Guest: Tim Baker, Anne Rice, Beth Holloway Twitty, John McCain, Ray Kelly
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now, in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, breaking news: Terrorists strike again. Suicide bombers kill dozens at hotels in Amman, Jordan, in response tonight, police in America stepping up patrols at big-city hotels. We are going to have the very latest developments and we are going to ask, what can be done to prevent an attack here at home?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks a lot.
We begin tonight with chaos in the heart of Jordan, one of America‘s best friends in the Arab world. At this hour, right now, 57 people confirmed dead, with hundreds others wounded in that attack. And it has all the hallmarks of al Qaeda. And there‘s late word that a car loaded with explosives has been found at another hotel.
The attacks have put Americans on high alert. In a minute, we are going to be talking live to the man in charge of keeping New York City safe, Commissioner Ray Kelly.
But, first, attack in Amman. Let‘s go right now to NBC‘s Keith Miller in London.
Keith, what do you got?
KEITH MILLER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, so far, no group has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks, but, clearly it was the work of Islamic extremists, once again going after soft targets.
(voice-over): There was no warning. The near simultaneous blasts hit three hotels in the center of Amman shortly before 9:00 tonight. The first explosion ripped through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. Moments later, explosions in the Days Inn hotel and the Radisson Hotel. The bomb there was detonated during a wedding reception for some 250 people. Police report all three bombs were set off by suicide bombers.
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Any time you see this many attacks happen in a short period of time, it‘s either a member of the al Qaeda organization, one of their networks or a self-styled jihadist who supports the cause.
MILLER: Senior counterterrorism and intelligence officials tell NBC News that the prime suspect in tonight‘s bombings is Jordanian militant Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
SIMON HENDERSON, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST: To hit targets in Jordan is a neat way for Zarqawi both to punish the Jordanian government and punish the United States.
MILLER: Jordan has trained 40,000 Iraqi police cadets and soldiers, placing the country high on the hit list of radical Islamic groups. Last August, Zarqawi claimed responsibility for rockets fired at two U.S. warships in the Jordanian port of Aqaba. And Jordanian intelligence managed to foil plans to attack tourist sites in 1999. Code-named the Millennium Flop, the Radisson hotel was on the list of the intended targets.
As a neighbor of Iraq, Jordan has become a gateway to the Middle East. The hotels hit tonight house Western diplomats, Iraqi politicians and businessmen traveling to Baghdad.
(on camera): Jordan‘s King Abdullah cut short an overseas trip tonight and condemned the terrorist attacks as the work of a misled, deviant group.
(voice-over): Tonight, the country‘s borders are sealed as the government launches a manhunt for those responsible for planning the attack.
(on camera): The Jordanian intelligence community is a savvy group, and they will go into overdrive tonight to try and apprehend those responsible. Of course, they will get whatever assistance they need from both the U.S. and European anti-terrorist organizations—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks a lot.
And with me right now in Washington, D.C., is NBC terror analyst Roger Cressey.
Roger, I understand al Qaeda told us it was coming 24 hours ago. Tell us about that.
CRESSEY: That‘s right. On the Web site al Qaeda in Iraq, they said the coalition would feel the earth move under their feet within 24 hours, so, one theory, of course, is that today‘s attacks were perpetrated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi‘s network. And he was telegraphing his punch just the day before.
SCARBOROUGH: But the thing is about Jordan, you were always talking about how this isn‘t the first time they have tried to hit Jordan, and, really, Jordan‘s security forces are about as good as it gets.
Talk about the history of this, how long they have been trying to go after this government, trying to shake it, because, again, it‘s an American ally.
CRESSEY: Because of King Abdullah‘s support for the United States, because of its peace treaty with Israel, they have always been a target for al Qaeda and for the broader jihadi movement, going back to the late 1990s, during the millennium plot, when Zarqawi and others tried to attack these type of hotels, the SAS Radisson, for the same reasons that they are doing it today. And, of course, they were successfully today, unfortunately.
SCARBOROUGH: And what does this tell us about—let‘s expand this out—obviously, not just about the terror in Jordan, but everybody always wants to know every time there‘s an explosion like this, when after so many people are killed, what does it mean about the power and the force of al Qaeda tonight?
CRESSEY: Well, we need to think about al Qaeda not as an organization, but as a movement. And this movement is global in nature, which we all know. These type of attacks appeal to part of its base, which is to strike at these apostate regimes, as the jihadis describe the Hashemite kingdom, to strike at U.S. interests.
There‘s another part of the base, which says, wait a minute, why are we killing innocent civilians? So, there‘s a debate within this movement right now over whether or not these type of attacks are appropriate.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s what so fascinating, because, of course, we like to think of al Qaeda as an organizational chart, playing cards—like, in Iraq, you get all the cards, you win the game. Not the case here. You actually have al Qaeda fighting al Qaeda, saying—some—again, like you said, some saying, stop killing our people.
CRESSEY: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: Others say, we have to do it.
CRESSEY: It‘s not a monolithic organization. It‘s not hierarchical, like it was pre-9/11.
So our challenge, when we talk about the war of ideas and how to get our message across, is to work with our allies to make sure the message is killing civilians is wrong and it‘s against the tenets of Islam.
SCARBOROUGH: So, what you are telling us right now is, even if we captured bin Laden and Zarqawi on the same day, these killings may continue.
CRESSEY: Joe, the most important thing is that regardless of what happens to the leadership, the movement will continue. That‘s the long-term strategic challenge for us, for Jordan, and for all of our allies.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, and that‘s frightening for everybody.
SCARBOROUGH: Roger Cressey, thanks a lot for being with us.
CRESSEY: OK, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Really appreciate it, as always.
Tonight, police in New York City are taking action to protect big tourist hotels, and the man in charge of this is the police commissioner, Ray Kelly. He is live in New York tonight.
Thank you so much for being with us, Mr. Commissioner.
RAYMOND KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Good to be with you.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell us about New York City. What are you guys doing now in response to these Jordan attacks?
KELLY: Well, we deploy critical response vehicles every day.
And we do it twice a day, large numbers of officers, up to 200, an evolution. So, we are using those officers in part to protect the major hotels in New York and other significant locations.
SCARBOROUGH: Commissioner, you have been vigilant. You have always gone the extra yard, and, of course, we had a little dust-up about a month ago, where you had bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., trying to tell you how to protect your city. I don‘t think that‘s a smart idea.
In this case, though, do you think that there‘s an immediate threat to New York tonight because of what happened overnight in Jordan? Could New York and other American targets be next?
KELLY: We simply don‘t know, but we think that it‘s better to react quickly than perhaps regret if we didn‘t take action, so we stand ready to respond. We have a large, I think very professional police force, and that is what we do. We do that every day. We have major drills bringing large numbers of officers together.
And, as I said, tonight, we are focusing to a large extent on the major hotels here in New York.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot of Americans obviously frustrated when they look at these attacks and wonder why they couldn‘t have been stopped there, or why some attacks can‘t be stopped here in the United States, if they come.
But, bottom line, how do you stop young men coming in, strapping bombs onto themselves, walking into hotels and detonating them? I mean, in the end, does a lot of it just come down to luck and great intel?
KELLY: Great intel, absolutely. That‘s what we want to use.
Intelligence is the best line of defense.
Absent that, it‘s very difficult. It depends on perhaps luck, seeing someone coming in acting in a suspicious nature. It depends to a certain extent on some of the physical protective measures that are put in place, but intelligence is really where it‘s at. That‘s what we need. That‘s why we have people overseas. We actually have a New York City police officer assigned in Amman, Jordan. He responded to two of the three hotel sites this evening, and he was able to give us a firsthand report.
SCARBOROUGH: What message would you like to send to the people of New York City and America tonight? What do they need to do to remain vigilant?
KELLY: Well, we are doing everything that we reasonably can do to protect New Yorkers. We have to police the city 24 hours a day, of course, so there are other concerns that we have, but I think you have said—that‘s the word, vigilance. We want people to look at their world through the prism of 9/11. Everybody‘s life changed as a result of September 11. Look at things through that prism.
Anything you see of a suspicious nature, call your local authorities. Here in New York, we have a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hot line. It‘s 1-888-NYC-SAFE. You can get that through a 311 number. But we need the public‘s eyes and ears out there. Law enforcement simply can‘t do it alone.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. You‘re the best in the business. Thanks so much for being with us.
KELLY: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: New York Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Now, when we come back, Senator John McCain is going to be here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about tonight‘s deadly attacks and answer whether he thinks the United States Senate can do anything to stop suicide bombers from coming to America.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. My baby.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Dramatic 911 calls from the scene of that deadly Indiana tornado. Could there have been warning?
Stay with us—that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: A boycott is announced against the government of Aruba, and Aruba fights back tough. We are going to have with us the interview of Natalee Holloway‘s mom, Beth Holloway Twitty, first interview since the boycott was announced—that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
We have got more on these horrific bombings in Jordan, the very latest.
Let‘s go right now to NBC‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell—Andrea.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Joe, U.S. intelligence officials say the attacks in Jordan have all the earmarks of Jordanian fugitive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi because of his history and his al Qaeda connections.
(voice-over): The secretary of state, who leaves for the region tomorrow on a previously scheduled trip.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Jordan has, of course, been a tremendous fighter and a tremendous ally in the war on terror.
MITCHELL: In August of last year, Zarqawi warned there would be more fierce confrontations with the Jordanian government, which he said would be “more vicious and bitter, God willing.” And only last July, Osama bin Laden‘s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, wrote to Zarqawi, telling him to extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq—Al Qaeda‘s aim, to penalize America‘s allies for supporting the Iraq war.
RET. GEN. WAYNE DOWNING, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think unquestionably that letter from Zawahri indicates that the goal is much more than Iraq. It‘s that entire region. It‘s Lebanon. It‘s Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan.
(on camera): The fear, say terrorist experts, is that Jordan may be only the first of Iraq‘s neighbors to be attacked by al Qaeda and its allies in a new wave of terror—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much, Andrea.
Greatly appreciate it.
Now, earlier, I spoke with Arizona Senator John McCain. He has written a new book called “Character Is Destiny.”
And I began by asking him about today‘s suicide bombings and what the U.S. Senate, what the House, what the president can do to stop these terrorists.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: I think that there are people who are dedicated to the proposition that they are going to destroy everything we stand for and believe in and anybody associated with us.
As you know, Jordan is probably our closest ally in the region, outside of Israel. And they are going to—and when people are willing to take their own lives while they do it, it makes it very difficult. Look at the Israeli problem with this kind of suicide bombing.
And there‘s one other aspect to this thing. And we will know a lot more in the next few hours, but 300 people in a wedding reception, that‘s where one of the bombs was taking off. That‘s pretty good planning, from an evil standpoint. So, I think that we are in a long, hard struggle.
One other quick vignette, Joe. I served on the Weapons of Mass
Destruction Commission. And every witness that came before that commission
it lasted for a year. It was a very good commission, and I thought we did a good job. But I would say to every expert, is there going to be another attack on the United States of America? Every single one of them said yes. They didn‘t say when. They didn‘t say where. They didn‘t say how.
But these people whose business it is every day that are fighting this war for us, they believe that it‘s a long, hard struggle.
SCARBOROUGH: And, in the end, what can you do when somebody straps a bomb to their chest, walks into these three hotels? I mean, everybody talks about how Iraq is such a failure, because our enemy blowing themselves up.
I mean, if that‘s the best offensive move—certainly, it‘s a great, great tragedy, but how do we stop that?
SCARBOROUGH: How do you stop that? How does a president stop that, whether that president is a Republican or a Democrat?
MCCAIN: I think one thing is to look at the Israeli example, the difficulties they had, when they were able to really literally build a wall.
But, look, I think it‘s very difficult and hard, but what we got to do is establish zones of security and peace, and—so that we go into a place, and not kill people and leave, and then have to come back six months later. You establish an area. You expand the areas of security, so that people can lead normal lives, and you give them a government.
On December 15, we are going to have a government that they can—that is their own, some economic development, some training of the Iraqi military, and train them up, so that they are capable of doing the job. This is long and hard and difficult, but we have got to do it, and we can do it.
SCARBOROUGH: Do Americans have what it takes? You have a great book out now talking about character, how character is destiny. It predicts the future. We knew, Americans knew on December 7, 1941, that they were going to see that war through to the end. And that attack was in—obviously, in Hawaii. It wasn‘t even a state back then.
Do we have what it takes? There seems to be so much second-guessing going on in Iraq, when, in fact, the troops on the ground, most of them I talk to, are proud of what they are doing over there.
MCCAIN: Oh, yes. They are so proud and they are so wonderful and magnificent.
I go Walter Reed, and you see these young men and women who are wounded. And they want to go back. I think that...
SCARBOROUGH: Can I stop you there for a second?
SCARBOROUGH: Because a lot of people don‘t understand that.
You talk to these men and women. They‘re in Walter Reed. They have lost a leg. They have lost an arm. It‘s almost like survivor‘s guilt. They all—so many of them say, I want to be back with my buddies.
MCCAIN: I know.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell us about it, Senator. What is that?
MCCAIN: There‘s a bond, I think. And you have seen it, and I have seen it. There‘s a bond that grows between people who serve together and face danger together and are fighting for a cause together.
They truly believe in this cause. They see a better life for the Iraqi people. They see the evidence of Saddam Hussein‘s brutality and the mass graves and all of that. And they see the nature of these fanatical enemies that they face. So, they just—they—and, also, they are the best of America.
But I also want to mention to you, one of the problems, again, is how many times have we been to Mosul or Ramada or Fallujah? We go in, we kill bad guys, and then we leave. It‘s originally because we didn‘t have enough troops to control it. Establish areas of control and expand those areas of control, so that people can live fairly normal, decent lives, and then they will become supportive of the government and will resent these people who come in and destroy, disrupt their lives.
SCARBOROUGH: But we are not doing that now. And when I hear—the only negative criticism I hear from our troops about the political leadership in Washington, D.C., is, a guy will tell me, he goes out, and, like you said, he goes to Mosul, and they sweep through it. They win the hearts and the minds.
And, listen, these people hate the terrorists that are blowing their families up in the marketplace.
SCARBOROUGH: But then they say, then we come back and we got to go out and do the same thing all over again.
Is this Don Rumsfeld trying to win a war on the cheap? Are we...
MCCAIN: I think—I said from the beginning we didn‘t have enough boots on the ground. Everybody knows that. We shouldn‘t have allowed the looting. We made a lot of mistakes.
But—and I am still not happy about it. But in every war we make mistakes. There‘s never been a war in history—maybe the first Gulf War was as close to a kind of a perfect war, if there‘s such a thing.
But look at the mistakes we made in Vietnam, Korea, even the beginning of World War II, and every other war. The key to it is to fix it. We have the best generals. You have met them.
General Petraeus, General Abizaid, these guys are great. Their leadership is great. But we need to have enough control of areas, so that the insurgents can‘t filter back in. Remember the search-and-destroy of Vietnam? We would go out and sweep the jungles, killed off some, and then they would move back in again.
We have got to have—there‘s a Harvard professor, Krepinevich, and there‘s a number of others that have written. They call it oil spot or that kind of thing. That‘s what we need to do. And the other thing we need to do, Joe, is what you have been doing. And that‘s telling the American people, this is long and hard and tough.
Don‘t expect miracles. Don‘t expect progress overnight, but expect progress, and be surprised when things start going well, rather than saying, everything is great, and then we see the crawl across the bottom of the screen.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. I will tell you what. He is a great man. And I will tell you, a lot of people out there, including myself, think he would be a great president.
I want to thank Senator John McCain for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.
And you can stay tuned to MSNBC for continuing coverage of the Amman attacks.
Now to our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign: Are big oil companies gouging regular working-class Americans? That was one of the tough questions asked today when the heads of the nation‘s biggest oil companies were hauled before Congress to defend their massive profits and a sharp increase in their prices.
NBC‘s Chip Reid has that story.
SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON: Mr. Chairman, I move that we swear in.
CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today‘s hearing had barely begun when the executives discovered they had a protector, powerful Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who gruffly denied Democratic requests that the witnesses be sworn in.
CANTWELL: I would like the committee to vote on whether we swear in...
SEN. TED STEVENS ®, ALASKA: There will be no vote. That‘s not in order at all.
REID: That allowed these executives to avoid the kind of incriminating photo that a decade ago but tobacco company executives on the nation‘s front pages. That wasn‘t the only display of Stevens‘ power. He limited questioning to five minutes a senator, reducing the time for attacks like this.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: And your sacrifice, gentlemen, appears to be nothing.
REID: Even some usually strong supporters of big energy were skeptics today. Last summer, Senator Pete Domenici led the charge in passing billions in tax breaks for energy companies, but this was Domenici today.
SEN. PETE DOMENICI ®, NEW MEXICO: Our people have a growing suspicion that the oil companies are taking unfair advantage of the current market conditions to line their coffers with excess profits.
REID: The oil executives, though, didn‘t give an inch. Gasoline prices reflect world oil prices, they said, over which they have little control. As for the most recent surge in gas prices, blame Katrina and Rita, they said. And what about those huge profits?
LEE RAYMOND, CEO, EXXONMOBIL: Our numbers are huge because the scale of our industry is huge.
REID: It‘s unlikely Congress will actually do anything, like pass a windfall profits tax, leaving some analysts to suggest this hearing was mostly for show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a hearing that is responding to politics. It‘s responding to what people are hearing from their constituents. It‘s responding to what they are seeing in the polls.
REID (on camera): Yeargan (ph) says there‘s more bad energy news in the pipeline. This winter, home heating costs are expected to skyrocket, which means the congressional hand-wringing is far from over.
Chip Reid, NBC News, the Capitol.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much, Chip.
So, here we are in the nation‘s capital. They are the ones that are supposed to be protecting you, right? They are the ones that are supposed to be looking out for Americans that need help. Well, today, we have got the chairman of the committee basically limiting the questions that can be asked of these oil executives, making sure they don‘t get sworn in, making sure you don‘t get the answer.
I was just writing it down. We heard from one of these oil executives, the reason why they made so much money: “Our numbers are huge because the scale of our industry is huge.” That‘s not good enough. We are not getting answers. We are not getting it from the oil execs. We are not getting them from anybody else, too.
And I will tell you what. It‘s a disgrace, and the Senate better step up and the House better step up and give us answers.
Coming up next, the governor of Alabama calls on all Americans to boycott Aruba. And, for the first time, Natalee Holloway‘s mom is here to tell us why she wants you to stay away from that dangerous island.
And, later, the terror of a deadly twister—we are going to hear terrifying calls for help after a deadly tornado in Indiana that killed dozens. Plus, we are going to talk to an expert who stood face to face with storms like this one.
Stick around. SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be back.
SCARBOROUGH: Whether you are talking about the watercooler or international newspapers across the globe, it‘s a story everybody is talking about, two NFL cheerleaders caught in a very compromising position in a bar‘s bathroom. Coming up, wait until you see what they are saying about the story today. We will have that.
But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Heartbreaking 911 calls from the people in the eye of Sunday‘s Indiana tornado. We are going to be talking to a man who knows all to well what it feels like to face down a twister.
And the very latest on the story people are talking about around the watercooler, at least, those Carolina Panther cheerleaders. You are not going to believe where this story is headed now. We are going to be talking about those stories and a lot more coming up.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Glad you are still with us.
The question right now is, in the Natalee Holloway case, should Americans boycott the island of Aruba? Well, that‘s the big question tonight. And, also, what effect will a boycott have on the authorities, who really have been dragging their feet there and covering up on the truth about what really happened to Natalee Holloway six months ago?
With us now live for her first interview since the boycott was announced, Natalee‘s mom, Beth Holloway Twitty.
Beth, great to see you again.
And also with us, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
Well, Beth, we have been talking about this for some time. People have been talking about a boycott. You have been extraordinarily patient. For almost half-a-year now, you have told everybody, back off. Let‘s work with the authorities. Let‘s work through the process. But what was the triggering event? When did you finally say, enough is enough?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Well, you know, Joe, you are exactly right.
I think that guys like you, you have known it early on, that we would probably be coming to this position. We just—we were just hoping that we never would everyone to this position, but I think the last straw was when we get a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs, that, after almost six months of us seeking help, written requests, verbal requests, from the governor, the minister of justice, the minister of tourism, the chief of police, the prosecuting attorney, that we had been seeking—looking for the wrong help.
It‘s the Hague all along that was controlling this investigation. Why were they dishonest, and why weren‘t they forthcoming in the beginning and direct us to the proper authority? Why did they let us do that for almost six months, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: Beth, did you ever have any indication whatsoever that all the people you were lobbying, all the people you were talking to, that you were begging for help from, that these people were powerless figureheads who were wasting your time while your daughter was missing?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Absolutely not, Joe. Absolutely not.
I cannot tell you how—we spent so much energy and resources and time into those legislative and judicial and administrative branches of government for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
SCARBOROUGH: And, again, just like that first week. This—you know, the first week was just a microcosm of the past six months.
We thought the first week was bad, when they went out; they let the three boys loose; they arrested two guys simply because they were black, tried to pin it on them and, again, allowed the investigation to go cold, turned in a cold case. And now here we are six months later, and we find out, that was just only the beginning.
I mean, they were playing with you and—and your family the entire time. So, do you think Americans are going to join the call? What do you want Americans to do tonight?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, Joe, our concern is that, until their lack of law enforcement can be evaluated on that island and we have resolution in Natalee‘s case, it‘s not safe for tourists on their island, you know, let alone their citizens of Aruba. That concerns me for them, also.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, it is frightening.
Clint, let me bring you in here.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: You have been down there.
VAN ZANDT: I have.
SCARBOROUGH: You are a professional FBI guy. This is—this really is for me even harder to swallow than what happened the first week. You were down there.
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, a guy who has committed your life to law enforcement—did you ever have any indication that all of the authorities down there were helpless and this was all being run from the Hague?
VAN ZANDT: No.
This was a frustrating case. Number one, of course, I have had the opportunity to sit and talk with Beth, and I know what resolution she seeks. And I‘m just—the strength that she has shown, and tenacity, you know, I would hope as a parent we could all show that same level of strength if it was our child. What choice do we have to begin with?
But the challenge is, why hasn‘t this been worked right? You are right, Joe, from day one, from day five, from day 10. It‘s like trying to chase the proverbial football with butter on it. Nobody seems to be able to hold onto a pass down there, and I am not even sure anybody has thrown a pass. They haven‘t connected whatsoever. The challenge is, how do you pick up this case, and where do you go from here?
SCARBOROUGH: But how do you get answers? We don‘t even know who is in charge. At the end of the day, again, all of these Aruban authorities have been putting themselves out to Beth and the family and friends that they were the ones that were running this investigation. They said they had confidence in the investigation.
And now again, here we are. Almost six months later, we find out they have got no power at all.
VAN ZANDT: And the challenge is, this is not that tough of a case, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s not.
VAN ZANDT: It‘s not that tough of a case.
SCARBOROUGH: We know who did it. That‘s what bothers me, Clint.
And you know what? A lot of people will say, well, why is Beth still fighting? She knows who raped her daughter. She knows, if she is dead, who killed her daughter. And all they are doing is trying to stop her from finding the truth.
VAN ZANDT: You know, investigation 101 says you go to the last people who were miss—with the missing victim. You get them to account for their time. You get them to account for their contact with her.
And, if they tell their stories, or if they tell multiple stories, then you don‘t range out looking all over the world. You stay right there with those three guys. Joe, I really, really believe that any good investigators worth their salt could have had these three guys, these three suspects, early on in the case, the first week, if they would have grabbed them early on, if they would have done the right searches, if they would have done good, penetrating interviews.
You know what the Arubans do, Joe? When they do an interview, they go, OK, Joe, tell me your story. OK. Thank you very much. Have a good day.
Well, no, where is the follow-up questions? Where is, what do you mean by that?
VAN ZANDT: Wait a minute. Come back. Come back to...
SCARBOROUGH: And, Beth...
VAN ZANDT: Those things didn‘t take place.
And, Beth, why did those things not take place? Those things didn‘t take place because it seems they didn‘t want the truth.
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: They wanted to cover this up. They don‘t want Americans, 500,000 Americans who go down to Aruba—we make up 70 percent of their economy—they don‘t want them to know the truth about their—I was going to say a bad word on TV—I better not—my mom watches—about their lousy island, do they?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: You know, Joe, there‘s been such an unwillingness, from the very beginning, for the prosecuting attorney, Caren Janssen, and van der Straaten, who is the chief of police, to conduct a proper investigation.
Yes, it‘s a cover-up. Look at how the events unfolded from day one. They wouldn‘t even rearrest—they wouldn‘t even arrest the suspects until 10 days later, after the families became outraged after the two innocent security guards were arrested. Everyone has witnessed and experienced this.
SCARBOROUGH: If we make up 70 percent of their economy, a boycott of Aruba could cripple the island. It could crush their economy, and I think that‘s exactly what needs to be done. And I am glad Governor Bob Riley thinks that is what needs to be done, too.
What is next? Are you going to go to other governors? Are you going to go to senators? Is Bob going to go to other governors and senators? How do we expand this out, so it‘s 50 states leaning on Aruba until they rearrest these guys and we get justice for your daughter?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, I don‘t really know the next step from here. And I think that I will rely on Governor Riley, and we will just keep in communication and see what the next move is.
And I have heard him also was reaching out to the other governors in the states, and I know that there‘s also a governors meeting I believe, that comes up in the spring—and, you know, just going to have to take it one day at a time, Joe. That‘s how we have done the entire investigation. We have not really been able to plan too far ahead. We just experience it and go from there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Beth, thanks a lot for being with us. Really appreciate it.
And, Clint, thank you, also.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Really appreciate it.
We are going to be following this story.
I think, ironically, the biggest part of the story may still be ahead, when we start leaning on Aruba and start getting answers.
VAN ZANDT: You know, and the only challenge here, Joe, is that not to punish the Aruban people for the inadequacies of their government. That‘s the only thing that bothers me. I support the boycott, but how do we support the people, too?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. All right.
Well, appreciate that.
And when we come back, it came out of nowhere in the middle of the night, a deadly twister in Indiana. But, tonight, we are going to be hearing the calls for help from the people who needed it the most.
And she is best known for her vampire books, but Anne Rice is here to tell us why she is leaving the dark side—that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: The deadliest tornado in more than three decades ripped through Indiana Sunday at 2:00 a.m., killing 22 people and injuring over 100.
Residents are only now coming back into that area to pick up what‘s left of their lives and their belongings. Last night, police officers released frantic 911 calls after the tornado, and at least one call during the storm. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: Oh, my God. My baby.
CALLER: Help my baby. My baby.
OPERATOR: OK, ma‘am. You‘re going to have to calm down, so I can understand you.
CALLER: Eastbrook Mobile Home Park.
CALLER: Ma‘am, it‘s Augusta. Please, somebody is stuck underneath the house.
CALLER: I‘m just really scared, because my mom is squished.
OPERATOR: Where is she, babe?
CALLER: She‘s under the trailer.
CALLER: We got people trapped in these trailers out here.
OPERATOR: Sir, we have got everybody coming as quickly as they can.
CALLER: I hear people screaming everywhere.
CALLER: Yes. The Eastbrook Mobile Home Park is gone. We try to go out and there‘s—the whole south is just wiped out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I will tell you what. That is really, really compelling video. It sounds like some of the things I heard during the hurricanes, just so tragic.
I want to bring in somebody who actually chases tornadoes, who stood in the heart of a twister. He is Tim Baker, also known as Tornado Tim.
Tim, I just don‘t think anybody, and myself included, can imagine what those people went through that night and what so many Americans in Middle America have to go through when a twister comes, and yet you chase these things. You have gotten as close to them as anybody that survived. What were they going through during the storm?
TIM BAKER, TORNADO CHASER: Well, those tapes were absolutely disturbing.
Man, I just hated hearing that. You know, when you get that close to a tornado, the sounds start out as kind of strange. And the first things you think is, that‘s a strange or weird sound, but it rapidly changes to eerie, to frightening, to terrifying in just a matter of seconds.
Just there was no time for these poor people to react in the middle of the night.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I have heard, Tim, you have actually been in the middle of these things and seen you have seen hail come at you almost the size of baseballs.
Talk about—talk about the drama of it. Again, as somebody that actually, unlike these poor people, as somebody who actually chases these things down to learn what Americans are going through when they are hit by a tornado, what is it like?
BAKER: Well, it‘s probably because I am the stupidest tornado chaser in the world, the reason I have had so many close encounters.
But, you know, at first, it‘s a thrill or an excitement, when you get close to a tornado. But then there‘s some point where your body takes over and says, hey, I might die here. And it just—even I get frightened. In fact, the one tornado you are talking about, a two-by-four had slammed into the side of my car during that, and the winds just started to scare me to death, and, at that point, I figured I was going to die, and I crawled on the floor of my car, hoping that, if debris fell on top of the car, I would survive. But I really didn‘t think I would live through that one.
SCARBOROUGH: Tim, what does it sound like? I hear people talking about, again, with hurricanes, it sounds like a freight train is coming down the street. What does it sound like when one of these big twisters come up on you, like the one we are showing right now on the screen, and, again, you think you may die because it‘s about to knock you in two?
The sounds actually are different in different tornadoes. I have heard them all the way from sounding like you are right next to a jet engine that is at full speed, just a terrible screech, all the way to, yes, they do sound like trains, especially when they go through trees. There‘s an echoing sound that just absolutely multiplies it out. And, like I say, at first, it‘s eerie and then it just goes to terrifying.
SCARBOROUGH: How many of these things have you chased?
BAKER: I have been around 40 or 50 tornadoes. I have been too close to several.
I mean, it‘s easy to drive into a rain-wrapped tornado. And I have had that happen when I had my daughter with me chasing one time. And we were driving in the rain, knowing there was a tornado. And the next thing we know, we have got flashes in front of us, all around us. I am thinking it‘s lightning. And then I realize, no, these are power lines going down in front of us, just hundreds of yards in front of us.
Trees start to bend over, and we slam on the brakes and u-ey out of there. But, when you get in those encounters, even a chaser that is doing it on purpose gets scared.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, it looks terrifying. Thanks so much for being with us, Tim Baker. We greatly appreciate it.
Coming up, she‘s a legendary author. And thanks to her “Vampire Chronicles,” she has sold over a hundred million books, but her new book has everybody talking about a portrayal of 7-year-old Jesus and her personal conversion. Anne Rice says she has found God. And she joins us next.
Plus, the cheerleader story we have told you about, it‘s gained a lot of attention—that story still to come.
SCARBOROUGH: She is called the queen of vampires, and best known for writing “Interview With the Vampire.” Anne Rice‘s books have sold over a hundred million worldwide, but she has changed course completely, moved away from the Goth novel, and now has a new book about Jesus as a 7-year-old boy. It‘s a novel called “Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt.”
I sat down with Anne Rice and asked her why she wrote this book now.
ANNE RICE, NOVELIST: Actually, I became obsessed with doing this book, and as a result of a personal conversion and a personal commitment, it became the only thing that I wanted to do, the life of Jesus, to make Jesus as real as possible to people, perhaps people who never thought about him, people who believe in him, but believe in him at him—believe in him only in a certain way, or people who have never thought about him at all.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, you have—obviously, I mean, you have written, I think, over 25 books. You have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. You are just as successful as any author could ever dream of being.
And yet, even after all that success, it appears that you are taking a 180-degree turn from where you have been for the past quarter-century. What is it, in your words, that made Jesus interesting again to you?
RICE: Well, you know, I have experienced a return to my church, after 30 years of being an atheist, and a recommitment to Jesus.
And, to me, he is the most important thing in my life, and the most important single figure in Western civilization. So, to write about him, to take him on as a subject, to give my life to that, that‘s to do the most important thing I could possibly do. It‘s like a fantastic opportunity to accelerate, to intensify, to go up in terms of meaning.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I remember back in, I think it was ‘77, ‘78, Bob Dylan had a conversion to Christianity and went out and started singing about him.
Boy, he was—he caught more grief then than when he switched from folk to rock. And it had to be extraordinarily difficult for him. What about all the friends that you have made in the literary world through the years that have loved your books, that have followed you almost religiously? Have you been rejected by some of those people, or do they understand that this was always a part of you; it was just a part of you that you had turned your back on?
RICE: Both. Both responses are coming in.
I am getting terrific responses from many, many, many of my readers, who say, we always saw the religious thread in your books. We always knew there was a spiritual question at the heart of your novels. And this is part of your quest. And we are right there. We—we like this book. You know, give us more of this. This is what we want. It‘s you writing. Keep writing.
Then, I am getting all kinds of new readers, readers who say, now that you are writing about Jesus, I am going to read your books for the first time. I have never even thought about it before, but I want to see what you have to say.
And then there are a few, a minority, who say, how could you do this? How could you leave our vampire heroes? How could you make us love Lestat and Louis and these various fictional people and now abandon us? But they‘re very—that‘s a very small minority. And I hope that they will give the book a chance and maybe they will come around to seeing the continuity.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot of people that are hearing you talk about this are thinking about “The Da Vinci Code,” which obviously was controversial, because the author took a lot of liberties. And he made some assumptions, which—again, I have read the book, and I thought it was an absolutely fascinating read. I flew through it very quickly. It‘s a lot of fun to read on an airplane.
But you have really gone the opposite direction. You have—from what I understand, you bent over backwards to make sure that you are as historically accurate as possible. And, actually, you have got the church, unlike with “The Da Vinci Code,” the church, some people in the church actually supporting this.
I have had a wonderful reception from fellow Catholics, no question about it. I have had priests and an archbishop and other people really welcoming me with open arms and saying that they respond to the book really positively. And that‘s great, because I am a Catholic, and it would have been pretty heartbreaking if there had not been that reception. I wanted to get this thing right.
But I really want to write a book that anybody can read here. This is a book, you don‘t have to be Catholic to read this book. This book should function as a good novel, I hope. It should be a suspenseful story. And when you get into it, you should feel like you are there.
One final question, Anne. Just on a personal level, talk about this change in your own life. How have things changed for you personally? Forget about being the author, but, personally, this decision, how has it impacted you?
RICE: Well, I think, right now, I am experiencing just incredible consolation. I have never been this unified in body and soul and mind.
I have never been—I have never been talking about what I really want to talk about the way I am now.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Anne. Thank you for being with us. It‘s a great gift to you, but I have got a feeling it‘s going to be a great gift to all of us also. We appreciate it. And I am going to go out tonight and get the book. I have got a new book to read while I‘m traveling around the country.
Thanks for being with us. And good luck and God bless.
RICE: Thank you. Thank you so much.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, a cheerleader story that is causing international headlines and a lot of talk about watercoolers—the cheerleaders say America has got it all wrong. But that is not stopping this story from taking on a life of its own.
We will tell you all about it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Two NFL cheerleaders getting more exposure than they ever dreamed possible. And this story has taken on a life of its own.
Here‘s Glenn Counts of WCNC.
GLENN COUNTS, WCNC REPORTER (voice-over): Victoria Thomas and Thomas and Angela Keathley are the most famous cheerleaders in America, the price, a simple run-in at Banana Joe‘s, a popular Tampa bar. The crime has made men tongue-tied all over the country.
JAKE DELHOMME, CAROLINA PANTHERS: You know, I will be honest with you. I don‘t—I—I—talking to me about it, I don‘t know.
COUNTS: Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme, just another man trying to talk about this situation with a straight face.
DELHOMME: I don‘t—I—you know.
COUNTS: Thomas and Keathley are accused of having sex in the bathroom of Banana Joe‘s, and then punching a woman who objected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
JAY LENO, HOST: Well, this is true. These two women were in there having sex when she was waiting. And she complained. See, if that had been the men‘s room, there wouldn‘t have been complaints. The guy would be going, take your time.
LENO: No hurry, girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COUNTS: These girls have been the butt of jokes from “The Tonight Show,” sports talk radio, “USA Today,” you name it. They even have a standing offer to pose nude for “Penthouse” magazine.
DELHOMME: Talking to me about—I don‘t know. I haven‘t read a lot about it. I haven‘t seen a whole lot about it. You just kind of hear.
COUNTS: Well, Jake, the team hasn‘t said much either.
The tomcats were supposed to appear at a fund-raiser award ceremony for Steve Smith today, but organizers were afraid of the negative publicity, so the cheerleaders were disinvited. But it doesn‘t seem that this story is going to die down any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
LENO: Anyway, the cheerleaders were let go from the Panthers, but the good news, they were hired by the Minnesota Vikings.
LENO: So, it‘s worked out. It‘s worked out OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks for being with us tonight.
That‘s all the time we have, though. “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Thanks, Joe.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.