'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for April 7
Guest: John-Peter Pham, Savannah Guthrie, Jason Pontin
ALISON STEWART, MSNBC ANCHOR: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The last will and testament: the pope's doubts, requests, and instructions to the cardinals upon his death.
The line: a first-person account of the wait and the crush of this enormous pilgrimage.
And the security, on the eve of the pope's funeral, a look at the vast efforts to secure Vatican City.
The Jackson trial: court back in session today with testimony about hot tubs and underwear from a former Neverland ranch employee.
Lockdown: Windsor Castle, impenetrable, just days before the wedding of Charles and Camilla, unless you have a fake delivery van and a box marked "bomb."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have managed to get into Windsor Castle just three days before the royal wedding.
And Google gaga: your house, your work, Shea stadium, Disney World, all at the click of a mouse. But is it unethical voyeurism via satellite or simply the coolest thing ever?
All that and more, now, on Countdown.
STEWART: Good evening. Keith Olbermann is on vacation. I'm Alison Stewart.
Once a year for 21 of his 26 years as pontiff, he reflected on his life and his mission. Our fifth story on the Countdown tonight, Pope John Paul II's last testament, his inner struggle and his surprising decisions.
One revelation: the pope considered his own resignation in 2000, the year of the Catholic Jubilee, the millennium, and his own 88th birthday. By this time, he was well into his battle with Parkinson's and he prayed for the, quote, "necessary strength" to continue. He also made plans for his own burial and asked his long-time private secretary to burn all his personal notes. But the 15 pages were mostly full of spiritual reflection.
Our correspondent Chris Jansing has more. Chris?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC, ROME: Good evening, Alison.
The last will and testament of Pope John Paul II is an intensely personal document, and unlike what most of us are used to seeing in a will, although it runs 15 pages, it was written over a period of decades, and makes only a passing note of his worldly possessions. He says they are few, but the things he used on a day-to-day basis should be distributed as his personal secretary of those closest to him see fit.
In fact, it's ruminations on a spiritual life. He talks about the burden that he was given as pope, and in fact, in 2000, questions whether or not his work will soon be done. He felt it was his calling to usher the church into the new millennium. Once he was doing that, and also at the time, obviously suffering from Parkinson's disease, he wondered how long God would call him to serve.
In 1982, he also suggested that the cardinals should talk to the bishops and the cardinals in Poland, and whether or not he should be buried in his native country. That's something he later reconsidered, although that certainly would have been the wish of the literally millions, an estimated two million, natives of Poland who came here today. We saw, along the line, red and white flags dotting throughout, many of them who had driven 30 to 40 hours, who had come to pay their final respects to Pope John Paul.
And finally he asked his personal notes be burned. Now, that could be some poetry that he had written, but most people I've talked to say he probably didn't want to offend anyone, that there may be some personal notations in there. And this pope, who was such a prolific writer, who, in fact, at many times during his pontificate, produced at least 30 pages a day, felt that everything he needed to say had been said. Alison?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Chris Jansing, great, thanks to you.
And joining me now to talk about some of the more fascinating points of the pope's testament, Dr. John-Peter Pham, a former Vatican aide and author of "Heirs to the Fisherman."
Dr. Pham, good evening.
DR. JOHN-PETER PHAM, FMR VATICAN AIDE, AUTHOR "HEIRS TO THE
FISHERMAN": Good evening, Alison.
STEWART: Well, you've heard the reports. It's been commonly interpreted that the pope was considering a resignation in 2000. What do you think?
PHAM: Well, Alison, the specific passage that is cited is from the document that was dated the 12th to the 18th of March in the year 2000, and the pope there refers to a Biblical story, that of Simeon, the prophet, who awaited the birth of the Lord, and, having seen that, has to be let go.
But you have to read a little further into it. I think a lot of it is driven today, with all due respect, by a lot of the media concentrated in Rome and looking for a story. Because, if they would have read the actual gospel passage from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, just two versus before the one quoted by the pope in his letter, it says that Simeon was given the grace, and told by the holy spirit, that he would not die until such time as things came to pass. So, that letting your servant go refer not to a resignation, but a wish to an end of life on this planet and life in a happier place.
STEWART: Well, thanks so much for fleshing that out to us.
I want to know what you think about this request to have his personal notes burned. Is this a great historical artifact that none of us will ever see or is this appropriate?
PHAM: Well, as an historian and scholar of the papacy, I and many of my colleagues would duly love to see these notes. However, we also realize, it is in keeping with the tradition of his predecessors. Pope John Paul VI, John XXIII - all left similar orders for their secretaries to destroy their personal papers, because they all feel that their job as pope is to speak, not in their own name, but the name of the church. And that job, having been terminated or ended by their death, that their voices should be silent in deference to the freedom of action of their successors.
STEWART: Let's talk about the pope's request to be buried in the earth. Everything else has been left up to the cardinals, but we heard in Chris Jansing's report that he considered being returned to Poland. Does that surprise you that he wrote about that?
PHAM: Yes, I think his writings were sort of works-in-progress where he gives us a share in the intimate feelings, contemplations of his own heart and - it would be very natural. He was the son of Poland, the son of a very proud nation, and always had great affection for his fellow countrymen. There's something to be said about, perhaps, his own attachment to a plot of this earth that was really his homeland.
STEWART: A lot of people think about wills as being about possessions and directives, but this testament was largely spiritual in nature. Is that typical?
PHAM: It is very much in keeping - John Paul, in the first part of the will that was released to us today, the part written in 1979, specifically cites the example of the will of Pope John Paul VI as one that he wanted to emulate. And Paul VI's will was equally, along these lines, a combination of scriptural reflections, as well as reflections upon his mission, and perhaps his final words of wisdom to the church as he leaves this earth.
STEWART: And I know many people were struck by the fact that he had no really earthly material possessions.
PHAM: Yes. In a sense, all he had in his life was given to the church and received from the church, and it is fitting in the end, other than a few personal effects, that the Archbishop Dziwisz, his faithful secretary for many years, will now be distributing, that everything goes back to the church from which he received it. It is a remarkable testament to his valuing of the things that really matter.
STEWART: And as I read more and more about this will, the word that keeps coming up, especially about the later writings, is the word poignant. Do you agree?
PHAM: Yes. It's very much his final, perhaps, legacy to all of us. Whether Catholic or not, believer or not, about one man's personal wrestling with the mystery of human life and ultimately, human death, and the meaning of existence for all of us.
STEWART: Dr. John-Peter Pham, thank you so much.
PHAM: Pleasure to be with you.
STEWART: We've been hearing so much this week about the pilgrims at the Vatican. Four million believed to have visited the holy city. Two million of them viewed the pope's body, after waiting between two and 24 hours in line. That line is now closed, as is the public viewing, but our correspondent Jim Maceda experienced it all firsthand.
JIM MACEDA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: This is where it starts for millions of pilgrims: the back of the line. 7:00 p.m. and my line is two mile long.
BILL WAKEFIELD, IN LINE TO SEE POPE'S BODY: You're right. We are in the back of the line.
MACEDA: My new buddy Bill Wakefield (ph) from Devils Lake, North Dakota.
_You just wanted to be a part of church history? _
WAKEFIELD: Part of it is church history, but the fact of the matter is he is just such an icon, an icon for our century.
MACEDA: Another instant friend, Laurie Olson (ph), Hicksville, New York.
_How long do you think you'll spend on this line? _
OLSON: Well, I've hear anything from 15 hours to 24.
MACEDA: Bill, you and I got in the line around the same time. That was almost two hours ago. How far do you think we've gotten?
WAKEFIELD: We've gone about one block.
OLSON: Ask me again at 3:00 in the morning, but right now, I'm going for it.
MACEDA: Our line is full have emotional Polish-Americans, like Stasha (ph), who came over from Brooklyn.
You may be in line another 12 or 14 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's OK. That's the reason I'm in Rome, because I want to be next to holy father, and say goodbye to him.
MACEDA: Five hours and the first sign of a restroom.
There are Port-a-potties. We've just come to the first one, and another very long line.
You take your first hit in morale here. You've been walking for about five hours, you think you're making progress, only to find out that this is not the real line. The real line starts here; we're still about eight to 12 hours away from the pope.
Italian folksongs and free blankets help us through a slow, cold night in the 30s.
_This was worthwhile for you? _
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it is worth while for everybody standing here.
MACEDA: We started this at sunset. Now it is sunrise, over Saint Peter's Basilica, and we're getting very close. Finally.
I hit a wall. Asleep on my feet.
I am very cold. I am very cold.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There aren't many things in my life that I've done that are good, but this is one of them.
MACEDA: After 13 hours, our first glimpse of John Paul. It lasts only second, capture by Vatican TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was absolutely the man I expected to see, although you could see that he carried a heavy cross.
MACEDA: And our many hours didn't seem to matter. We made it step by step, a once-in-a-lifetime journey, but still thousands behind us waiting to do the same.
Jim Maceda, NBC News, the Vatican.
STEWART: MSNBC's live coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II will begin live at 3:30 a.m., anchored by Chris Matthews and Chris Jansing, and, Keith Olbermann will be back tomorrow night for a two-hour special program.
Presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, and millions of pilgrims:
the colossal job of securing Vatican City and Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
And later, a little pre-wedding security breach at Windsor Castle as millions have been spent to secure Saturday's event. A guy with a fake bomb gets inside. Really.
This is Countdown, on MSNBC.
STEWART: More than 40 presidents, two dozen other heads of state and at least eight monarchs. Our fourth story on the Countdown tonight: security for the many and the few. How do you protect millions of people and multiple world leaders?
Many heads of state, including three U.S. presidents, arrived yesterday. And yes, there has been increased visible police presence, but no, so far, no metal detectors for screening the crowd. And wrap your head around this: at tomorrow's funeral, the population of Rome, normally 3.7 million, may double.
Who could be in charge? How are they doing? Where are they doing it? When are they doing it? To answer four of the five basic journalism 101 questions, from Rome, our correspondent Steve Handelsman.
Steve, good evening. Get us up to speed.
STEVE HANDELSMAN, NBC NEWS - ROME: Hi, Alison.
Well, the police chief in Rome said today, he admitted he has a problem. Normally Vatican City, the pope and the church hierarchy and visitors here are protect by the Swiss guards. They're tall, they're good-looking, they've got these meaty evil uniforms and they've got meaty evil axes, spears, called "halberds." They will be augmented tomorrow here in Vatican City, though, by 10,000 local police officers, and by about 6,500 specially trained SWAT officers.
It sounds like a lot but even 17,000, 20,000 police officers, more than that, doesn't seem a large number when you consider four million people will be in the congregation for this outdoor mass. It might seem like a tempting target to terrorists, and though Rome in the past has been the headquarters to terrorists, there have been some terrific, terrible attacks here back in the 80's and through the 90's, suspicion that terrorists might actually have bases here.
But terror experts have said, in fact, they do not think - and that's good news - do not believe that tomorrow's outdoor mass is likely to be the scene of a terrorist attack. Practically speaking, they say, that just six days - and that's how long it's been since Pope John Paul II passed away - that less than a week is not enough time to plan a coordinated terrorist attack.
They also point out that vehicle bombs, used daily now in places like
Iraq, could not be used if the main so-called congregation were to be
attacked here in Rome because vehicles will be banned from the vicinity of
the Vatican, and really banned from almost everywhere in Rome, about a 17-
mile circle where no vehicles will be permitted to travel tomorrow. So
vehicle bombs apparently out. Something more sophisticated is feared a bit
· enough - by Italian officials that they ask NATO to send up over Rome tomorrow an A-Wax plane, a high-tech American-built radar plane. The air space will be closed as this radar plane monitors for enemy aircraft of any kind.
The police in Rome will use similar high-tech monitoring. They have about 50 video screens, and more than that, in cameras all around the town. But, and Alison, you pointed this out, there will be no magnetometers, to metal detectors, to block the bringing of weapons into this area. And how could you do it? This is a big old city with twisted, tiny streets and there are thousands of ways into the Vatican, and there's also no effort that we've seen so far, to block access to these high positions, like the one, Alison, that I'm using a broadcast to you from tonight. There are all kind of people up in these high places around Vatican City. This is Rome, the city of hills and many of them look down on where the millions will be tomorrow at first light.
And so, it would seem the opportunity is there for a terrorist attack. But the experts say because of the nature of the event and because of the short time period the terrorists would need to prepare, with fingers crossed, Alison, they think it will be OK here tomorrow, in Rome.
STEWART: Well, with that many people there and with that many fingers crossed, things should be OK. NBC's Steve Handelsman, thanks so much for the report.
HANDELSMAN: You're welcome.
STEWART: Ahead, as multitudes of people from every corner around the world stream into Rome, we will zero in on some very personal stories of devotion to the holy father, including one Polish group's race to get to the Vatican before the line was shut down.
And the Michael Jackson trial: explosive allegations leveled by a former Jackson employee. The defense says, just a disgruntled worker with an agenda. We'll take you inside the courtroom for the tales of hot tubs and child actors.
ANNOUNCER: You're getting the news Olbermann-style. It's Countdown, with Keith Olbermann, part of the best prime time in cable news: MSNBC.
STEWART: On Countdown this Thursday night, as billions around the wrold prepare to watch the funeral mass for Pope John Paul II, we'll introduce to you people who had to make it to the Vatican in person to pay their respects, and share one group's race against the clock to see the pope.
Testimony resumes in the Michael Jackson trial, and jurors listened to the most graphic allegations yet against the self-anointed King of Pop. We'll have the view from inside the courtroom.
First, it was the location. Then it was the title. Then it was the date. Now, fake bombs are getting smuggled in. The never-ending punchline that some refer to as the royal wedding of Charles and Camilla.
And, what do you get when you combine Google and satellite images?
Something so cool that you will be entertained for hours. Honestly, hours.
Those stories are ahead.
Now are Countdown's top three newsmaker of this day.
No. 3, Colombian comic-book artist Rodolfo Leon, himself a Catholic, he has immortalized Pope John Paul II forever as a super hero. He wear an anti-devil cape, wears special chastity pants and goes by the name of the Incredible Popeman.
No. 2, Rodey Batiza, program director at the National Science Foundation. The program he directs is called deep drilling, and his team announced today they have drilled the deepest hole in history, more than 4,600 feet and on the verge of piercing the earth's mantle. Hey, guys, it's really good for you, but don't come crying to the Countdown staff when you need help fighting the molemen.
No. 1, Thomas P. Budnick. He's in jail for trying to poison his friend in 2002 by spiking a 40 ounce beer with nitric acid. He was convicted on a lesser charge because he spilled it on his friend's leg, burning him before the guy had a chance to drink the stuff. Still, Budnick has appealed his conviction, saying his lawyer was incompetent. Mr. Budnick represented himself.
(SINGING): I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me? Double-barrel buckshot. Soy un perdedor, I'm a loser baby...
STEWART: It was a common sight ni the steady stream of mourners arriving today at the Vatican, the Polish flag.
Our third story in the Countdown tonight, the international waiting line. For some, the hours spent in the que were preceded by hours of traveling to get there. Upwards of a million the the pope's native countrymen proudly made the 30-hour journey to say good-bye to Karol Wojtyla of Wadowice, Polan. Two of our correspondents documented one group's unforgettable journey, starting with Kelly O'Donnell in Krakow.
KELLY O'DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: An exodus of the heart from Poland. 8:00 Wednesday morning in Krakow, this odyssey of faith begins.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go to Rome to pray because the papa very loves young people.
O'DONNELL: Students Katarina Tutzi (ph) and Yana Strotzig (ph) among the hurried pilgrims.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I must go to Rome. I must go.
O'DONNELL: Over more than 1,000 miles, prayer passes the time.
They pack hand made snacks and a deep respect for the man they knew as Jan Pavel (ph).
To Christina Padraza (ph) who clutches the small card given to her 43 years ago when John Paul confirmed her in the Catholic faith.
(on camera): The ride isn't easy. All day, all night and then some. But no one complains about the conditions or even the cost. For most it equals about a month's living expenses. They say all that matters is getting there.
(voice-over): Even for the trip organizer Aga Tamik (ph), planning this tour is an act of faith.
We did it for the holy father.
O'DONNELL: So little sleep, such a long night. Weary and after all this, worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scare. Because it's a big world. It's five million people.
O'DONNELL: Waiting for them in Rome.
This is Anne Thompson in Rome. Bus No. 4 pull in after 27 hours on the road to bad news. The line to see the pope is closed.
But they are determined to get as close as they can. None more than this Agata.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope that everybody will remember this trip to the end of their life.
THOMPSON: After a quick subway ride, their faith is rewarded. The line reopens. Under a hot sun, Janish and Katarina (ph) wear the traditional costumes of Southern Poland to honor the pope. But it is also something more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is inside. It's love.
THOMPSON (on camera) : After 31 hour, they finally reach their goal. St. Peter's Square, the heart of the Catholic church and today, the heart of Poland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rome meets Polish now, Polish city.
THOMPSON: 35 hours from Krakow, they pay their respects. For Janish (ph), it is all too much for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is him. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister.
THOMPSON: For Katarina, one prayer is answered and another begins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; I have a photo of my family and I take it and I pray to the papa help.
THOMPSON: Two pilgrims, two of millions on a trip of a lifetime to pay homage to one life. For Kelly O'Donnell in Poland, this is Anne Thompson, NBC News, Rome.
STEWART: And for two Americans now living in Rome, waiting hour after hour to view the pope was something they had to do. The historical significance was reason enough. They describe the 14-hour wait from the subsequent 22nd viewing in their own words.
AMY SCHIER, GRADUATE STUDENT: As the hours progressed, we started to realize it would be a bit of a journey. But it was - in the end, it was one of the most amazing things in my life.
MICHAEL WRIGHT, DUQUENSE UNIVERSITY: There were lots of times when pilgrims were singing. And there were many times we were getting to know our neighbor, whether people were speaking - whatever language they were speaking in, whether they were speaking in English or Italian or Polish. Just people getting to know each other. Offering water to each other, helping out the people that were feinting. And it just seemed to be a pretty helpful environment.
SCHIER: When I first walked in, there were so many people. It was a group event which had been nice all along. A family event all along. But at that point, I needed something a little more personal. I needed to understand why I personally had come on this journey, especially because I'm not Catholic. Yet the pope has played such an important role in my life.
So, when I stood before him, when I stood before John Paul II, and I saw this frail body which was so small and looked so weak. You could tell, you could just see the suffering on his face. And he was human, but he meant so much more than that to everyone. And that was when I rejoined the crowd in that sense, because I was seeing these people. And I myself, the tears began to stream and I didn't even know where they were coming from.
WRIGHT: I didn't realize how sore I was, I didn't realize how tired I was. I just didn't realize how much emotion had built up during these 14 hours of waiting to see him for 20 seconds.
And I guess it was just then that I really realized that even though I really suffered a lot during this day, I didn't really even suffer to anything in comparison to what he did.
STEWART: And once again, we want you to know that MSNBC's live coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II will begin live at 3:30 a.m. anchored by Chris Matthews and Chris Jansing. And Keith Olbermann will be back tomorrow night for a special 2 hour program.
We turn to some other news this day. A former security guard for Michael Jackson is on the stand under oath. Did his lurid allegations stand up under cross-examination?
And reporters smuggling a fake bomb into the castle just days ahead of the royal wedding. Is that royal egg I see on the face of the house of Windsor? Stand by.
STEWART: If you ever needed a reminder that the Michael Jackson trial was about more than rabid fans, courtroom antics and media punditry, today should serve as your wake-up call that this is really a case about pedophilia. Consider this a reminder and one that's not for the faint of heart.
Our No. 2 story on the Countdown tonight, day 507 of the Michael Jackson investigations brings with it the most lurid and graphic testimony to date.
On the stand today a former security guard at Jackson's Neverland Ranch, Ralph Chicone. Mr. Chicone testified that during night rounds in late 1992 or early 1993 he allegedly spotted Jackson with a young boy through the window of the entertainer's pool house.
Now, according to the testimony, Jackson and the boy were allegedly naked. He says he saw the pop star kiss the boy and caress his hair. Then he claims he watched as Jackson performed oral sex on a 9-year-old boy.
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau not letting that go un-impeach, getting the security guard to admit under cross examination that he had once been party to a $16 million civil suit again Michael Jackson, a suit the guard lost. The jury ordering Chacon to pay Jackson's court costs and an additional $25,000 for allegedly stealing from his former employer.
It was quite a day. Joining us once again from Santa Maria, Court TV correspondent, and attorney, Savannah Guthrie. Savannah, thanks for being with us.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Hi, Alison. Nice to see you.
STEWART: The testimony today was so sexually explicit, so clearly pedophilic in nature, alleged of course, was the defense able to disarm any of the bomb today?
GUTHRIE: Well, the defense had a lot to work with this witness. As you mentioned, there's this lawsuit that this witness and four other plaintiff's lost against Michael Jackson. They were ordered to pay Michael Jackson's legal fees. The jury found that they stole from Michael Jackson to the tune of $25,000. And so Tom Mesereau was able to put it pretty clearly to this witness, wouldn't it be a good way to get Michael Jackson back, by coming in here and testifying today?
On the other hand, this witness described this sex scene so explicitly, it was like he was reading out of one of those cheap racy romance novels you get at the supermarket. And I'm not sure even as effective as the cross-examination was, I don't know if jurors are going to be able to get that image out of their heads any time soon.
STEWART: I was wondering, once you open a door like that, can you close it?
GUTHRIE: Right. It is the old, can you unring the bell? You know, the problem with all of this evidence for the defense is, it's the cumulative nature of it. One time, two time, three time, maybe could you explain it away. But all told, people will think, perhaps, where there's smoke, there's fire and boy did they hear about some fire today.
STEWART: Another witness today. Another housekeeper testifying she saw Jackson kissing other little boys, including actor Macauley Culkin. So, my question is, in all of this, did this come up in court at all? Why didn't any of these people go to the authorities if they saw all of this?
GUTHRIE: It's interesting, because it came up, but Tom Mesereau wasn't the one to raise it. The prosecutor kind of beat him to the punch. And they asked these witnesses, why didn't you go to authorities? Why did you stay at these jobs? And their answers were pretty practical and perhaps believable. Ralph Chacon said, I didn't think anybody would believe me. Who would believe me? The maid Adrian McManus said, you know, I had a house payment, my husband had just been laid off. I guess I just got caught up in it all, so I just stayed.
_STEWART: What was Michael Jackson's reaction to all this? _
GUTHRIE: You know, lately he's been looking at the jury a lot more than I've ever seen him do in the past. There were times during the testimony today that he seemed to kind of nod his head almost as if to say, no, this isn't so. Not believing it. The jury for their part was totally wrapped, watching this. Couldn't take their eyes away from the witnesses as this was described. Some people say the juror seemed to gasp a little bit and look visibly shocked. They were certainly paying close attention during the cross-examination as well.
STEWART: Court TV, Savannah Guthrie, thanks so much for helping us navigate through a tough day in court.
GUTHRIE: My pleasure.
STEWART: Absurdity abound tonight, as we continue our decent into journalism's seventh circle of heck.
Next up, the wedding of Charles and Camilla. The list of things that have gone wrong is extensive, and one would hope exhaustive. No. With 750 dignitaries and VIP's expected to attend Saturday nuptials, a couple of tabloid reporters roll up on Windsor Castle and add one more little snafu, security. Divine comedy indeed.
Our correspondent Michael Okwu, has the details.
MICHAEL OKWU, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This time it was a royal security breach, just 72-hours before the wedding.
COLLEEN HARRIS, FORMER SECRETARY TO PRINCE CHARLES: I mean it is very embarrassing. There's no other way of looking at it, to be honest.
OKWU: Take a look at this video taken by a photographer just across the street. A reporter for the "Sun Newspaper," Britain's most brazen and widely read tabloid, poses as a delivery driver. The reporter, who has no appointment, shows the officer a fake delivery note. The officer never checks the van where in the back, the reporter claims, a brown box is clearly marked bomb. He's waved in past this so called five million pound ring of security and into the grounds of the 900-year-old castle where in days the heir to the throne will host 750 VIPs. And then just yards from the queen's apartment, who was inside. The gate crasher.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have managed to get into Windsor Castle just three days before the royal wedding.
OKWU: Scotland Yard launched an inquiry, saying the breach raised series concern and issued this statement. "It is only right that the facts are established before any action is taken against any police personnel who may be culpable."
Earlier this week, two Polish tourists broke into private quarters here. In 2003, a self-styled comedy terrorist gate crashed Prince Williams 21st birthday party dressed as Osama bin Laden. And remember Batman? He's impersonator scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace last year.
STEWART: And joining us now, Tim Vincent. He is in London covering this royal mess, I mean, wedding for "Access Hollywood." Tim, how are you?
TIM VINCENT, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": I'm not too bad.
I want to show you something that was in the papers. Can you see that? "Can anything else possibly go wrong?" Ironically, this is dated from Tuesday. So a lot has gone wrong since then. I feel really sorry for the couple.
STEWART: Let's back it up and talk about the police presence that must be at Windsor Castle, considering what went down. What was it like today?
VINCENT: I was there all day today and it was definitely a heightened security there. There were more police on the perimeters and also police now walking around Windsor Town itself, because the media have descended. Everybody is taking up their positions for a good camera shot for the wedding on Saturday. And the police are much more public. And they're being seen in all kinds of places that they were not even 24 hours ago.
STEWART: It figures. When England's top cop was "Concerned and irritated by the breach of security." The guy with the van and the box that said bomb. But was Windsor Castle buttoned up before all this or was it pretty much open field?
VINCENT: Well, first of all, concerned and whatever else he said, you've got to remember we're English, so we're very reserved in what we say. That probably means he's incredibly angry about the situation and shocked, as is the rest of the country, really. It was almost unbelievable that two tourists could make their way so close to the queen's bedroom. And then several days later, that somebody could drive a van several yards inside the castle with obviously, a hoax bomb in the back. But for nobody to check and nobody to check their security or to check with anybody else is unbelievable. It is stupendous.
STEWART: Now, I'm sure you've talked to a lot of folks on the street about this. Does this seem like a sort of Karmic boomerang for Prince Charles or are people actually starting to feel sorry for him at this point?
VINCENT: I think he couldn't have planned it like this. but I think a lot of people do feel sorry for him. I think, at the very worst, people are apathetic about the wedding on Saturday, and at very best, they're going to tune in. But I've got a little figure for you, 36 percent of people on Saturday have said they will watch the Grand National, which is one of our biggest horse races of the year, but only 18 percent will watch the royal wedding. So I think that gives you an opinion. Nobody actually hates them or wishes them anything but good, but they're just not interested.
STEWART: And I understand to add insult to injury, it not going to be the nicest day weather wise, huh.
VINCENT: Well, this is possibly the only way they're going to have a white wedding, because they've predicted snow, believe it or not, for April. There's a 20 percent chance of sleet in Windsor. The snow will probably happen further up the country. But with the windchill, it's probably going to be about minus 1 or 2. So the crowds will probably be less than they should be on the Saturday. So, he's not having a good time of it.
STEWART: So, we're going to tell you, bundle up while you're out there royal watching for "Access Hollywood." Tim Vincent, thanks so much.
VINCENT: My pleasure. I'll be wearing my thermals.
STEWART: That's what I thought. With that we make our own transition to our own tabloid and entertainment news with the stories of "Keeping Tabs." And first, music trivia for 500, Alex, who is the only music artist in history to have four top 10 hits at the same time? If you answered, who are the Beatles, then you're wrong. They did have four songs in the top 10 at the same time in 1954, in fact, they had five. The only one in history to do that, until this week. When rapper 50 Cent took over as the new biggest thing since Uncrustables.
In this week's billboard hot 100, 50 holds the ninth, sixth, third, and number one spot. His own singles, "Candy Shop" and "Disco Inferno" are at one and six. The others were duets with his young on again, off again protege The Game. Now, if you're totally confused by this story, ask the kid with the PSP sitting next to you. If you don't know what a PSP is, I just can't help you. Really, I can't. I'm sorry.
How would you like a satellite image of your neighborhood, even your house. Sounds like a lot of trouble - no. Click your mouse on your computer, and that's got some privacy advocates freaked. That story's ahead.
Now here are Countdown's "Top 3 Soundbytes" of this day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want you to get worried, but just the other day, I had this strange feeling in my chest. I found myself short of breath, shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Then Lynn explained. She said Dick, that's called laughing.
NATALIE MORALES, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Before we let you go, we do want to congratulate all of our colleague at CNBC for a very big honor there today.
CONTESSA BREWER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: CNBC has won its first George Foster Peabody Award. It is a prestigious honor for the best of the best in broadcast journalism.
CROWD: We love you. We love you. We love you. Michael.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight Michael! Fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't get wet, you'll melt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it gangster, Michael!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: In the future, you'll be able to sit down at your computer, type in your address and instantly view an image of your house from outer space. Well folks, the future is now.
Our No. 1 story on the Countdown tonight, the on-line search engine Google has added satellite imagery to their map search. Just type in any address in the country and voila, wave to mom.
It's our very unofficial poll about half the newsroom thought this was the neatest thing ever, the other half thought it was the creepiest. Three guys over there are doing it right now.
Here's Kevin Tibbles.
KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The explorers of old have nothing on this, because this is way more than just your standard map. The search engine Google is posting free satellite images of any address in North America, allowing users to see their homes, places of work anywhere almost up close.
JOHN HANKE, GOOGLE: It lets you read between the lines. It lets you see what is really there at that place on the Earth.
TIBBLES: Google acquired a digital map maker Keyhole six months ago. And by offering up these satellite images is making the world of Internet road maps a much more competitive place.
(on camera): Let's say your planning a trip to your favorite morning show and want to check out the lay of the land at the "Today Show" stomping grounds. All you have to do is type in 30 Rockefeller Plaza...
(voice-over): then click on satellite and up pops an image from outer space.
The pictures aren't real-time, they're six months to a year old.
Still some say they might go too far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's a problem of is this unethical in an electronic age where everyone is available to everyone else.
TIBBLES: Al Geney (ph) teaches business ethics at Chicago's Loyola University.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that you can exactly localize a person. And I wonder about when we can be private? When is it all right not to be known? When is it all right not to be known? When is it all right not to be part of the public venue?
TIBBLES: Google says the images aren't detailed enough to show people or even cars. But they're perfect for those shopping for a house or apartment or even a hotel on the beach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it really kind of may cause people to rethink what a map is. And we have taken the concept of a map and kind of we reinvented it for the Internet. And, you know, images should be part of that.
TIBBLES: No longer is an address on a map just numbers on paper.
Now, it's an Internet bird's eye view from above.
Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.
STEWART: Now joining me now to talk about the security aspect of this new technology is Jason Pontin, editor and chief of M.I.T.'s "Technology Review."
Jason, thanks for being with us.
JASON PONTIN, TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Hi, Alison. It's a pleasure to be here.
STEWART: I would like to take a glass is half empty/glass is half full scenario with this. What are the biggest security concerns about this technology? And what's the coolest thing with this technology?
PONTIN: Well, let me begin with the coolest thing. It has democratized search and satellite image so that anyone on the planet can see a bird's eye view of whatever they want. And it's very exciting. I think it's great.
But, you know, privacy concerns are in my belief misplaced but utterly understandable. It's kind of eerie to see a God's eye view of your own home. And many people who that they feel, as it were, a right to privacy may be a bit disturbed any one of their friends, or even one of their enemies can look down and see the same view of their own residence.
STEWART: Now, is this new information or has this always been out there?
PONTIN: Well indeed, that's why I say it's Democratizing it. The government has always had it. And indeed, businesses who wanted to purchase these from the company Keyhole have done so for years.
What Google has done, what makes it unique is they've given it to you and me and anyone who has an Internet connection. So, it's not a new technology by any means.
_STEWART: Now you mentioned a company Keyhole? _
PONTIN: Yes, six months ago Google purchased Keyhole for an undisclosed amount of money, presumably several tens of millions. And then took it inside their company and redesigned the interface and came up with this very, very beautiful application.
What's also cool about Google maps, it's an - all of us should go and try it out - is it's very intuitive. All you do is you type in on the search line as if you were typing in on any Google search, a place you want to see. And it takes you right there.
STEWART: Now, the world changes so rapidly. How up to date can these maps be? I mean, I can go to I place that I haven't been in six months and now it's a parking lot with a Target in it?
PONTIN: I think this is an important part to understand about the product. And to some degree, Google is posting six month to a year old technology for a reason. They don't want people to be able to go and track individuals or cars or homes. So it is six months to a year old. That means it's not maybe the kind of thing you want to do to see if it's blooming in someone's garden. But it is very useful to find your way around the planet.
STEWART: And what does Google get out of this, really? I mean, that's the big question.
PONTIN: Well, Google has a plan. Google's personal motto, company's motto is don't be evil. And what they want do - it's a fairly extraordinary thing. They want to digitize all the information which can be digitized and offer it for free online. They want to organize all the information that can be organized. It's one of the reasons why it's the coolest planet on Earth right now.
STEWART: Jason Pontin editor of MIT's "Technology Review." Thank you very much for helping us Google it tonight.
And that is the Countdown. Thank you so much for watching.
Keith will return tomorrow for a two-hour special on the papal's funeral.
Good night, good luck. And be well as well.
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