Wednesday, June 1, 2005

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for June 1

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

No backing away from it. He is Deep Throat. But if he quit the FBI in June 1973, how could he have told Bob Woodward about the famous 18-minute gap on the Nixon tapes in November 1973? Is Deep Throat all Mark Felt, or just mostly Mark Felt?

And some people knew it all along, like two 8-year-old kids at Hampton Day School Camp in Bridgehampton, New York, in 1988. They knew it was Mark Felt. One of them joins us.

Fourteen houses destroyed in a landslide there in 1978. You think they'd know not to build more houses there. You'd be wrong. More things that can kill you from Laguna Beach, California.

And speaking of which, that's right. I'm a matador. I'm cool. Or, I've been gored. Help me! Or, here comes the bull again. Save yourselves, I'll be all right just lying here.

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

Good evening.

By all accounts, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have finished their explanatory opus of all things Deep Throat from the front page of tomorrow's "Washington Post." The potential titles, including one the paper mentioned today, are an endless match game of cliches, "Accident of History," "Watergate Revisited," "Deep Throat Cleared," "Now It Can Be Told."

But in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, amid the living history of the identification of Mark Felt as the secret source on the Watergate Big Mac, there are hundreds of questions to be answered, things that still do not add up.

They are details that, instead, point to Felt as having provided only a part of the data and confirmations Woodward and Bernstein got, details that may, in fact, suggest that their source in the FBI had a source or sources of his own inside the White House or elsewhere.

More on those details, those questions, in a moment with John Dean.

Today the spotlight was still shining on the bureau's former deputy associate director, but not as brightly as his shirt was shining.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here we go again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, good for us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feel fine. Feel fine. All I feel like is 92 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about all the attention?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's crazy.


OLBERMANN: In a moment, I'll be joined again by John Dean, White House counsel to Richard Nixon. Later, Professor William Gaines (ph) of the University of Illinois, whose journalism students spent four years researching the identity of Throat and did not pick Mark Felt. And also Chase Coolman Beckman (ph), who says Carl Bernstein's son told him it was Felt when they were each 8-years-old.

But first, eight key questions to Woodward and Bernstein and Mark Felt.


OLBERMANN (voice-over): Question number one, the 18-minute gap, the infamous erasure on one of the tapes recorded inside the Oval Office, which Nixon tried to blame on an accident involving his faithful and long-suffering secretary, Rosemary Woods.

In November 1973, long before the gap was public knowledge, Woodward wrote that he learned of its suspicious nature from Deep Throat. But Mark Felt, passed over for promotion, had left the FBI five months earlier. Where did he get that information about that tape? Gossip? Old friends?

Question number two, what old friends? Was Felt-Throat now no better than a third-hand source? Were there not-so-deep Throats as well, other sources whose information was now combined with that from Felt?

Question number three, is that journalistically ethical, or did Woodward, Bernstein, "The Post," and Felt as Throat, abuse the concept of the confidential source?

Question number four, how old was Deep Throat? And how likely was Mark Felt to have been, as Woodward described him, "my friend," even prior to Watergate? In a preliminary manuscript of "All the President's Men," John Dean has found, he's found him described as creating antidotes, quote, "to inexperience and lack of knowledge."

Mark Felt was 58 years old on the day of the Watergate break-in. When he left the FBI, he retired. Bob Woodward was 29 then.

Question number five. What happened to the public role Woodward once said Deep Throat still had? In 1997, Woodward told former White House counsel and continuing Throat sleuth Leonard Garment that Deep Throat's public role and public persona had changed radically since Watergate days. It was now so discordant with his former garage-skulking behavior that Deep Throat would never come forward to identify himself, unquote.

What public role was that? Mark Felt was never well known publicly,

and would never be as well known as the day he retired from the FBI in 1973

· not, at least, until now.

Question number six, garage-skulking. "All the President's Men" has Felt-Throat meeting Woodward at all hours of the night, in at least one underground parking lot, maybe more than one. He has Felt-Throat writing notes inside Woodward's home-delivered copies of "The New York Times" and watching Woodward's patio to see if the reporter was asking him for a meeting by sticking a red flag in a flowerpot.

Asked about that yesterday, Felt-Throat's attorney and "Vanity Fair" biographer John O'Connor said simply, "You got me. Mark doesn't remember any of that."

Question number seven, never mind why he did it in 1972 and 1973. What about Felt-Throat's current motive? His lawyer-biographer O'Connor tried to sell the story to "Vanity Fair" first, then sell it as a book. Now O'Connor says that was just a ruse to get Felt-Throat to open up by playing on his understandable desire to secure the finances of his descendants.

But why didn't Felt-Throat give any heads-up to his self-outing to the three men who were most loyal to him? Woodward kept his secret for 33 years, Bernstein 32, Ben Bradlee 31. Felt let "Vanity Fair" not just scoop them and "The Washington Post," but left "The Post," to borrow a Watergate phrase, twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

And if not loyalty to Woodward and Bernstein, what about to James W. Crawley (ph) of Media General News Service? Who's he? He's Mark Felt's nephew-in-law. He called him Uncle Mark his whole life, including his 20 years as a reporter. He even asked Uncle Mark if he was Deep Throat many times. The answer he got? I don't talk about rumors.

Crawley today, scooped by his own uncle, says only, "I just wish he'd called me first."

And question number eight, the lightest of them all, that name, W. Mark Felt. Was it coincidence or an audacious clue? Woodward, fond of anagrams and other word games, referred to his source as Throat only in his book. Around "The Washington Post," at least originally, he was, quote, "my friend," "my friend," M.F., Mark Felt.

And to raise it one higher level of farce, sometimes editors like Ben Bradlee, Howard Simons, and Harry Rosenfeld called the source Woodward's friend. Woodward's friend. W.F., W. Mark Felt.


OLBERMANN: As promised, White House counsel under Richard Nixon, author of "Unmasking Deep Throat," John Dean join us again.

Good evening, John.


OLBERMANN: We talked about this to some degree last night. But I think with 24 hours, it's getting a little clearer. Mark Felt may be Deep Throat indeed, obviously he is, but is it also clear that he had to have had help?

DEAN: I don't see any way that he conceivably could have done it by himself. When Pat Gray became the acting director and went into the FBI, Keith, he didn't have a clue how to run the FBI. And rather than focusing on how to do it on a day-to-day basis, what he really did is traveled all over the country on a campaign, if you will, to convince the rank and file that he should be director.

Who's left in charge on the day-to-day operation, which is very consuming, is Mark Felt. And so I don't see how he could conceivably do any of the things, a lot of the things you mentioned, like the flowerpot checking, writing in "The New York Times." I think he had to have accomplices or assistance in some way.

OLBERMANN: If Felt indeed had accomplices or assistance, where would they have come from? Did he have to have had a source of his own, like a mini-Throat inside the Nixon White House? Could anyone have served with or without "The Post"'s knowledge as a kind of Deep Throat Jr. somewhere?

DEAN: Well, it - that's a possibility. This could be second-, third-hand hearsay.

Another possibility, for example, on checking the flowerpots or things like that, is that he's using other people in the bureau that are out and scouting around and part of this.

Now, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I really need to have a real conspiracy. But when you look at the fact that it's almost impossible for him to have done this alone, it certainly points in the direction of other people, probably in the FBI, who've maintained this secret with him all these years. And maybe he doesn't even remember that either now.

OLBERMANN: And that leads into, essentially, the first of those eight specific questions that I posed. If Felt retired from the FBI in June '73, how did he know about the 18-minute gap on the Nixon tapes in November '73? And by that point, if it was not direct first-hand knowledge or second-hand knowledge, was he still a credible journalistic source?

DEAN: Well it's a - at that point, it's a very - in my conversations with Len Garment, who you cited earlier, who was my successor at the White House's counsel, Len has told me that was very closely held, and only a few people knew, and it was - while it was being rumored a little bit, it really wasn't really known.

And what Felt specifically tells Woodward in the book is, they are intentional erasure on one or more tapes. It's - that's not speculation that there's a gap, it's intentional action to destroy one or more of the tapes.

OLBERMANN: Felt's retirement, although it does give us a problem regarding that particular conversation or meeting with Woodward in November of '73, it would explain why there are 14 contacts between Woodward and Throat, and 13 of those 14 are before June 1 of '73, about the time he retired. Looking at the information Felt would have given him in those first 13 meetings, does it hold up? Does it support the theory that Mark Felt was at least chairman of the Deep Throat Corporation?

DEAN: It certainly does, Keith. I don't see the many Felts or many Throats as much as I see assistants or tapping other sources. They may have had a mole in the White House, for example. They had a liaison officer there, probably (INAUDIBLE) Bob Haines, who could have picked some of this rumor up and passed it on.

But more than likely, Felt might have had an organization to actually deliberately try to assist on this undertaking, because he was quite serious about it.

Now, one of the things that happens when they have that last meeting, too, before he retires on May 16, it is probably, Keith, the most misinformation in one session, and probably the heart - the most facts that Throat supplies in the entirety of the story, at least as reported in "All the President's Men."

And it is filled with misinformation. This is when he tells him they are listening devices, there are dangers, you may be wiretapped. And it's the very dramatic scene in the movie where, after Woodward has his meeting with Throat, he comes back and puts on a Rachmaninoff in the apartment and starts typing, and Bernstein's looking over his shoulder.

So it is a very dramatic part. And most of it is bad information.

OLBERMANN: And it must have looked like a rainstorm to Bob Woodward, given how much there was all told.


OLBERMANN: And that - Go ahead.

DEAN: Yes, and what's interesting is, for somebody to be actually the operating head of the FBI, to be putting out that kind of information, is very disquieting. That's another problem.

OLBERMANN: We'll get to the ethics and such after our break here. But one last question on the topic here. The point that you brought up yesterday, the whole thing of being Deep Throat would be to be the guy who explains the parking garages and the flowerpots and the clocks drawn inside "The New York Times," all the cloak-and-dagger stuff.

Does it add to the credibility of Felt and thus to Woodward that Felt can't remember it? Maybe he did a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff, maybe there were other people doing it for him. Or does it detract from the overall credibility of the story?

DEAN: Well, if you want to have the perfect source, the perfect anonymous source, I would say you don't reveal him until he's dead. The next perfect source would be one you reveal who has a diminished memory. That gives you a lot of flexibility, it's about talking about your relationships with him. I'm not imputing that, necessarily, but I'm just saying that this is a perfect situation.

OLBERMANN: John, stand by for a moment. After the break, we will resume about this subject of whether Felt-Throat was a hero or a lawbreaker or something else.

And later on, Professor William Gains of the University of Illinois. His journalism students spent four years researching the identity of Deep Throat, and they did not pick Mark Felt.

Also, Chase Coolman Beckman, who says Carl Bernstein's son told him it was Felt when they were each 8 years old. He wrote it as a paper and got a B.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: It is impossible to recreate the picture of Richard Nixon's presidential administration that emerged, even in the proverbial iceberg form, in 1972 and 1973. Paranoid, bent on revenge, viewing the Constitution and the laws of the country as optional, trying to manipulate who the other political party nominated for president.

As Nixon himself would later put it, when the president does it, it's not illegal.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, given that context, was Mark Felt, Deep Throat himself, a hero, a turncoat, or a lawbreaker?

Felt as Throat candidate was always thought to have, at best, mixed motives, upset that he did not succeed J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI, and/or concerned that the FBI's Watergate investigation of the White House seemed to be less than rigorous, and seemed to be under the control of the White House.

The subject even came up at the White House today, complete with the question, Is Mark Felt a hero?


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's hard for me to judge. I'm learning more about this situation. All I can tell you is, is that it's, it was a revelation that caught me by surprise. And I thought it was very interesting, I'm looking forward to reading about it, reading about his relationship with the news media. It's a brand-new story for a lot of us who have been wondering a long time who he was.

I knew it wasn't you. You weren't even born during that period.

Barely. Barely.


OLBERMANN: Here again is John Dean, White House counsel in the Nixon administration.

John, when you testified to the Senate Watergate Committee, when you sought and got immunity, there was a lot of this hero-villain debate. It exists still today, I'm sure. How would you assess it in terms of Mark Felt?

DEAN: Well, I'm the first to not jump to conclusions on something like this, Keith. I've been there, I know what it's all about, how people will impute the wrong motives easily to somebody they want to discredit, not knowing all of the facts.

We don't have all the facts with this situation with Felt right now. We're piecing them together. The dust is just starting to settle. And one of the obvious questions that you've raised is whether or not he himself was involved in committing criminal activity to unwind criminal activity.

OLBERMANN: Well, as an attorney, do you think, with your law education, do you think that Felt violated the law at any point? Would he have been, or is now exonerated by the whistleblower statutes?

DEAN: Well, the way - where I learned the criminal law is not where I suggest most lawyers should learn it. I didn't know you needed to be a criminal lawyer at the White House. But with my particular White House, it was essential. So I do know a little bit about it today.

The statute that I think is - a couple that are in play here. Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 371, prohibits a conspiracy amongst government employees to do something other than be good government employees. If Mark Felt, for example, had solicited other agents to go out and help him get information to help "The Washington Post," that gets pretty close to violating the line of doing your government service. Your government service is not to feed stories to Bob Woodward and to "The Washington Post."

Another one, of course, is whether or not - and this comes to mind because the Bush administration, for example, recently prosecuted a DEA agent who had leaked the name of a sensitive source within their database, a man who happened to be by the name of Lord Ashcroft, no relation to the John Ashcroft, who was outraged, and they prosecuted this guy. And they actually stacked it up so much that he finally pleaded guilty to one offense. And one of the offenses was stealing government information to report it to a freelance journalist.

So there are statutes out there that could well come into play. And if there are lots of multiple players, of course, we could have had an ongoing conspiracy that has just now ended a couple days ago, and the statute of limitations is just starting to run.

OLBERMANN: Unlikely that they would proceed against a 91-year-old man who says, when you ask him how he feels, he says he feels like a 92-year-old man.

But Pat Buchanan said here last night that since Felt is officially Deep Throat, it's officially clear to him that Felt should have gone to the (INAUDIBLE) - not gone to "The Washington Post." He should have gone to the head of the FBI or the head of the Justice Department or the president and to get one of them to intervene.

I remember vaguely somewhere that you went to the president to intervene, and that didn't work, exactly. Is Pat being retrospectively rosy-glassed here looking at that scenario?

DEAN: Well, I think when Pat raises going to the head of the FBI, for all practical purposes, Felt was the head of the FBI at this point. Where he might have otherwise gone was to the grand jury, or to the U.S. attorney's office.

I've got to tell you a little story. I've had a lot of conversations with Henry Peterson about Mark Felt over the years. I had some conversations with Richard Nixon about it. He was known as a leaker. And that was well known. I just happened to remember, before we went on the air, the nickname that a lot of people in the bureau gave him. He was called the White Rat at the time, and that was because he had premature white hair and a very fair complexion.

So he was known as a man who didn't necessarily keep secrets in the bureau.

OLBERMANN: Last question. I know we discussed this last night, your opinion that Watergate would have unfolded much the way it did with or without Mark Felt as Throat. But do you stick to that? I mean, (INAUDIBLE), I'm going to sound a little like Ben Franklin here.

He helped Woodward and Bernstein keep the story alive at "The Post." "The Post" kept running the story, the running story got the rest of the media going, the buildup of stories got the Senate to empanel - the Senate Watergate Committee.

That committee got you to testify, it got Alexander Butterfield to reveal the White House taping system. The tapes led to the House Impeachment Committee.

How would all of that have happened without Mark Felt or another Mark Felt?

DEAN: Well, I think probably the investigation would have gone forward, because we had a divided government at that time. You had a Congress who was very interested in what Richard Nixon was doing. And I don't think they would have proceeded otherwise. The Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. And I think those investigations would have gone forward whether there was a Mark Felt or not, and whether "The Washington Post" had kept the story alive is, as they did, or not.

So I don't think the story would have changed with or without Felt.

OLBERMANN: John Dean, author of "Blind Ambition," "Unmasking Deep Throat," "Worse Than Watergate," great thanks again. And I guess we'll check our notes after Woodward's article comes out in tomorrow's "Washington Post."

DEAN: Yes.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.

DEAN: Look forward to it. Bye-bye.

OLBERMANN: One programming note, Bob Woodward will be appearing tomorrow morning on "IMUS" on MSNBC. And he and his erstwhile and once again, for the moment, partner Carl Bernstein will be on the "TODAY" show on NBC tomorrow morning.

One college class thought, after careful study, that it was this man, John Dean's old associate Fred Fielding, who was probably Deep Throat. We'll get reaction from the professor who supervised that class.

And another edition of Things That Could Kill You. Landslides that got multimillion-dollar Southern California homes, hundreds of residents told to get out of harm's way, and fast.


OLBERMANN: "Deep Throat Revealed," Mark Felt's big coming-out party for the world yesterday. But a high school paper six years ago entitled "An Educated Guess" quoted sources and got it right. And the student got a B. He will join us.

A nightmare in Laguna Beach, California, residents said running for their lives, and million-dollar homes start bouncing around like basketballs.

And addicted to love, literally. CAT scans of a brain of a person in love tell us why the emotion makes us borderline psychotic, even more so than usual.

Stand by.


OLBERMANN: The British commander who beat Napoleon at Waterloo, Wellington, admitted the battle was kind of close. Quote, "It was a damn near run thing." Our third story on the COUNTDOWN: So, obviously, was Watergate and the assistance in unraveling it provided by Deep Throat, deputy associate FBI director Mark Felt. FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972. If Richard Nixon had appointed Felt as Hoover's successor instead of L. Patrick Gray, would Felt have become Deep Throat? Would Watergate have gone unrevealed?

But the damn near run thing could have easily turned the other way, too. We could have known who Deep Throat was in 1988. That's when a conversation among 8-year-olds at a summer camp could have blown the whole thing open. Chase Culeman-Beckman kept it to himself for a decade, but finally, as a high school senior, he spilled the beans. His buddy at camp was Jacob Bernstein, son of Carl, and Jacob told Chase 17 years ago, I am 100 percent sure that Deep Throat was Mark Felt. He's someone in the FBI.

Chase Culeman-Beckman is now a grad students at Cornell University, which I think is a pretty good place to be a grad student. He joins us now. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

CHASE CULEMAN-BECKMAN, IDENTIFIED "DEEP THROAT" IN 1988: Thank you so much for having me, Keith. It's a tremendous honor.

OLBERMANN: So have you - have you spent the last 36 hours calling everybody you know and said, I told you so?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: Yes. Every second of it. I haven't slept for one minute.


OLBERMANN: Did you have an idea what the hell your friend, Jacob Bernstein, was talking about in 1988? I mean, how does Deep Throat come up in conversation among kids at the Hampton day school camp in Bridgehampton, New York?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: I just knew that Len Dykstra was the Mets' center fielder at that point. And I remembered it, you know, I guess my retention is pretty decent after all. I wrote it down, and here I am.

OLBERMANN: Now, I've taken one fact and I spun it out to the length of a 15-page paper - at Cornell, I might add. But I gather that's not what you did about that name, Mark Felt. When you wrote this thing up, you had your own theory to support it about why he was Deep Throat?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: Yes. Indeed. I did quite a bit of research. I was a high school student, a bit bored with high school academia, so I sort of pursued it as a side project of my own. And I feel my conclusions were novel and valid, especially today.

OLBERMANN: There is actually a news development on this. I don't know if you're aware about this, but Jacob's mother, Nora Ephron, just blogged about how she figured out, or how she believed that it was Mark Felt all this time, that her ex-husband, Carl Bernstein, never told her, that she figured it out. And the quote was, "He was," meaning Carl, "was far too intelligent to tell me a secret like that." Do you go along with her, or do you think Carl actually told your old buddy's mother?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: I don't know how she arrived at that name without having that piece of intelligence firsthand. So many experts have posited so many different names that it just - the chance involved in that scenario seems to be too slim to me. But you know, what do I know?

OLBERMANN: So back to the question about the paper. You did solve the greatest political mystery of our time and gave a whole series of reasons why it was that way. And the teacher gave you a B? I mean, have you called this teacher back in the last 36 hours and demanded that the - at least you get an A-minus on this thing?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: No. I think some friends have called him over the years, but I haven't spoken to him. He - we weren't on the best terms, I guess. I don't know. I don't know why.

OLBERMANN: One of the great mistaken credits and gradings I've ever heard of. Last thing. Your credibility on stuff like this essentially leads the universe right now. Do you have any other great secrets you can share with us?

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: Not at this time, but I'm working on some things. I wrote a paper this semester. I'm going to see what I can do with it. It has to do with epidemiology, but...

OLBERMANN: All right.

CULEMAN-BECKMAN:... it's in the beginning stages, shall we say.

OLBERMANN: Check back with us, and we'll see if - how well that one did. Chase Culeman-Beckman, another example of the singular education available in Cornell University in beautiful Ithaca, New York. Thank you, sir.

CULEMAN-BECKMAN: Thank you so much, Keith.

OLBERMANN: It is one of the ironies of the Felt/Throat story that people actually believed his denials, from the first one in 1974 through the last, which came in response to Mr. Culeman-Beckman's school paper in 1999. That meant Felt was largely discounted as Throat sleuthing got more and more sophisticated. When two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Bill Gaines, journalism professor at the University of Illinois at Champagne/Urbana, sent his students on their computers on a four-year project to identify Throat, they approached it scientifically, just like John Dean. Who knew what when, who was where when? And they figured it out. The best of several finalists was Dean's deputy as White House counsel, Fred Fielding.

Professor Bill Gaines join us now. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.


Well, thank you very much. We figured it out, but we were wrong.

OLBERMANN: But which is bigger in that regard, the disappointment that your eminently logical and scientific search got the wrong guy, or the excitement that somebody finally found the holy grail?

GAINES: I was very happy to find out who Deep Throat was. When we started out this project, that was our goal, was to find out who Deep Throat was. And finally, I felt like having a relief headache when I learned that Woodward had stated who Deep Throat was and it was over.

OLBERMANN: Reviewing the process of your studies, do you - can you pinpoint why Felt fell between your investigations' cracks?

GAINES: Well, we eliminated Felt because he was in the FBI. What we did was take everything that Woodward and Bernstein stated and wrote, and then we took it for face value as fact. And we found, as we traced this information, that at one point, they identified a quote from Deep Throat that they identified in their book. When we found that quote in "The Post," Deep Throat was identified as a White House source. That was one of the reasons that we eliminated the FBI as the origin of Deep Throat.

But there were other reasons, too, as we went over the material, and it just seemed that we were being directed away from the FBI. I had earlier criticized Woodward and Bernstein for being too easy with the information. You know, I thought they were saying too much, that you have to guard a source like Deep Throat. You don't make a movie character out of him. You don't tell a whole lot. I have to say now they did an extremely good job because they misled us. And I don't argue with that. That is what they had to do if they really wanted to conceal the identity of their source.

OLBERMANN: At the start of this news hour, I posited eight questions that I would like to hear Woodward and Bernstein answer to convince me that it was Mark Felt and Mark Felt alone who constituted Deep Throat. Have you got one question you would want to ask them?

GAINES: I have, like you, a lot of questions. I would like to ask all those questions about how they met and where they met in the garage and some of those things that don't seem to add up. But there's one thing that does stand out in my mind as to where Felt does not fit in, and that's his knowledge about the Nixon tapes. That was in November of '73, when Deep Throat was quoted as knowing about the gaps in the tapes. And he said that there were gaps and it appeared to be deliberate erasures.

I don't see Felt being anywhere near the place. The FBI was not on the investigation. It was being handled by the Watergate special prosecution, and the Senate committee was working on it. And he had that information. I would like to know how that could be because that would be another way that we would have eliminated Felt from our list.

OLBERMANN: Well, if that's your number one question, you should be, I don't know, happy or scared to know that it's also my number one question and it is John Dean's number one question, as well, because that might be the crux of the whole thing. The journalism professor Bill Gaines of the University of Illinois at Champagne/Urbana. And if it makes you feel any better on this, I was absolutely certain it was Pat Buchanan. So thanks for your time today.


OLBERMANN: Thank you kindly.

GAINES: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Also tonight, scientists say being in love lights up the same parts of the brain as getting a heroin fix or winning at gambling. So that's what, good news? And this, we presume, would be your brain on drugs. The most dangerous place to be at a Snoop Dogg concert apparently is on stage.

Those stories ahead, but first, here are COUNTDOWN's top three sound bites of this day.


QUESTION: Since the president is scheduled to attend a Republican fundraiser on June the 14th, which will also be attended by the California gubernatorial candidate and porn star Harry Carey (ph), what guarantee does the White House have that she will do nothing pornographic at this event?



· that's another one I'm just not going to get into dignifying.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: A-P - can I have the definition really quickly?




ROB CORDDRY, "THE DAILY SHOW": These days, when you squeeze the pump, it's more like the pump is squeezing you. And that's deadly serious for consumers. Will the change in gas prices affect people's buying behavior?

What do you drive?


CORDDRY: Cut to my hooptie. Oh, yes! That's my ride.



OLBERMANN: It's another edition of things that could kill you but probably won't. Our number two story on the COUNTDOWN: This is somewhat regionally specific to southern California, and then again, a lot of people live in southern California. Landslides are built into the equation there, but usually only during the rainy season. June 1 is not the rainy season in Laguna Beach, California, but as our correspondent, Michael Okwu, tells us from the scene this evening, June 1 evidently is landslide season. Michael, good evening.

MICHAEL OKWU, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Keith. The good news here is that nobody was seriously injured, but officials do caution that the earth here is still moving.


(voice-over): The first warning was an eerie sound. Some waking residents thought it was hail. Others say it sounded like gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was cracking and buckling and the earth was moving.

OKWU: In its wake, the landslide destroyed or severely damaged more than 15 home, dozens more still in danger. Officials cut off the area's power and evacuated hundreds of homes.

ELIZABETH PEARSON-SCHNEIDER, MAYOR OF LAGUNA BEACH: We held an emergency meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council to proclaim this area a disaster area.

OKWU: In the horrible aftermath, widespread speculation about what was to blame. Many focused on the year's extraordinary rainfall, already more than double the average. Residents in this seaside community live with risk every day. In 1978, the same neighborhood was struck by a devastating landslide that destroyed 25 homes and cost millions in damages. In 1993, a wind-whipped arson fire torched more than 400 homes. Ginger Dallin (ph) lived through it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you live in Laguna Beach, you would not want to live anywhere else in the world. It is the world.


OKWU: Live pictures again here. Now, you can see some of the precarious situation the houses are in. We understand the choppers still overhead assessing the situation. We understand, as well, that about 1,000 people were evacuated. But this could have been a logistical nightmare that has been averted, Keith, officials here telling us that most of those people have found shelter with friends and family - Keith.

OLBERMANN: Our correspondent, Michael Okwu, amid the landslides and devastation at Laguna Beach, California. Great. Thanks, Michael.

Symbolically, some of that same language - landslides, devastation - might apply with different meanings to the lead item in our nightly round-up of celebrity and entertainment news, "Keeping Tabs," starting with your tax and entertainment dollars in action, day 562 of the Michael Jackson investigations.

And the jury can only rejoice. Judge Melville's 1-hour-and-20-minute reading of the court instructions is finally over. An hour in, Melville joked, quote, "I read it to my wife at night so she'll go to sleep." Judge Melville's final jury instructions about an inch thick. He gave both jurors and alternates as copy. He went through each of the 10 counts against Jackson, as well as standard issue boilerplate about not being swayed by pity for the plaintiff nor bias for the defendant. Closing arguments begin tomorrow morning, district attorney Ron Zonen leading off, Thomas Mesereau for Jackson hitting second.

Speaking of hitting, a word of caution now to rap fans attending Snoop Dogg concerts: Take care to avoid situations where you could be beaten and robbed - by the people on stage. Police in Seattle investigating an incident at a Snoop show there last weekend. Twenty-four-year-old Richard Monroe (ph) says all he did he was climb up on stage and try to put his arm around Snoop Dogg. Thereafter, it did not go so well.

As you see, the Snoop Dogg posse seized the opportunity to tackle, beat, punch and stomp on Monroe, putting him in the hospital with bruised ribs and a broken nose. He's filing charges, saying they went too far. Snoop's people say Monroe was a security threat and was quite appropriately beaten to within an inch of his life. Well, that'll happen. But Monroe also says that the posse evidently found his wallet, his watch, his diamond earring and his cell phone to be security threats, too, because they took them, as well.

Finally, it is the entertainment news portion of the program, so this next item technically qualifies, especially if you follow up-and-coming matador scene. In Mexico City, inaugural celebrations of bull-fighting season. As always, COUNTDOWN roots for the bull, the only participant who's not in the arena voluntarily. And that cocky young man in the funny suit and cape is apprentice matador Luis Gaillardo (ph). Apprentice matador, you're fired.

Thanks to a cameraman with a matador foot fetish, we were spared the goring. Gaillardo broke his collarbone in the fall. And luckily, all his pals were there to distract the bull while they lifted him out to safety.

_Look out! Every man for himself! Run for your safety!_

Probably hurt, but all the other bull fighters should be just fine. As to the bull, his colleagues tried to run out and save him, too, with less successful results.

Also tonight: How does a couple stay married for 80 years? Well, they cheat on each other all the time.

No, that's not it. We'll find the real answer next here on



OLBERMANN: Remember those dopey anti-drug ads? This here is your brain, the guy would say, holding an egg. And this here is your brain on drugs, he concluded as he smashed the egg against the skillet. Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN: Well, apparently, the same imagery is applicable to love. Your brain gets all scrambled up. We'll meet the couple today celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary, but first, as our correspondent, Alexis Glick (ph), reports, it turns out that the late rocker Robert Palmer was right.


ROBERT PALMER: (SINGING) Might as well face it, you're addicted to love...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, would you excuse me for one second? OK, that's done.

ALEXIS GLICK, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The beginning of a new romantic relationship can inspire all sorts of emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd say it's a cool thing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do feel a little crazy and excited and happy and...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:... nervous. Sorry. One word. That's it.

GLICK: And cause people to act, well, a little strangely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you want to see some brochures?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, this is Nicky. Leave a message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nicky. This is Mike again. I just called because it sounded like your - your machine might have cut me off when - when I - before I finished leaving my number.

GLICK: Researchers now say all that stammering is no accident. Using magnetic resonance imaging, MRIs, they've mapped what happens to the brain when you fall in love, studying the reaction when subjects saw pictures of their new lovers.

DR. ARTHUR ARON, PROF. OF PSYCHOLOGY, SUNY: What we found, it was fairly well localized to specific areas in the brain, and in particular, to a system in the brain that's associated with intense reward.

GLICK: Desire for that reward, different from sexual desire, is as powerful as any humans encounter.

ARON: These are areas that become active, for example, when people take cocaine. They're also associated with winning money, even with chocolate, strong reward responses.

OPRAH WINFREY, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": You know Katie once told "Seventeen" magazine...

GLICK: Perhaps the proclaiming outbursts of joy, like Tom Cruise's recent appearance on "Oprah."

_WINFREY: The boy's gone!_

ARON: Intense desire to merge with another person - it completely refocuses one's life. It's an intense desire, redirects everything you do.

GLICK: It all suggests lovesick may soon be a medical term. Alexis Glick, NBC News, New York.


OLBERMANN: And thus what scientists have learned tells us an awful lot about Percy and Florence Arrowsmith (ph) of Hereford in England. Happy anniversary, kids, their 80th - 8-0. they got hitched the same day Lou Gehrig played his first of 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees. As Selma Searage (ph) of our British affiliated network, ITV, reports, The key to the longevity: one of them is asleep all the time.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, she's got to be center of attention!

SELMA SEARAGE, ITV NEWS (voice-over): One-hundred-year-old Florence Arrowsmith clearly owns the spotlight in her own back garden, but today, she and 105-year-old husband Percy have grabbed the attention of the world as they celebrate the longest marriage ever.

FLORENCE ARROWSMITH, MARRIED 80 YEARS: We've been very happy, haven't we, dear.


FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: If only you'd wake up.


SEARAGE: They were married at St. Peter's church in Hereford 80 years ago on June the 1st, 1925. King George VI had not long been married himself. The queen wasn't yet born.

FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: I don't think there's any secret about it.




FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: What's the secret of our long, happy married life?


FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: We've shared everything, haven't we.

SEARAGE: Then a pint of beer cost just sixpence. Today, they're toasting with champagne. But three children, six grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, and the world's press to entertain, though, can prove too much for even the most experienced hostess.

FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: Well, I'm a bit tired, to tell you the truth. I shall be quite pleased to have a quiet day - I hope I'll have a quiet day tomorrow. Will I?


SEARAGE: Twenty years past their diamond wedding anniversary, Percy and Florence say the key is to never sleep on an argument.

FLORENCE ARROWSMITH: Listen, if you go sleep now and get a photograph with your eyes closed, I shan't love you anymore.

SEARAGE: That and a good sense of humor. Selma Searage, ITV News.


OLBERMANN: Florence adds more detail from her life which might explain that 80-year marriage. Quoting here, "I like sherry at lunchtime and whiskey at night."

And that's COUNTDOWN. I'm Keith Olbermann. Keep your knees loose.

Good night, and good luck.