mean, are they just going to sort of put him there until the end of this administration so they don‘t have to admit, you know what, maybe we did something wrong?
MILBANK: That‘s never going to happen. I mean, let‘s keep in mind, this guy is a civil servant, arguably, he was doing what the political appointees in the Department wanted him to do for all these years. Let‘s remember that he was sort of abused before this committee in the House. They wanted him to come before this committee to explain his record, to explain the Georgia voter I.D. law. Justice Department wasn‘t letting him go. Then, he let his mouth slip. Then, they let him go. They weren‘t apologizing for the record here. They were saying, well, we‘re going to have to cut him loose because of this one bad line.
ABRAMS: Right. And this is the line about saying that white people tend to live longer. Here‘s—he got grilled about that. In front of Congress about—he sounded like he was sort of apologizing for the comment but not really. Here‘s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly what are you apologizing for?
TANNER: I hurt people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you hurt them?
TANNER: The reaction of people to my statements, which were very
contrary to what I was trying to communicate -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, are you apologizing because of the reaction people had to your statements?
TANNER: I caused that reaction certainly not intentionally. I made clumsy statements.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what was clumsy about what you said?
TANNER: I‘m sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was clumsy about what you said?
TANNER: I believe that -what I was thinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, what was clumsy about what you said?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: David Becker, I almost felt sorry for him, all right? As I listened to him get grilled there about this, but he‘s trying to use these sort of political defenses, which is I‘m sorry about the way I made people feel. I‘m sorry people reacted the way I did. I mean, the bottom line is, it is this comment in conjunction with the fact that everything they‘ve done in the Voting Rights Section is consistent with a guy who says things like white people live longer, and that‘s the reason this is significant.
BECKER: Yes, I mean, it‘s nice that they‘re now once they get caught concerned about the feelings of voters whose feelings they might hurt, but there are voters all across the country who are finding that barriers are being erected in their path as they try to enter the polling place. And the Justice Department isn‘t just remaining silent and indifferent to those things. The Justice Department is actually acting actively to promote those barriers, and that‘s really problematic. The removal of John Tanner was just a first step, an important first step, but just a first step.
ABRAMS: All right. We‘re going to stay on this. I said it before, we extended our series this week because we saw that Tanner step down, we saw that he wrote this e-mail congratulating them for all the great work that they‘ve done. We‘re not letting people get away with it anymore with it comes to the Justice Department. We‘re keeping a very close eye on what‘s going on there and look, we think Michael Mukasey may be able to do a great job, but we‘re going to be watching. David Becker, Dana Milbank, thanks a lot.
Coming up: A young woman claims she was drugged and gang raped by her Halliburton KBR co-workers in Baghdad and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident. She‘s now trying to hold them accountable. She‘s with us live.
And pretty soon we‘ll going to start reading your e-mails on the air. Our email address: Abrams@MSNBC.com. Tell us what you think of me, the show and this segment.
Plus: FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly claims to have won his invented war on Christmas, now it seems he‘s declared war on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. That‘s coming up in Beat the Press.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press. First up: FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly recently declared victory in his invented war on Christmas, but it seems the enemy has taken up its positions again and Captain Culture Warrior is prepared to go after retail stores that are intentionally removing the word Christmas and using a holiday theme instead. That is unless they‘re a store that might have a big impact on the sale of his books, that is to say, Barnes & Noble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: Now, Barnes & Noble, they say, to be fair to them, because I sell a lot of books at Barnes & Noble.
CARRIE GORDON EARLL, PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: And I‘m going to spend my money on someplace that‘s not scared to wish me a merry Christmas.
O‘REILLY: And I think a lot of people feel the same way which is why we reverse but I‘m not going come down hard on Barnes & Noble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Of course you‘re not because this is a fake crusade and ratings ploy. It‘s not worth jeopardizing cold, hard cash. Next up on that very same segment, it seemed O‘Reilly declared a new war on the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: What if they want to incorporate the nine days of Hanukkah in the holiday morning description?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The nine days? Maybe he was trying to change the Jewish holiday to conform with the 12 days of Christmas. Maybe he‘ll add another day to Hanukkah every year for the next three years when then, he‘ll be able to declare the war on Hanukkah is succeeded by making it Christmas.
Finally saying with the Christmas theme, an editor at the “Lewiston Tribune” in Idaho, noticed something unusual about Thursday‘s front page. Above the fold, a picture of a man identified as Michael Millhouse painting a storefront with Christmas greetings. A nice Christmas story. Now look directly below the fold. A crime story—a surveillance picture of an unknown man suspected of stealing a woman‘s wallet left on a convenience store counter. See anything familiar? Check out the plaid shirt and his bill. It sure seems to be the same guy. An unlucky coincidence for Mr. Millhouse who was arrested and charged, but a Christmas miracle for the woman who lost her wallet.
Up next, the young woman said she was drugged and gang raped by her Halliburton KBR co-workers in Baghdad. The company and the U.S. government are trying to cover it up. She‘s with us live.
And: New developments tonight in the Stacy Peterson case. Peterson‘s attorney is here, coming up.
ABRAMS: A 20-year-old allegedly drugged and viciously gang raped by her Halliburton co-workers at Camp Hope inside Baghdad‘s green zone. Jamie Leigh Jones says shortly after she was raped, Halliburton-KBR security locked her in a shipping cell for nearly 24 hours without food and water, guarded by two men with machine guns. Jones says she was finally able to call her father back in the U.S. for help.
The local congressman in Texas called the embassy and she was rescued. Congressman Ted Poe says he wants answers, and still two years later, nothing. No criminal charges have been filed, still unclear whether any government agency is investigating.
Joining me is Jamie Leigh Jones and her attorney Todd Kelly.
Thanks very much to both of you for coming on. I appreciate it.
JAMIE LEIGH JONES, ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM: Hi.
TODD KELLY, JAMIE LEIGH JONES‘ ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us.
ABRAMS: All right. So, first of all, tell me - I mean this has been a long endeavor for you. It‘s now years after the fact you decided to go public. Why?
JONES: Well, I‘ve been trying to push for a prosecution this entire
time. I‘ve just gotten some media attention lately, but I have not given
up. I‘ve been pushing forward and I just started the Jamie Leigh
foundation. I‘ve been trying to bring awareness to the situation to help
others through my father‘s -
ABRAMS: So behind the scenes up to this point you‘ve been trying to pursue every legal avenue.
JONES: Oh, yes.
ABRAMS: And that‘s the reason you didn‘t go public until now about the allegations?
JONES: It‘s been like public the entire time.
JONES: But -
KELLY: But the timing - I‘m sorry. The timing of the release of the
public information was really more of a media decision than it was -
ABRAMS: Fair enough.
KELLY: Anything that Jamie or I had to do.
ABRAMS: Tell me what happened.
JONES: Well, where do you want me to start?
ABRAMS: Start from the time that this incident occurred.
JONES: OK. Let‘s see, I was in Iraq for four days. And on the
fourth day, I was meeting some new co-workers. They were outside of my
barrack. And I was handed a drink from a male co-worker. And this was
first time that I‘d met him. And he - when he handed me the drink, he
said, “There‘s new roofies in this drink or anything. I saved all my
roofies for Dubai.” And the -
ABRAMS: He‘s making a joke.
JONES: Yes. The people were laughing, so I just thought it was a joke. And then I took a couple of sips and I don‘t remember anything after that.
ABRAMS: And then you woke up and what made you think that you‘d been raped?
JONES: I had severe injuries. I was disfigured through my chest, which later required a reconstructive surgery. And in between my thighs were bruised, my wrists were bruised. And I just - all of those indicators and in between my legs, I had some injuries.
ABRAMS: There was bleeding?
ABRAMS: And then you got to see an army doctor?
ABRAMS: Who did a rape kit investigation?
JONES: Yes, sir.
ABRAMS: And what was the conclusion?
JONES: Well, the army doctor did confirm that - she said, Jamie, I don‘t know if I want to - I don‘t know if you want to know this, but you were raped both places. So put in other words.
ABRAMS: Vaginally and anally.
JONES: I don‘t know if I could say that on TV, but you did.
ABRAMS: Yes. The details are important because it relates to the gruesome nature of what happened.
JONES: Right. Yes. My heart sank that day. And since then I‘ve been so angry, that someone, you know, would actually violate my body like that. It just - it‘s gruesome and it‘s totally disgusting.
ABRAMS: But then what happened? So you‘ve now awakened and you don‘t
remember anything. You go to this doctor, and the doctor says you‘ve been
raped. You then - you say that the doctor then gave the report to someone
JONES: Well, the entire rape kit. It was in a box, and it included,
you know, the pictures, the doctor‘s notes, all the fingernail scrapings,
like everything that a rape kit includes - the swabs, everything. Handed
it to KBR Security. That will be like getting raped at the mall and
handing the rape kit to the mall guard. I mean, that‘s just -
ABRAMS: At the time, did you think what are they doing? Or were you
just so -
JONES: Yes, it rose a red flag to me. But in that position, what do you do? I didn‘t know anybody. I mean, I didn‘t know what to do.
ABRAMS: So then what happens?
JONES: The KBR security personnel who took the rape kit drove me to a trailer/ - there‘s a lot of names for it. I wanted to clarify that. It‘s been called trailer. It‘s been called a shipping container. It is all the same thing. They drove me to that.
And there‘s two armed guards outside of the container. And I was
actually imprisoned. They locked me in this container. And they would not
let me leave. The did not -
ABRAMS: Did you try to - I mean, did you say to them, I don‘t want to be in here?
JONES: Yes, yes. I tried to leave and I tried to get a phone.
ABRAMS: And then finally, you were able to call your father?
JONES: Yes. Because one of the -
ABRAMS: How did that happen?
JONES: Yes. One of the security guards had a heart. He felt sympathetic. He let me use his cell phone. I called my father at that time. I didn‘t know that he had contacted Congressman Ted Poe, but he did behind the scenes. And I found that out when the State Department agents arrived.
ABRAMS: Is it hard to you to talk about it, publicly?
JONES: Yes, yes. It has been very, very hard. But I feel like I
have to. I have to because this is happening. This is bigger than just me
at this point. There‘s other women. It has to be touched on because
there‘s got to be some change. And it should not take the media to get a
prosecution. I mean -
ABRAMS: Mr. Kelly, there‘s a legal issue here, right. And that is with regard to the prosecution. It‘s probably not going to happen, right?
KELLY: Well, the prosecution is really - I represent Jamie in her civil suit, and that civil suit obviously has nothing to do with the criminal prosecution.
ABRAMS: But there‘s a legal loophole that makes it nearly impossible for them to prosecute criminally?
KELLY: I don‘t feel comfortable speaking on that. I don‘t consider myself to be a criminal prosecution expert. There are experts in that field. I know we‘re preparing to testify on Wednesday at a congressional hearing and they‘re looking into issue. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
ABRAMS: Let me focus on some of the civil allegations. Because as you know, there have been some challenges from KBR. And some of them I would regard some of what was said, an internal e-mail at KBR from the president and CEO allegedly says, “While the allegations by Ms. Jones are serious, after a review in the case, KBR noted inaccuracies in the accounts of the incident in question and disputes portions of Ms. Jones‘ version of the facts.”
KELLY: I don‘t know what else you‘d expect them to say. Anytime that someone is accused of rape or having participation in the rape, they‘re going to allege that there are inaccuracies in the statement. Notably, they have not been specific about what inaccuracies that they‘re talking about.
ABRAMS: But “THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE” cited this and they said that “KBR told EEOC officials that one of the men accused in the rape said the woman consented to have sex with him.”
KELLY: It‘s interesting they would talk about consent because of the nature of the injuries that Jamie has already talked about.
JONES: Yes, there‘s no way that that was consensual.
KELLY: Yes, she was brutally raped both anally and vaginally. But what she didn‘t mention earlier on this show, that she‘s mentioned earlier in other places is the fact that her pectoral muscles were torn. Her breasts were misshapen. And she had to have a reconstructive surgery. In fact, she still needs reconstructive surgery.
KELLY: No one consents to that.
JONES: Right. I consider it to have been like beaten as well. I
mean, how sick do you have to be to do that to another woman? I mean,
that‘s so -
ABRAMS: I have to tell you, Congressman Poe was on this program
before, saying that there needs to be some sort of investigation here
particularly because of the number of other cases that have come to light
of allegations of rape at the hands of private contractors in Iraq. Thank
you so much -
KELLY: Thank you for having us.
ABRAMS: For taking the time to come on the program. We really appreciate it.
JONES: Oh, thank you.
KELLY: Thank you for caring enough.
ABRAMS: Up next, why did Drew Peterson transfer $250,000 to his son days after Stacy disappeared? I don‘t know. I‘ll ask his attorney to respond.
And my exclusive interview last week with his client, including allegations that his wife had a thing for her pastor.
And later, a Philadelphia anchorwoman booked on assault charges after allegedly cursing at a female New York City cop and punching her in the face. She‘s one of tonight‘s winners and losers. I bet you can guess this one.
ABRAMS: Did you know the first special prosecutor was Archibald Cox? He was an American lawyer who served as a U.S. General under Kennedy and later became best known for investigating the Watergate scandal.
Coming up, Drew Peterson‘s attorney asked the judge today for a special prosecutor to look into leaks coming out of what‘s supposed to be a sealed grand jury. I don‘t think it‘s going to happen, but his attorney is here with us. Next.
ABRAMS: More bad news tonight for Drew Peterson. A judge ruled today that police can keep the property they took from his home last month in their search for his missing wife Stacy, including two vehicles and 11 guns.
We also now note that authorities have been searching the Chicago Ship Canal for her because Drew Peterson reportedly received a call from Stacy‘s sister, Cassandra Cales(ph), that put him in that area the night of Stacy‘s disappearance. Now Cales said that Peterson sounded of breath and said that Drew said he was at his house. But she says that couldn‘t have been true because she was in his house when she made the call.
Also new, Peterson funneled nearly a quarter million dollars from various bank accounts, including accounts he shared with Stacy, to his son Steve after Stacy‘s disappearance.
And now, Peterson‘s attorney, Joel Brodsky, making a longshot request for the judge to appoint a special prosecutor to look into what he says are leaks coming out of the secret grand jury. Here now to talk about this once again, is Drew Peterson‘s attorney, Joel Brodsky. Joel, thanks for coming back on the program. Appreciate it.
JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON‘S ATTORNEY: No problem.
ABRAMS: All right. Let‘s start with this $250,000 of money.
ABRAMS: Do you confirm that he did transfer $250,000 out of his bank account to his son?
BRODSKY: Well, it was a transfer. I don‘t know if it was exactly 250,000, but it was over 200,000. It didn‘t come from his bank account, per se, it came from a home equity line that he and Stacy had on the house. And after Stacy‘s disappearance or after she ran away, Drew became concerned that she would try to access this money from wherever she was. So he decided the best way to keep her from accessing it was to take the money out of the home equity line and give it to his son, therefore preventing her from getting to the money.
ABRAMS: But if she‘s going to try to access it, hey, that will tell you where maybe Stacy is and that could be a good thing for Drew Peterson, no?
BRODSKY: Not if she gets the $250,000 and runs off with her new friend.
ABRAMS: Oh, so it‘s more important for him to prevent her from getting the money than it is to know she‘s alive.
BRODSKY: No. This happened about two or three days after she ran off. So his main concern at that point was keeping her from getting to the money so she could establish a new life with her friend.
ABRAMS: So has Stacy Peterson tried to access the money?
BRODSKY: Not that we‘re aware of.
ABRAMS: Oh, shocker, huh? She did the first thing she didn‘t do after she disappeared was try to access the money. Joel, you can understand why again this looks bad for your client.
BRODSKY: Well, I mean, it sounds to me when you look at it from that point of view, somebody was trying to prevent Stacy from accessing the money a few days after she ran off. So there‘s more evidence that she ran off than something else. So actually, I think it supports his theory or his contention.
ABRAMS: OK. I don‘t quite understand it. But let me ask you about the special prosecutor that you‘re asking for. You know, I don‘t know how legally you‘re entitled to a special prosecutor in this case. What law would that be under?
BRODSKY: Well, it‘s not Drew Peterson that would be getting the special prosecutor. It would be the court. Now, the grand jury is an arm of the court. And the grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret. When there‘s a leak, it‘s contempt of court, it‘s obstruction of justice and violation of the grand jury‘s secrecy.
ABRAMS: Yes, but this happens all the time in high profile cases. You see people complaining, grand jury - something got leaked out of the grand jury, et cetera. Look, it‘s not supposed to happen but they don‘t appoint special prosecutors either.
BRODSKY: Well, I‘ve never seen it happen - it is almost happening on a daily basis in this case.
ABRAMS: Look, witnesses -
BRODSKY: It‘s almost like I can turn on my TV at night and its‘ like I have a seat at the grand jury.
ABRAMS: Joel, witnesses are brought in front of the grand jury. You‘re suggesting they need a special prosecutor because somehow you‘re suggesting it sounds like that the prosecutors may be involved. But the bottom line is there are witnesses in there all the time.
BRODSKY: No, no. Absolutely not. No, I‘m making no suggestion at all that anybody with the State Attorney‘s Office is involved. In fact, I‘m positive they‘re not. But the state‘s attorneys give the information to other people so they can pursue the investigation.
And I believe that the leaks are coming from other people that the state attorneys have given the information to so that they can pursue the investigation. We have hundreds of officers involved and that‘s - one of the more inexperienced ones is being kind of conned into talking.
ABRAMS: You‘re not getting a special prosecutor, Joel. I can tell you right now. And if I‘m wrong, I will publicly apologize to you on this program. But I don‘t see a chance of you getting a special prosecutor in this case.
BRODSKY: I don‘t know the judge -
ABRAMS: Let me read the -
JOEL: I know that the state‘s attorney was concerned. The state‘s attorney was just concerned, but we‘ll see.
ABRAMS: They can be concerned but that doesn‘t mean you will get a special prosecutor. Right. Read me read you - This is an issue that you brought up on this program, as you know, that opened up a can of worms about this allegation, about something going on between Stacy and the pastor who came out and said that Stacy had said to him that Drew said he killed his third wife. All right?
Here‘s what Drew said to us about it in an interview that I did with him last week, “I know Stacy was very infatuated with the guy. If it was a two-way relationship, I can‘t comment. Every time she‘d go meet with him, she‘d be all dolled up some something voluptuous and seductive, and her make up was perfect. And it was odd to go and meet a pastor like that. I don‘t know if something was going on, but I didn‘t know about those other guys either.”
Now, we‘ve talked about the fact that I feel that Drew has been sliming every woman he‘s been involved with in connection with this case. Now it sounds like he‘s also sliming any guy who had any contact with Stacy at any point in their life as well.
BRODSKY: OK. Well, I want to be clear, that‘s no reflection on the pastor. In fact, now that we have a little money from our fund, we‘ve hired some investigators. It appears that the pastor is an honorable man and he‘s very much dedicate to his wife. But it also appears from what we‘ve been able to see, that Stacy was infatuated with the pastor.
ABRAMS: But how is that relevant unless you‘re claiming that she ran away with him?
BRODSKY: No. What we‘re saying was should this - We‘re talking about the pastor‘s comments and what the pastor‘s statements were and his actions in not reporting this alleged confession.
ABRAMS: Yes. That‘s not what you‘re talking about. You‘re talking about what she was wearing when she went to meet with him?
BRODSKY: But let me ask you this question: should this pastor have been counseling a woman who was that infatuated with him? I mean the whole thing - There was an article - Let me say one thing.
ABRAMS: Real quick.
BRODSKY: There was an article in the paper - There was an article in the “Sun-Times” today - yesterday, that said that the pastor‘s actions are being taught in the seminary on how not to behave as a pastor. I mean, that really reflects upon the credibility of his statements, I believe.
ABRAMS: Bottom line, I think this is slime game on the part of your client. But Joel Brodsky, remember, I‘m accusing Drew of being the slime game here. I know that you‘re just repeating information he gave to you. Joel Brodsky, thanks a lot. I appreciate you coming on the program.
Tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” is up next. Got some good ones.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.” Our bronze winner, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who somehow made it on to all six morning shows today, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and FOX news.
But the real winner may be the woman sitting over Hillary‘s left shoulder who clocked just about as much air time as the former first lady. Is it just me, or does she bear a striking resemblance to bill Clinton‘s iceberg Linda Tripp, who tape recorded her conversations with Monica Lewinsky. I‘m just asking.
Our silver winner, the “American Bar Association Journal” magazine who came to their senses after we mocked them for naming former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Lawyer of the Year for 2007.
They‘ve now reversed course, stripping Gonzo of Lawyer of the Year and officially changing it to the Legal Newsmaker of the Year.
But the big winner of the day? Underdog GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul who raised more than $6 million in 24 hours yesterday, the largest one-day Internet fundraiser in political history. Breaking his own record of $4 million in a day.
On the losing front, our bronze loser, fellow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor proudly proclaiming himself one of the NRA‘s favorite sons on “Meet the Press.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yet I also was pleased to have the support of the NRA when I ran for governor. What I did as governor, the fact that I received the endorsement of the NRA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The only problem, Romney actually didn‘t receive the NRA endorsement. They decided not to endorse either candidate in that election. His handlers made matters worse by trying to spin his misstatement, raving about Romney‘s, quote, “Respectable B grade” from the NRA. Of course, they failed to mention, his Democratic opponent earned a gun lover‘s A.
Our silver loser, former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey. The usually straight talker now taking the heat for seemingly taking a not so veiled shot at Barack Obama while endorsing Hillary Clinton over the weekend. Kerrey claims he was complimenting Obama when he told reporters, “I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother was a Muslim.” Hillary supporters aren‘t saying that Barack Obama‘s religious background should be an issue. They‘re just saying.
But the big loser of the day? Philadelphia TV anchorwoman Alicia Lane. The stunning newscaster booked on assault charges yesterday after allegedly cursing out a female New York City cop, then allegedly punching her in the face. The late night scuffle not the Philadelphia Fox‘s first brush with controversy. She gained infamy earlier this year for sending steamy pictures of herself to a married former ESPN host.
ABRAMS: Here now “New York Post” reporter Laura Italiano. Laura, thanks for coming on the program.
LAURA ITALIANO, “NEW YORK POST” REPORTER: Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right. So she gets out of the car with her boyfriend and what happens?
ITALIANO: Well, when one of the police officers, a woman, all of them in plainclothes, lays a hand on her to push her back, get the camera out of the other policeman‘s face. She is alleged by cops to have hauled off and slugged the female police officer while saying - shouting something pretty indelicate.
ABRAMS: So her lawyer now seems to be saying she didn‘t know they were cops. Right?
ITALIANO: They didn‘t know they were cops. Didn‘t punch anyone.
Didn‘t say anything insulting.
ABRAMS: So the punching is an issue as well, right? She is not suggesting there‘s a fight but she didn‘t know they were cops. She‘s simply saying, “Didn‘t punch her, didn‘t hit her.”
ITALIANO: Did not hit anyone. Yes.
ABRAMS: And this is - when you punch a police officer in New York, I mean, or at least alleged to have punched a police officer in New York, they come down on you pretty hard.
ITALIANO: Well, you know, they‘re probably used to being cursed at, as in this case there is alleged to have happened. But punching, no. They don‘t take too kindly to that. When it does in this case, despite very minor injuries on the part of the policewoman, is elevate it from a misdemeanor to a felony with a penalty in this case of a maximum seven years in prison, although, you know, it‘s doubtful that that will ever come into play.
ABRAMS: Laura Italiano, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
ITALIANO: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: That‘s all we have for tonight. “HOLMAN EXTENDED STAY.” See you tomorrow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.