'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for July 22
Guest: Evan Kohlman, Joseph Wilson
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: The premise was, we'd be fighting them in Iraq so we wouldn't be fighting them in our own streets. Ambassador Joseph Wilson said that the premise about Iraq was based on false evidence. You know what happened after that.
And as he joins us on this newscast tonight, the news from London. Plainclothes policeman, chasing a suspected suicide bomber through a packed late-morning subway station, finally wrestling him to the floor of a train and shooting him to death, which would seem to qualify as fighting them in our own streets.
Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
A suspect dead at Stockwell Station. Another, allegedly connected to yesterday's attacks, arrested in the same neighborhood. And surveillance images of the failed bombers released.
And reaching this country, the anxiety and the attempts at security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
EZEQUIEL MOURA, COMMUTER: It's OK. We live in a crazy world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do I have a choice?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
OLBERMANN: Meet the press. Karl Rove's testimony about two reporters reportedly does not match their testimony about him.
And an interview tonight with the original him in this case.
Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
And in case you missed him yesterday, the spray-paint sniffer is back.
All that and more, now on Countdown.
For the ninth time in 15 days, a suicide bomber has tried to detonate an explosive in the London transport system. For the fifth time in two days, he has been stopped, this time by police, who stunned commuters, who stunned a nation where gunfire is rare, by shooting the suspect five times in the head.
Our fifth story on the Countdown, as the investigation into yesterday's quartet of botched attempts vaulted forward, England got a stark look at a new policy in bloody action, shoot to kill. Evidently working off evidence from yesterday's attack, police had had this house near Stockwell Underground station under surveillance. That station just one stop down from one of yesterday's sites, the Oval Station.
The man, wearing a padded coat in the middle of a warm British summer, left the house, made for the subway entrance. Police say they ordered him to stop and said as the rush hour was winding down, he raced into the station and onto a train, a train still filled with commuters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK WHITBY, WITNESSED SUBWAY SHOOTING: I heard a lot of shouting, Get down! Get out! I looked to my right. I saw a chap run onto the train, Asian guy. He ran onto the train. He (INAUDIBLE) - he was running so fast, he half sort of tripped. He was being pursued by three guys. One had a black handgun in his hand, his left hand. And as he sort of went down, two of them sort of dropped onto him to hold him down. And the other one fired (INAUDIBLE). I heard five shots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Five shots to the head. Another passenger said the dead man was wearing, quote, "a bomb belt." They're not sure if he happened to have been one of Thursday's attempted bombers. Part of an approach long in planning in Britain, Operation Crathouse (ph) is based on how Israel tries to thwart suicide bombers.
Not far from the still-roped-off Stockwell Station, police also made an arrest today, not one of the Thursday bombers, and that came just hours after British police released the surveillance pictures of all four of these suspected bombers from yesterday, asking for the public's help in identifying them.
The Shepherd's Bush bomber was captured on camera before the blast, his backpack bomb clearly visible. The Oval Station bomber, wearing a distinctive "New York" top, is shown running from the scene. That shirt was discarded, found not far from the location of that camera.
The Warren Street bomber, seen leaving the station immediately after the bomb failed, and the would-be bus bomber, spotted on the top deck of the bus before he ran away down the Hackney Road.
ABC News reporting that this man's fingerprints were not only found, but they have matched prints in a police database. They were on file, and that those prints led police to stake out three homes, including the one from which the now-dead would-be bomber emerged this morning in Stockwell.
Let's call in MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann of GlobalTerrorAlert.com.
Good evening, Evan.
EVAN KOHLMANN, GLOBALTERRORALERT.COM: Good evening.
OLBERMANN: Nobody's saying it, really, but with that shooting in the Stockwell Station today, this truly was another suicide bombing attempt, correct?
KOHLMANN: Yes, I think one of the things that we can see now, from the release of the photos by British authorities, by the ongoing efforts to track down members of this cell, that, indeed, there are still members of the cell that are believed to be on the loose, and perhaps planning future acts of violence. And even one person alone, with a suicide bomb belt, can really cause a great deal of damage. And this is perhaps what we saw this individual tried carrying out today.
OLBERMANN: And was thwarted in doing so by this British operation Crathouse, shoot to kill. Use a handgun, not a more powerful weapon, shoot in the head, not in the chest, because if you hit him in the chest, you might set a bomb off.
And you might look at something like this and say, Well, A, that's brutal, maybe they could have arrested him. He would have been a treasure trove of information. But that's not really an option that late in the process, is it?
KOHLMANN: I'm afraid not. I mean, you had an individual here who was putting his own life at risk in order to place himself on the subway car along with other innocent passengers. You had someone who was apparently connected to others who have attempted to detonate bombs on board subway cars, someone that was really trying to get away from the police.
And I think what they realized is, this guy is dangerous. And I think you said it best. Who wears a padded winter coat in the middle of summer? When you do this, when you act in this kind of behavior, when you wear this kind of clothing, when you're connected to would-be bombers, you shouldn't be surprised when the police try to track you down. And if you run for them, if they shoot you.
This was for the safety of all the commuters on that subway car. And really, in all of London, because this can happen again. And if the British police do not take effective measures to stop it, and stop it before it happens, this guy could not only have killed other commuters, he could have killed the policemen as well.
OLBERMANN: About the failed attacks yesterday, we know that the police have all four of the bombs and the sources (INAUDIBLE) reporting out of there, leaking like sieves, say the police got fingerprints. And, of course, all they need to know about the bombs. There may even have been DNA of the bombers.
And then there's this report that the prints from the bus bomber are a match in a criminal file somewhere, and that's why they were already outside that house in Stockwell today.
Also, ABC said that the police know that three of the bombers, one - two are of Pakistani descent, one is of Sudanese descent, and one they do not know.
And my question to you, if all that is true, does that not mean that they have the names of the suspects? Is there a reason that you would release just the photos and not the names?
KOHLMANN: Well, it would seem that they do have the names here. They have their nationality. They have photos.
But I think we also have to realize that the people that really need to know the names of these individuals are border control and law enforcement, not the media.
The most important thing for the public right now is to know these guys' faces, because if you see them on a subway car, it doesn't really matter what their name is. If they're standing next to you and they're carrying a rucksack or they're wearing a heavy winter jacket, you're going to want to know their face, not their name. This is the information that's most of use right now.
But one would imagine the Brits do have their names. They've been very close-lipped about this investigation. However, they have made quite a deal of - great deal of progress.
One of the most interesting things, as you noted, is the growing connections now between this attack and the attack on 7/7, potential forensic evidence links showing that perhaps these guys were part of the same cell, and that there are other members of this cell that are still out there.
OLBERMANN: And there's one other thing about that. Evidently the working police theory about yesterday, about why none of the bombs detonated, that the blasting caps, or perhaps the mixing of the explosives, was done two to three weeks ago, along with the bombs used on 7/7, and deteriorated from age. Does that mean that the guys who are left may not necessarily know what they're doing? Could it also mean that if they made all their bombs three weeks ago, they may have nothing left but duds?
KOHLMANN: These kinds of mistakes tend to happen fairly frequently. I've commented before that a North African terrorist group tried doing a very similar act in 1996, blowing up a French police station, where they placed a detonator right next to gas cylinders. The detonator failed to go off.
It's not that these guys didn't know what they were doing. It was just a simple mistake. But they won't make that mistake the next time. And that's what we've got to be concerned about.
OLBERMANN: MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann, great thanks for joining us tonight, Evan.
KOHLMANN: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: The bitter irony of terror, of course, is that it feeds off the ordinary flow and courtesy of life. One can imagine on the seventh of this month a London passenger holding a subway door open, permitting one of the bombers to board their train.
Even during yesterday's attack, there was misplaced kindness and a phrase that will be remembered a long time in London. When the bomb went off in a train at Shepherd's Bush Station, it knocked this man onto his back. A passenger, Abisha Moyo, thought what he had heard was a shot. He asked the bomber, Are you all right, mate?
Our report is from Lauren Taylor at our affiliated British network,
LAUREN TAYLOR, ITN (voice-over): After the chaos of yesterday's incidents, one amazing story stands out. Abisha Moyo told me how he came face to face with one of the suicide bombers, but failed to realize it at the time.
ABISHA MOYO, TRIED TO HELP WOULD-BE BOMBER: And there was this loud sound, as though a gun had gone off. And I shouted on the phone to the lady (INAUDIBLE), I said, Oh, my God, I think someone has been shot.
And I looked back, and there was a young chap lying in the middle of the carriageway with his hands spread out like that, on top of his backpack. And all the passengers behind him were screaming and running towards the front of the carriage.
And I went within about a meter or less of him, and I shouted at him, Are you OK, mate? Are you all right? But he just lay there quietly, facing upwards.
TAYLOR: The man then got up, seeming confused, and sat down opposite Abisha.
MOYO: At this point, I was staring him in the face, and asking him, Are you OK, mate? (INAUDIBLE), OK, what's that in your bag? I thought it was some kind of pressurized, like, aerosol, you know, deodorant or something, that had gone off from heat or something. At that point, I saw his - from his T-shirt, he had a little black cable or wire sticking out. (INAUDIBLE) like exposed copper ends.
And that's when it struck me, and I'm, like, Oh, my God, I think this guy has detonated this thing.
TAYLOR: The suspect then managed to escape onto the tracks. Abisha feels angry about what happened, but relieved to be alive.
Lauren Taylor, ITV News.
OLBERMANN: In New York, the effort is to provide at least a barrier to would-be suicide bombers, a speed bump of sorts, nothing that eliminates the possibility, but something that at least increases the degree of difficulty.
Our correspondent Dawn Fratangelo on day one of the random bag searches in the nation's largest subway system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may be subject to official inspection of any bag.
DAWN FRATANGELO, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has come to this, police officers searching through personal bags, and usually outspoken New Yorkers allowing it.
EZEQUIEL MOURA, COMMUTER: I feel it's OK. We live in a crazy world.
We see what's going on in the world. So why not be protected?
SANDRA JOHNSON, COMMUTER: Do I have a choice? Yes, I feel a little violated.
FRATANGELO: The new search policy for commuters was announced just hours after London's transit system was targeted for a second time.
RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: This is a prudent step, a prudent tool to be added to the things that we're using to protect New York City.
FRATANGELO: At random subway stations, police are stopping every fifth rider carrying a bag or a package.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really see the purpose of it.
FRATANGELO: Those who refuse a search will not be allowed to enter.
(on camera): It's estimated 12 people can go through one subway turnstile every single minute. And busy stations have multiple turnstiles. Given that kind of traffic, how effective can these searches really be?
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: This is not a silver bullet. But it's another layer of defense that, if you do find that needle in the haystack, then, yes, you can prevent an attack.
FRATANGELO (voice-over): But some privacy advocates believe it's an attack on basic rights.
Attorney Daniel Peres (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It violates the Fourth Amendment, because police officers have no right to go into your personal effects unless they have reasonable suspicion to do so.
FRATANGELO: There's also concern about racial profiling, not lost on some passengers.
MARC LEWIS, COMMUTER: No, you know, I'm not going to allow them. I'll get up, and I'll walk. I'll walk - yes, I'm not going to allow them to search my bag. That's harassment.
FRATANGELO: Other major cities like Washington and San Francisco may follow New York's lead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to have faith in the people who are responsible for the safety and security. Nothing much else you can do.
FRATANGELO: As commuters try to maneuver between privacy and protection.
Dawn Fratangelo, NBC News, New York.
OLBERMANN: Late word tonight of an uncorroborated terror warning in California disseminated by that state's Department of Homeland Security to the state's hospital system. A U.S. government source being quoted as reporting uncorroborated information obtained earlier this month that suggests al Qaeda is planning to attack Los Angeles or San Diego this September or October, or possibly earlier, if an opportunity were to arise.
The priority targets listed in the following order, nuclear facilities, military, airport, civilian airport, and an unnamed large hospital. Secondary possible targets, in what is again uncorroborated information, included large manufacturing plants, anything from automobiles to pharmaceuticals, to food production facilities.
And again, all of it based on uncorroborated reports. And it's completely unclear at this hour why California's hospital system should have revealed the warnings in a media news release issued late yesterday.
And a developing terror story out of Egypt tonight. The popular tourist town of Sharm el-Sheikh has been targeted, seven or more explosions rocking the resort in the early hours of this morning. Security sources telling Reuters that there were four car bombs, and that at least 36 people are dead, and about 100 wounded, at least one hotel and a shopping center severely damaged in Sharm el-Sheikh. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
No one knows better than Katie and Emily Benton that tourists are like a smorgasbord for terrorists, the only Americans injured in the London bombings going home and telling their stories today.
And as the investigation into who leaked the identity of Mrs. Joe Wilson heats up, Mr. Joe Wilson joins us to talk about the twist the special prosecutor's case could now be taking.
You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: As that story of the London subway passenger who rushed over to try to help one of yesterday's would-be bombers suggests, these big events of history are made up, in fact, of one-on-one human interactions.
Our fourth story on the Countdown, the two American sisters injured in the first terror attack on London two weeks ago yesterday.
It was the first morning of their first day of their first visit to London when Katie and Emily Benton of Knoxville got into a Tube carriage and had barely sat down. Ten feet away, one of the bombers detonated his device. A passenger in the seat next to them died. They survived, the only Americans injured in the attacks.
Our correspondent Donna Gregory talked with the sisters just before they left the medical center at Duke University in North Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We weren't on there long enough to notice anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so focused on my cup of coffee and whether or not we were on the right train to get to the Tower of London. But we were - we didn't even get into conversation before the bomb went off.
DONNA GREGORY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-one-year-old Katie Benton and her 20-year-old sister, Emily, had just set out sightseeing on their first morning in London when the bomb exploded.
(on camera): And what happened in the first frenzied moments after the explosion? What to you remember?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Checking each other out, making sure the other person was OK.
GREGORY: The bomb went off just a few feet away. The sisters were seriously hurt, requiring multiple surgeries and emotional counseling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I suffered mostly shrapnel wounds. I have - I had a pretty significant chunk of - two chunks, actually, of my leg that were missing quite a bit of skin. And then my hand was sliced open - not even open, my hand was - something went through my hand. And I have some severe hearing loss, particularly in my right ear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have temporary hearing loss. But I broke two bones in my hand right there, and I have a plate in that. And then my foot is, like, shattered.
GREGORY (on camera): The doctors have said that you two are both lucky to be alive. And yet they have this thing that's called survivor guilt, when some people aren't as lucky. Is that something that you all have experienced at all?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I know I've talked to the psychiatrist, and he said that I had survivor guilt. So I just felt so bad for everyone else. I guess I don't - haven't really felt that much pity for myself, because I know that I'm going to make it through this, and that, you know, what has happened to me is not as bad as, you know, some of the other people on the train.
GREGORY (voice-over): And how do they feel about those responsible for the attack?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel bad for the bombers, that they did that to themselves, and, you know, that they harmed other people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I've had a moment of anger, honestly. Even sitting on the train, I was not - like, sitting on the train realizing what had happened, I was still not angry. I actually sat on the train and prayed for them. I feel so much pity for them that they would be that - just anybody could be that lost, and just to think that that kind of violence actually has any kind of productive effect, any kind of positive effect.
GREGORY: And even as Katie and Emily learned of a second attack on the London Underground on Thursday, they remain determined to make it back to the British capital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, you know, I'm holding out for the Olympics. I'm going to go - I want to go back and watch the horses in the Olympics. That's my goal, 2012.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I think we'll definitely go back. I don't think I'll really want to ride the subway, but I do plan on going back.
GREGORY: Donna Gregory, NBC News, Durham, North Carolina.
OLBERMANN: For others, the biggest obstacle in life is fortunately something small. Well, if not small, at least something slow moving. The elephant in the room that nobody is talking about. OK, everybody is talking about it. Sue me.
As they are, this guy. We will review the week which, with his alleged habit of having sniffed aerosol gold paint, he probably missed the week, so he should stay tuned for our week in review.
OLBERMANN: Time once again to pause the Countdown for the segment where we shove aside the news you can use in favor of putting the Oh back into vide-oh.
Let's play Oddball.
To Ruyenpolder (ph) in the Netherlands. And apparently there are more cases now of Dutch elephant disease tonight. Actually, these are not Dutch elephants. There aren't any. These are circus elephants visiting on visas.
And this is Raney (ph), who had enough. She escaped, literally pulled up the fence around the circus and headed for somebody else's driveway, the house of this man, Gummers Bonth (ph). Says he woke up, looked outside his window, and was scared stiff, with good reason. Raney ate the family's beloved hydrangea plant, and then, overcome with guilt, she cleaned the house's gutters. Raney does not do windows.
All the more reason to remember that if this happens to you, call this man, the circus police, immediately. Nice trunks.
On to another hangout of circus freaks and general layabouts, Key West, Florida, and the 25th annual Ernest Hemingway Festival. These men are not Papa Hemingway's descendants nor Santa Claus fetishists. They are merely Hemingway lookalikes.
The celebrated novelist wrote about what would later become an Oddball favorite, the running of the bulls. But unlike Papa, we always root for the bulls.
In any event, they unveiled this statue yesterday to mark the 106th birthday of the original. Ah, what a likeness. This man's wife here has not seen him (INAUDIBLE) saw him go out for a loaf of bread two days ago and has not seen him since.
Also tonight, the probe into Karl Rove's alleged involvement in the outing of a CIA officer may be a whole lot less complicated than we thought. It may be just a question of lying. Tonight, an exclusive interview with the target of the leak that started the whole thing, former ambassador Joe Wilson.
And here comes the sun, a little later than you're used to. Huh?
Congress planning to tamper with nature again.
These stories ahead.
But now, here are Countdown's top three newsmakers of this day.
Number three, the follically challenged men of Germany, a court there ruling that even though state health insurance covers the costs of wigs for women, it will not have to pay for toupees for men. Kind of funny from a country where the word for Mr. is Herr.
Number two, the Potlatch Corporation of Idaho. It has today unveiled, or more correctly unrolled, a new fast-dissolving toilet paper for people with RVs or boats or septic tanks. So? Well, actually, the Associated Press ought to be the newsmaker here because, in reporting the new product, the news service wrote that it, quote, "maintains the absorbency and feel of upper-end toilet paper."
And number one, Elias I. Elias, a 54-year-old man back in Machias (ph), Maine. He's done his time for his crimes. Now he wants to atone, to pay each and every place back. What were Mr. Elias's crimes? Between 2003 and the beginning of this year, police say that 18 times, Mr. Elias faked heart attacks or other medical emergencies in order to get out of paying the check at the restaurant.
OLBERMANN: Call it the CIA leak investigation or the Valerie Plame fall-up or the Karl Rove case, but by whichever name, it may have just turned from the difficult to follow and legally subtle pursuit of someone who could have violated a complicated law about not deliberately revealing the identity of covert agents into something much simpler.
Our third story on the Countdown: The special prosecutor may be going after Karl Rove, and perhaps Scooter Libby, for making false statements to the prosecutors - in other words, lying.
In a moment, the man whose "New York Times" op-ed piece printed exactly two years and 16 days ago, Valerie Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, joins us here for an exclusive interview. First, the new developments on Rove and Libby, Bloomberg News quoting people familiar with the case, who say that while Rove told special prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald that he first learned Agent Plame's name from the columnist Robert Novak, the news service reports Novak, quote, "has given a somewhat different version" to the special prosecutor.
Rove also told prosecutors a version of his conversation with "Time" magazine reporter Matthew Cooper that does not match up to Cooper's testimony. Several news organizations noted that Rove testified that Cooper had called him on July 11, 2003, to at least nominally talk about welfare reform, and that Cooper then switched topics quickly to Wilson and the uranium from Niger that had been mention in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. But Cooper has reportedly testified that he never talked about welfare reform in that conversation with Rove.
As to Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Bloomberg News reports that he told prosecutors he first learned Plame's identity from Tim Russert of NBC News, but that Russert has testified to the grand jury that Libby's testimony is not true.
"The New York Times" meanwhile reporting that special prosecutor Fitzgerald is simultaneously also investigating how Rove and Libby had drafted a statement for CIA director George Tenet to make about the Joe Wilson op-ed, specifically to see if that and other damage control by Rove and Libby might have led to the disclosure of Valerie Plame's work and to see what information or documents Rove and Libby might have had access to as they prepared their statement for Tenet.
And that mainlines back to the "Wall Street Journal" story that John Harwood broke on this newscast last night. An internal State Department document prepared for an undersecretary of state and then seen by the then secretary of state, Colin Powell, mentioned Valerie Plame's CIA work. But to remind readers that her work was classified, the portions pertaining to her were marked "TS" for "top secret" and "SNF," a designation meaning, in essence, Classified, do not share with foreign intelligence services, even friendly ones.
Joining us now, this country's former acting ambassador in Iraq and 22-year veteran of the U.S. diplomatic corps, Joseph C. Wilson IV. His book about his experiences and those of his wife, Valerie Plame, "The Politics of Truth," now in an updated paperback version.
Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
AMB. JOSEPH C. WILSON, WIFE'S IDENTITY LEAKED TO THE PRESS: Keith, nice to be with you.
OLBERMANN: There's a lot of new and seemingly small details in this story in the past week or so. Obviously, you have a vested interest in following this story. What part isn't really small? What part arched your eyebrows?
WILSON: Well, certainly, the conflicting testimony between Mr. Russert and Mr. Novak and Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove. I think that's of some interest.
But I would go back to what I've tried to say all along, and that is, is that this is really a national security issue. And what's been dismaying the last couple of weeks, of course, is the extent to which the Republican National Committee has tried to turn this into a partisan issue. In 1999, former President Bush said those who would expose the identities of covert sources are the most insidious of traitors. Here we are, just six years later, and not a single Republican of national stature has even stood up to say that what Mr. Rove now it's documented he has done was wrong.
OLBERMANN: There is an irony related to that in the newest developments, that the memo that pertained to your wife's CIA work was marked, in essence, Top secret, shut up about this, yet the prosecutor is reportedly more focused on the prospects of a perjury case or perhaps a conspiracy case.
In terms of the prosecution here, do the particulars matter to you, do they matter to your wife, what, if any, charges are filed here?
WILSON: Well, I think Mr. Fitzgerald is going to obviously have the last word on that, and I haven't spoken to him in almost a year-and-a-half, so I have no idea where he's headed in his investigation. But irrespective of whether he - he indicts or declines to indict, we know have, thanks to Mr. Cooper and his notes, documentary evidence that Karl Rove gave him - gave up my wife's identity. He can call her "Wilson's wife," but when you say, "Wilson's wife," I have only one wife, and that is Valerie Wilson.
OLBERMANN: Having watched the entirety of the investigation move slowly over the year-and-a-half, or slightly more, with details leaking out here and there, do you have a sense of specifically a chain of events of what happened and who made it happen, who actually ruined your wife's usefulness in the war on terror?
WILSON: Well, I've been told - and I did not do any sleuthing myself, but I've been told by people who were looking into this last year or the year before last that there was a meeting held in the middle of March in the White House, in the vice president's offices, possibly chaired by Scooter Libby, in which it was decided to do a, quote, "work-up" on me. That's what I was told then.
Now, obviously, there's this State Department memorandum of June 7, which was then updated for the secretary's trip to Africa, and people are talking about the possibility that the name leaked out of that particular memo.
It would be appropriate, I would think, for the secretary of state to want to know how this trip came about and what happened, so that he wouldn't be blind-sided by questions about it. What was not appropriate, I don't believe, was putting Valerie's name in the memo, since, as I've said repeatedly, and as the CIA has said repeatedly, she was not part of the decision process that led to my going out there.
OLBERMANN: So you think perhaps the mentioning of her name in that memo was leaving - leaving a door unlocked or leaving a trail opened up to somebody or leaving the prospect of something accidentally leaking out that wasn't quite so much of an accident?
WILSON: Well, I don't think there's any question that it was not an accident. When you've got a memorandum that says "Top secret, no foreign" - that's "NF," not for foreign distribution - then people with those clearances know precisely what it means, and they all sign non-disclosure agreements with the government when they go to work for the government. It means that you don't share this information with anybody who doesn't have a need to know.
OLBERMANN: On another matter related to this, on Monday, the president said that if anybody in his administration was guilty of a crime in revealing your wife's work, they would no longer be working in his administration. What do you make, what did you make of that statement in the context of Mr. Bush's previous statements and his press secretary's previous statements about people who might have been involved in the government and might have been involved in leaking your wife's identity?
WILSON: When the compromise of Valerie's identity first took place and it was traced back to the senior administration officials, that was a breach of trust between the White House and our clandestine service. When the president changes his tune on this - and in June of 2004, he said that he would fire anybody who was involved in the leak, and he backtracks on that, I think it's a breach of trust with the American people.
This president has said that he's a man of his word, his word is his bond, he's a straight shooter. And now - now it appears that he's not. It appears that he's willing to go back on that word. And I think that compounds the breach of trust with the clandestine services, as well as with the American people.
OLBERMANN: Do you and your wife, or either one of you, ultimately hold the president responsible for what happened here?
WILSON: Well, I think the president had a responsibility to enforce his own orders that people cooperate fully with the Justice Department. Remember now, it's almost - it's been two years, two years in September. The president gave an order that everybody should cooperate fully with the Justice Department. This issue had to be litigated up to the Supreme Court, Matt Cooper and his family had to be put through agony, Judy Miller, "The New York Times" reporter, is languishing in jail, and all because the president has apparently been unable or unwilling to enforce his edict that people cooperate fully.
OLBERMANN: Do you believe his responsibility goes back further than that statement? Does it go back to the - to the - in some way, to the leak itself? Is he responsible for the leak?
WILSON: I would hope not. When the president assembles his senior staff, part of the responsibility of the senior staff is to protect - protection of the office of the presidency. This is bigger than just the man, this is the office. And I would certainly hope that he was not in any way knowledgeable of - of a tawdry leak from his political hatchet men.
OLBERMANN: That's largely the big picture. Give me the more focused one. Have you and your wife gotten your lives back in the last two years?
WILSON: Well, it's not very easy when you hear the likes of Ken Mehlman ranting, just spouting lies on news programs, or the likes of our distinguished congresspeople, such as Peter King, saying that Valerie got what she deserved. After all, she served this country for 20 years.
Without telling you where she served, I can tell you that she was in some of the areas of real high priority to the United States. I myself served my country for 23 years, including as charge in Baghdad during the first Gulf war for the first President Bush. First President Bush made me an ambassador to African countries. President Clinton asked me to be his special assistant on African affairs.
It's hard for us to see why our good names are besmirched the way they are by Republicans, headed by the RNC, when, after all, my opinion piece said nothing but the truth. There was no evidence of uranium sales from Niger to Iraq. There was no evidence of an interest that had been pursued by either party. There are no - there was no evidence turned up by the Iraq Survey Group. It didn't happen. It wasn't going to happen. It would not have happened.
OLBERMANN: Regardless of what the special prosecutor chooses to do or not do, have the two of you considered civil suits against anybody who might have been involved in the leak of your wife's name and work?
WILSON: Well, we're keeping all of our options open. We've decided that we would not do anything until the special prosecutor finished his work. We're not big believers in frivolous suits. We didn't like what happened with Judicial Watch and all the various attempts that were made to get at the Clinton administration through the use of civil suits. We have absolute faith - and I admit our prejudice as former - as government employees. My wife is still a government employee, and I'm a retired government employee. We admit our prejudice in having full faith in the institutions that have made this country great for 229 years.
OLBERMANN: My last question. Obviously, the people who have pooh-poohed this whole thing - and you mentioned some of the - some of the politics involved in this - they tend to dismiss the whole thing by saying, Wilson has been proven wrong. Dick Cheney didn't send him to Niger. He was sent there because his wife suggested it. It struck me the other day - let's just assume for the moment that those premises are correct. How would they have changed the facts of what you did or did not find in Niger, even if your wife had made the - had the responsibility of making the decision to send you there?
WILSON: Well, first of all, the premise is not correct. If you go back and you look at the original article, it says very clearly it was the office of the vice president that expressed an interest, that led to the CIA sending me there. So that was the first lie in these RNC talking points. And if you can't believe that, why should you believe everything else?
In actual fact, it wouldn't make any difference at all whether my wife was - was involved in a trip that was essentially pro bono. But the fact is, as the CIA has said repeatedly since June 22 of 2003, she was not involved in the decision-making process.
OLBERMANN: The former acting U.S. ambassador to Iraq, author of "The Politics of Truth" and the man who inadvertently started the special prosecutor's investigations of Karl Rove and others, Joe Wilson. Great. Thanks for your time, sir.
WILSON: Thanks, Keith, very much. Good to be with you.
OLBERMANN: Good to be with you.
We tried it during World War II and during energy crisis in the mid 1970s. Is Congress ready to move the sunrise? And free the Jackson porn. That's all we'll tell you about this story.
OLBERMANN: If you were around my age and you took a bus to school as a kid, you may have the same memory I do from January 1974, waiting at that stop at 7:30 in the morning, as I remember it, in pitch dark. No, the Earth's orbit had not been altered, it was the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act legislating early morning darkness in the wake of the oil crisis from the fall of 1973. That was not the only time we had Daylight Saving in the winter. President Roosevelt ordered it during the Second World War, too.
And in our second story on the Countdown: It could be happening again. As our correspondent, Tom Costello, reports, it would be for the same reason as 30 years ago, saving energy.
TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summertime in New Carlisle, Indiana, a corner of the Eastern time zone where, along with a number of other Indiana communities, they don't observe Daylight Saving Time.
LARRY BROWN, NEW CARLISLE RESIDENT: Oh, it's strange. It's definitely strange. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
COSTELLO: But next year, that will change. New Carlisle and all of Indiana will spring forward and fall back with the rest of the country. And in 2007, that could happen a lot earlier, with Congress talking about extending Daylight Saving Time from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. Among the benefits, kids getting another hour of trick-or-treating.
REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In addition to energy savings, less traffic fatalities, less crime, more economic activity, Daylight Saving Time also brings a smile to everybody's face.
COSTELLO: But since Daylight Saving Time was first introduced in World War I, it's always been more about fuel consumption than smiles.
DR. DAVID PRERAU, AUTHOR, "SEIZE THE DAYLIGHT": With Daylight Saving Time, we can go an hour later in the evening before we turn on the lights, and that saves energy for almost everyone.
COSTELLO (on camera): Exactly how much saving still needs to be determined. But not everyone likes the idea. The airline industry, for one, which says if the U.S. goes to Daylight Saving Time before the rest of the world, it could throw international flight schedules and connections out of sync, costing the airlines hundreds of millions of dollars.
(voice-over): And the national PTA, which doesn't want kids traveling to school before sunrise. That's what may well happen to Larry Brown's son.
BROWN: No one wants to have the kids out standing on street corners in the dark.
COSTELLO: Larry, Jr., looks forward to springing forward but knows that'll mean it's 8:00 AM in March before the sun comes up in New Carlisle, Indiana. Tom Costello, NBC News, Washington.
OLBERMANN: Instead of a segue into tonight's round-up of celebrity and entertainment news, we come careening around a corner and crash head into "Keeping Tabs."
Now that the Michael Jackson trial is over, he wants his stuff back, including his pornography. Think of the porn! Won't somebody please think of the porn?
Santa Maria superior court judge Rodney Melville saying all items seized by sheriff's investigators and entered into evidence will be returned to Jackson, including his computers, his books and his adult magazines. Melville says Jackson will get them back just as soon as news media representatives have been given sufficient time to review them. Finally, something the media is good at.
Or we could just send Jude Law out there. He's going to have to do something. His ex-wife has hired a new nanny, a new nanny who the ex's friends have already nicknamed Mrs. Doubtfire, and not because the nanny is a big fan of Robin Williams. Oh, no. "The London Sun" quotes a friend of the ex-Mrs. Law who describes the new hire as old enough to be Jude's mom. The kids absolutely adore her, and she's a bit dumpy and not particularly attractive. The previous nanny, Daisy Wright, wound up on a New Orleans pool table with Mr. Law, then wound up telling her steamy story in words that make the old "Playboy" Playmate list of turn-ons and turn-offs read like Shakespeare.
Another Jude Law story tonight - oh, no, these are about dead cockroaches dressed up as celebrities. That can mean only one thing. Our weekly recount, recap, or recount, Countdown's top five.
But first, time for our list of today's nominees for the coveted title of "The Worst Person in the World." There's Dianne Applegate (ph), director of the Fountain (ph) County, Indiana, 4H council pageant, which annually selects a local teenage girl as queen. This year, judges gave Jordan Snoddy (ph) more votes, but the pageant declared Sarah Rice the queen. Why? Sarah Rice is the niece of Dianne Applegate, director of the Fountain County, Indiana, 4H council pageant.
Also nominated, the people behind a water gun tournament in New York City. Unfortunately, right at this point in our fearful lives, they're calling the thing "Street Wars" and telling would-be participants, quote, "The killing begins August 1. Street Wars" is an assassination tournament. You can hunt your target down any way you see fit. Then you win, but first, live in fear," unquote. Nice timing. And by the way, pinheads, you spelled assassination wrong.
But today's winner, Pat Kachura, a senior vice president of ethics at the Direct Marketing Association. Recognizing the pain that could be caused when a telemarketer calls up and asks to talk to Joe Smith, only to hear from his wife that Joe Smith died last month, the Direct Marketing Association says out of its sensitivity, it will establish a new "deceased, do not contact" list. And you only have to pay the telemarketers a dollar to sign your loved dead one up.
Pat Kachura of the Direct Marketing Association, today's "Worst Person in the World"!
OLBERMANN: To the top of the Countdown, and we end the week, as always, with the best of the worst. It is hard to imagine the world consistently produces the likes of animal-obsessed tattoo artists or retired grocery clerks who are actually next in line for a British earldom or a guy so stoned from sniffing aerosol spray cans that in his mug shot, he still has paint all over his face! It's all part of life's rich pageant and all recaptured for us in Countdown's "Top Five of the Week."
(voice-over): Number five: In an ordinary strip mall in Plano, Texas, the Cockroach Hall of Fame. Exterminator and curator Michael Bodan (ph) is the visionary with a passion for dressing up dead bugs like celebrities.
Why, there's H. Ross Peroach (ph), Liberroachi (ph), never he sounded so good. Now you see her, now you don't. It's Marilyn Monroe from "The Seven-Year Itch." You can get a mug or a T-shirt to commemorate your visit and the fact that you have no life.
Number four: Yuba City, California, hello. This guy is in line for the British royalty. Former grocer William Capell got a call from a British reporter saying he was next in line to become the Earl of Essex. A quick climb up the Capell family tree confirmed he was the fourth cousin once removed from the present earl. So when that guy kicks the bucket, Bill becomes earl.
WILLIAM CAPELL, NEXT IN LINE TO BE EARL OF ESSEX: I'm not sure exactly what my duties would be, but I think it would be fun to find out.
OLBERMANN: By the way, hanging out on plastic chairs by the pool will not be one of them.
Number three: It's robots riding camels. In the United Arab Emirates, they've banned the practice of using children as camel jockeys - damned liberal media! - so technology fills the void. The robots are remote-controlled. They wear funny hats. They cost about 2 grand. Desert biscuits (ph) ridden by the Humptron (ph) 3001, the heat (ph), paying 122 durhams (ph) to win (INAUDIBLE) and 17 to show.
Number two: Beijing, China, where the pigs are so tough, they all got tattoos. Actually, it's the artistic expression of a guy named Wim Delvoye, who explains why he's chosen the porky palettes.
WIM DELVOYE, PIG TATTOO ARTIST: First of all, they're very naked, so you can easily tattoo them. They don't feel it.
OLBERMANN: Well, actually, this little piggy looks like he feels it.
And number one: The dumb criminal of the week, maybe of the year, Patrick Trivet (ph), Bel Air (ph), Ohio, who made his way down to the Dollar Store for another can of gold Rustoleum, not to touch up the paint on his bowling trophies, he's accused of trying get high off it. Even veteran detectives were amazed that the store owners were able to penetrate the shroud of secrecy created by this criminal mastermind.
OLBERMANN: Ah, the trouble with Trivets. That's Countdown. I'm Keith Olbermann. Keep your knees loose. Good night, and good luck.
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