Tuesday, August 22, 2006

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for August 22

Guest: Larry Pozner

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

The world did not end today as predicted, not the last time we checked. It only felt that way after the John Mark Karr courtroom and media circus. He will leave here in Los Angeles for Boulder posthaste. He has reportedly been continually confessing in the Ramsey case post 2000.

Back by popular demand tonight, our special report on the nexus of politics and terror. Only half the suspects in the purported airline plot head to court amid public concerns in England that the scope and scale of the alleged attack had been exaggerated. We'll reexamine the top 10 we in this country have been thusly concerned, where fear and politics may have been deliberately blurred.

And when politics clashes with war. While Iran says it's time to really get serious about nuclear talks, President Bush seems to say it's time to stop listening to anybody who disagrees with him about Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, there are a lot of people in the Democrat Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done, period. And they're wrong.


OLBERMANN: Yet even after the last terror scale, the percentage of Americans who think Mr. Bush is wrong reaches yet another record high.

Right decision or wrong decision for Hillary Clinton, two years and two months before the election, cover a time (ph).

And speaking of wrong decisions, cited for driving while playing music on the radio too loud. Well, no, it wasn't music. What was it?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listening to rock and roll, we're listening to rap (INAUDIBLE) Bill O'Reilly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill O'Reilly doesn't fall under that statute.


OLBERMANN: A visit to one of Bill O's listeners. Who's looking out for you, pal, Fox security?

All that and more, now on Countdown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join Fox security.


OLBERMANN: Good evening from Los Angeles.

New questions raised tonight about a far too familiar subject. Was the purported liquid bomb plot exaggerated by authorities in London? We will thus respond to your e-mails and calls by again bringing you tonight our special report on the top 10 likeliest occasions when such threats might have been amplified in this country for partisan gain, the nexus of politics and terror. That shortly.

But we begin with our fifth story on the Countdown, an intersection of its own from here in L.A., the nexus of John Mark Karr and reality, if any. Despite hours of hoopla and buildup both inside and outside a Los Angeles courtroom, it is getting local TV attention previously reserved for live coverage of snow in Malibu. When Mr. Karr finally did appear before the judge, the whole extradition process to Colorado took just about two minutes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are charged with one count of first degree murder, after deliberation, one count of first degree felony murder, one count of first degree kidnapping, one count of second degree kidnapping, one count of sexual assault on a child.

Now, Mr. Karr, I'm holding up a waiver of extradition. Do you see that?

JOHN MARK KARR: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you read and understand the form?

KARR: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand that by signing this form, you're agreeing it to be extradited to Colorado?

KARR: Yes, your honor.


OLBERMANN: The judge refused Karr's request to wear civilian clothes in court. And with that, he was led out. Boulder authorities now have 10 days to pick him up from L.A. They are expected to do that sooner rather than later. They are not saying when, though.

And with his impending extradition comes fresh evidence of Karr's years-long obsession with his alleged victim, JonBenet Ramsey, ABC News procuring a secret tape recording said to be of John Mark Karr talking about Ramsey's death back in 2001, the talking, not the death, the tape made by Wendy Hutchins (ph), who was apparently a confidential informant in a child pornography case related to Karr.

According to the report, you can hear what is apparently the voice of Karr on the recording speculating about JonBenet Ramsey's killer, saying, quote, "How would that person apologize for such an atrocity? Would that person say, You know, I strangled your daughter, and it was so accidental, and I was so afraid, and I was absolutely afraid?" end quote.

He also allegedly says he feels a psychic connection with JonBenet Ramsey beyond the grave. And more weird turns it takes.

To analyze the latest of them from the legal point of view, I'm joined by criminal defense attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Larry Pozner.

Larry, good evening.


OLBERMANN: If that is Karr on this tape, seems to be a lot of similarities between what he told Ms. Hutchins and what he told the media when he was in Thailand. Last week, he called her death an accident. He implied a connection with her. If this case ever goes to trial, what happens here? Is that tape working better for the prosecution or for the defense?

POZNER: Well, if this case goes to trial, Keith, it's only because they found a whole lot more evidence than they have now. Right now, he's trying to convince us that he's a sick pedophile murderer, and he's only two for three.

OLBERMANN: Several of these lawyers who've been advising him since he got here to Los Angeles, at least one of them has spoken out. Let me play you something she said on the courthouse steps after that hearing today, then I have a question for you. Here's what she said.


JAMIE HARMON, ATTORNEY: Mr. Karr is - has been portrayed by the media as of late as being mentally unstable, attention seeking, unwell, mentally unwell. And he is none of those things.


OLBERMANN: Larry, if she's trying to help Mr. Karr, why would she basically downplay any notion of a false confession, or an insanity defense, at the start here?

POZNER: I don't know many defense lawyers that begin with, Please believe my client when he tells you he's a murderer. That's not a conventional tactic. And if this guy isn't sick, he is going have to do until something better comes along.

OLBERMANN: A newspaper in your neck of the woods, the "Rocky Mountain News," reporting that the authorities in Colorado have not yet examined the house in Alabama in which he lived during the time when JonBenet Ramsey was murdered. The home has been empty since 2001. Why on earth wouldn't authorities check out that out during the months it took them to actually find Karr? Why is that delayed till after they get ahold of him?

POZNER: This is a mystery. The wife hasn't apparently been interviewed. The house hasn't been searched. Search warrants apparently have not issued. One would think that the Boulder district attorneys or the Boulder police would put the investigation together before their international press conferences, rather than after.

OLBERMANN: As you know, Larry, most of these high-profile tabloid-type cases seem totally nuts to me, almost all of them do. But am I wrong, or is this extra-special nuts? I mean, you've got a confession from a guy whose ex-wife says he was with her at the time, this defense attorney insisting the potential client is completely sane, a tape supporting the idea that the guy was fixated on the story of this poor little girl but may never have had a thing to do with this case. What's - what do you think is going on here?

POZNER: I think that the notoriety of the case causes crazies to come forward. This man, Mr. Karr, is clearly obsessed with JonBenet. And I believe he's memorized every little detail he can. But at this point, he's a wannabe. And what he wants to be is, he wants to be considered a pedophile murderer, which is, if true, he's real ill. And if he's lying about it, he's real ill.

OLBERMANN: Yes. I posed this theory just out of the blue to Catherine Crier last week, and she thought it was it was a little bit too crazy even for me. But give me your thoughts here. Is it possible - let's assume that the authorities in Boulder did not just shoot from the hip on this without doing any of the work, because that doesn't seem to make any sense. Is it possible that they saw a twofer here, this guy was confessing to this crime all this time, they get a dangerous guy off the streets, and maybe they're - could they possibly be trying to smoke out the real killer, to use the oldest cliche in the book?

POZNER: Anything's possible. This case has been bizarre beyond anything we've ever experienced. It's been that way from the first day. And this guy and this confession just make it more bizarre. Come up with a theory as to what's going on, because anything works.

OLBERMANN: All right, we'll stick with that one for the time being.

If you think of something better, give us a call, and we'll go with that.

Larry Pozner, criminal defense attorney, MSNBC legal analyst. As always, Larry, great thanks for your time.

POZNER: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The women in John Mark Karr's life now coming forth with statements on his arrest. His second wife, Lara Knutsen (ph), says she is convinced that he was with her and their three children on Christmas 1996, but she has as of yet not been able to find any photographic evidence of his presence, or at least not presented any.

His first wife, Quintana Ray (ph), who was barely a teenager when he took her across state lines and married her, says she was shocked by the arrest, adding that even though they were husband and wife, she really doesn't know him at all.


QUINTANA RAY: Well, I didn't know him very long. I didn't know over a year or so, you know.


OLBERMANN: But given that she was 13 when they married, that his second wife was 15, and that he's already been busted for child pornography, it is not a stretch to say John Mark Karr is, if not a predator, then at minimum a pedophile.

And as our correspondent Kevin Tibbles reports, he is one of a growing network of such people who are using the Internet to pursue their perversions.


KEVIN TIBBLES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sergeant Michael Anton (ph) and his team spend their days and nights hunting Internet predators.

SGT. MICHAEL ANTON: People think it's one person here, one person in another state. But very often, they are, they are tied together, there is kind of networks that work together.

TIBBLES: And, Sergeant Anton says, there's been a virtual explosion in the number of chat rooms that cater to pedophiles.

ANTON: With the titles of, Sex Under Six, Child Sex, Child Rape Sex. And in those chat rooms there are like-minded people chatting in there about the specific topic of the day.

ERNIE ALLEN, CHILD ADVOCATE: These offenders don't match the traditional stereotypes. They don't look like they've crawled out from under a bridge. They're doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers.

TIBBLES: Former teacher John Mark Karr, the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case, has already been in trouble with the law for having child porn on his computer.

KAVER VON ERCK, PERVERTED-JUSTICE.COM: There's dozens upon dozens of groups emanating from Canada, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, where pedophiles get online and attract other pedophiles to try to trade tips on what works for them. It's very creepy and very disturbing. And it's a problem much greater than most people know.

TIBBLES (on camera): And child porn on the Web is a multibillion-dollar business with its own symbols and subculture.

(voice-over): Some Web sites even peddle pedophile pendants with symbols that signify child love.

VON ERCK: They have their own terminology. We call it pedospeak.

It's the way - it's terms and terminology that really only pedophiles use.

When you hear them, you know pretty much what you're (INAUDIBLE).

TIBBLES: The good news, in many cases, police forces worldwide are catching up. But parents are still being urged to keep close tabs on their kids.

ALLEN: We want parents to understand that when you're online, you're in public. People are coming into your home and accessing your children by the Internet.

TIBBLES: And like in any other community, on the Internet, there are places where bad people can hide.

Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.


OLBERMANN: Also tonight, back to the news, the decider in chief taking issue with people who don't agree with his mission in Iraq, and, according to new polls, those who agree with him now constitute just 35 percent of Americans.

And later, the nexus of politics and terror, as less than half those the British arrested head to court today. Just how advanced really was the airline plot? We'll take a look at how this administration may have used past terror threats to gloss over political problems.

You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: If, as President Bush has been forced to admit, Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and if opposition to the war in Iraq is now at an all-time high here in the U.S., then it would seem now would not be the time to enter into a new conflict with a different state on the president's self-named axis of evil.

Our fourth story on the Countdown, diplomacy d'j... vu, this time with Iran, now heading for an apparent showdown with the U.N. Security Council.

We begin with opposition to the war we are already in, only 35 percent of those polled by Opinion Research for CNN favoring the war in Iraq, a record 61 percent now opposing it.

It is against that backdrop that a diplomatic dialogue with Iran appears both closer and further away than ever before, the government of that country today continuing to offer mixed messages, on the one hand, saying it wants serious negotiations over its nuclear program, while insisting at the same time it is not just trying to buy itself some time, on the other hand, reportedly rejecting Western demands and even incentives that it stop its nuclear activities, the U.N. Security Council giving Tehran until the end of this month to stop the uranium enrichment program in that country or face possible sanctions, at the same time President Bush presenting an equally hard line and just as many mixed messages regarding his current conflict with Iraq, the commander in chief conceding just yesterday that the war is straining the psyche of the American people, alleviating that strain, however, apparently not an option, Mr. Bush stating that to leave now would be disastrous, while calling anyone who disagrees with him wrong.


BUSH: There are a lot of people in the Democrat Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done, period. And they're wrong. And the American people have got to understand the consequence of leaving Iraq before the job is done. We're not going to leave Iraq before the job is done, and we'll complete the mission in Iraq. I can't tell you exactly when it's going to be done, but I do know that it's important for us to support the Iraqi people.


OLBERMANN: Also lot of people in the Republic Party who don't agree with the president at this point.

Let's bring in our own Dana Milbank, national political reporter of "The Washington Post."

Dana, good evening.


Evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Help me out here. How does calling 61 percent of the American public which now opposes the war in Iraq flat-out wrong actually help the president and/or his party in November?

MILBANK: Well, this is just the start of it. If they don't change their mind, he's going to say they are fat, ugly, and smell bad. So we're going to see a lot more of this in October.

The fact is, he - there actually is a distinction to be made here. Sixty-one percent of the people are saying they are opposed to the war in Iraq, meaning it's a mistake, it's gone badly. That's the same as saying they want people to pull out right now. More Americans are opposed to that notion, because they figure, OK, it's a disaster now, but it'll be even worse in that scenario. So there is some logic to what he's saying.

OLBERMANN: The president says that as long as he is in office, we're staying in Iraq. At any point, though, have we heard his plan for winning in Iraq, or what that plan might be? Have any of the Republicans who are trying to get reelected heard it?

MILBANK: You know, it's interesting. In the press conference yesterday, Martha Raddatz from ABC had asked him about the strategy, and that's what produced this sort of a tirade about how we're not leaving, we're not leaving, we're not leaving. She said, Well, but that's not really answering the question. He said, Well, that is answering the question, because his strategy is to stay, whereas other people are saying, Well, that means we're not actually winning the war.

You know, it get back to this question of sort of the lesser of evils, and nobody seems to be talking about an actual victory any more at this point. It's just, which scenario will produce less bloodshed?

OLBERMANN: Parsing base reality, the president was also forced to admit at that news conference yesterday that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, while all that recent polling suggests the American public has already made that distinction and is now drawing a clear distinction between Iraq and the entire war against terror. If the White House can no longer link Iraq and al Qaeda, will that have an impact on the upcoming election?

MILBANK: It would, if that were the case, but the administration will continue to link Iraq and al Qaeda. He said, OK, of course, we never said they were behind the 9/11 attacks, when, in fact, Dick Cheney had said exactly that. But in the next breath, the president was saying that it's not necessarily just sectarian violence in Iraq, that actually al Qaeda is behind. He said, I would surmise that al Qaeda is behind the biggest attacks there.

So the linkage very much continues there. And if the president continue to link this, he does pretty well. Americans, the only area where he's getting support now is on terrorism. So if we're thinking al Qaeda there, he's not getting support on Iraq. If he can continue to fuse the two together, that's his best shot for Republican victories in November.

OLBERMANN: Yes, but that same poll that we're quoting said 44 percent of the public, down to 44 percent, now sees the wear in Iraq as a vital part of, or even connected with, the war on terror. So, so, so somebody else is making the disconnect.

MILBANK: Well, clearly, he is - that has been deteriorating for a long period of time now. We see him creeping up in some of these polls now to 42 percent, which is no great shakes, but it's significantly better than where he had been. The terrorism numbers creeping up there. So if this pattern continues, it will presumably be because Americans are making that association again, because it's constantly being put to them.

OLBERMANN: And yet Senator McCain was trying to get some distance between himself and the White House on Iraq today. There's been much talk about the Democrats in disarray over Iraq. Could the same thing be said to any degree about the Republicans?

MILBANK: To a great degree. I - Senator Inhofe from Oklahoma is quoted today saying developments in Iraq have been miraculous. And then a couple of days ago, you had Senator Hagel from nearby Nebraska saying that, in fact, it does qualify as a civil war, what's going on there.

So the Republican Party is pretty much equally fragmented. What you have here is a broad consensus that the situation in Iraq has developed into something of a fiasco. That crosses party lines now. You also have a broad consensus that nobody really know what to do about it. Do you pull out, do you stay there? Nobody - everybody seems to agree that there is no easy answer here. So in a sense, we have unified the country on Iraq.

OLBERMANN: Yes, that's great. Dana Milbank of MSNBC and "The Washington Post." It's nice to know something positive has come of all of this. Many thanks, Dana.

MILBANK: My pleasure.

OLBERMANN: More politics ahead, including Hillary Clinton's presidential musings on the cover of "TIME" magazine.

And at your request, a reprise of our report, "The Nexus of Politics and Terror."

And the trickiest of trick shots on the links, although, perhaps, this will still not be enough to make gold actually interesting. Look up, Tiger.

And an important tip for you drivers. You cannot get away with blasting your car radio, even if you are listening to Bill O'Reilly.

Details ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: One hundred and three years ago today, Dorothy Rothschild was born. Her fame came under her married name, Dorothy Parker, perhaps the greatest American female wit ever, creator of dozens of unforgettable quotes, including the famous but inaccurate, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Also the less well known, "My land is bare of chattering folk, the clouds are low along the ridges. And sweet's the air with curly smoke from all my burning bridges."

In honor of Dorothy Parker, who also once asked, "What fresh hell is this?" let's play Oddball.

And we begin in Ware (ph), England, where the guy from Abu Ghraib is taking some time to unwind on a local golf course. No, no, I'm sorry, it's the second annual World Trick Shot Championships. Eleven of the, quote, "world's top golf professionals," unquote, gathered at the Hanbury (ph) Manor Country Club to show their stuff, performing shots rarely necessary in your average round of golf, unless you really stink.

But as the great guru of the links, Harvey Pennick (ph), wrote, It's better to know how to hit a shot teed up on a reclining man's crotch and not need to than to need to and not know. I'm paraphrasing, but (INAUDIBLE), it was something like that.

Now to the holy apparitions in food products department. Last night we brought you the first look at the Holy Virgin Mary of the George Foreman grill grease collection tray. Tonight, we feel like seafood. Jesus Christ on the half shell! That's Jesus Christ on the half shell. An Orlando, Florida, couple says it found this oyster while boating in the Komoko (ph) River basin. It was under the water, but they're still pretty sure that's him on the side.

And so, like everyone else who has a religious experience like this, they are selling Shellfish Jesus on eBay, bidding up to 20 clams.

Twenty clams to the 10 most worrisome examples. You asked to see it again, so we will ask again, in the wake of new doubts about the purported liquid bomb plot, has this administration shown a pattern of exploiting fear for political gain? We'll examine the 10 previous best or worst examples.

Who will head the next administration? "TIME" magazine having a referendum on Hillary Clinton, more than two years before the next election.

Details ahead.

But first, time for Countdown's top three newsmakers of this day.

Number three, unknown pranksters in Phoenix. Great idea to scare everybody at the recent showing of the movie "Snakes on a Plane" by setting loose two live rattlesnakes in the theater. No one was bitten nor injured in the ensuing panic. The culprits have yet to be caught.

I've had enough of these mother -

Number two, Reverend Cletus Forson of Brooklyn, New York. He's fighting a $115 speeding ticket, or ticket he received for parking in a no-standing zone outside a hospital last month. Now traffic court judge Michael (INAUDIBLE) - Cherubino has refused to throw it out, despite the fact that Reverend Forson was parking where he did so he could rush inside to deliver the last rites to a dying patient.

And number one, Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, which owns Paramount Pictures. He says he is dropping Tom Cruise from the studio after a 14-year relationship, telling "The Wall Street Journal," quote, "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Yes, yes, I bet if he gave you an exclusive one-picture deal with Surry (ph), you'd have kept him.


OLBERMANN: It could be considered a public relations move in the "Nexus of Politics and Terror." It's our No. 3 story on the Countdown tonight. After withering critism and skepticism from the British media and public about the alleged plot blow up airplanes bound for the U.S., officials there today brought some of their suspects into court. Eleven of them were charged with plotting airborne detonations using liquid explosives, a lawyer for one suspect denied all the charges, 11 other suspects remain in custody, not yet charged with a crime. Another of them has been released, a woman was being held, released today without charges.

Prosecutors could have held off on today's court appearances, which under the law, would have given them more time to question these suspect, but the charges, the court appearance, and in case anybody missed the point, another well-stages news conference yesterday, complete with flashy looking signs all contributing to the police message that despite claims that they hyped this plot, they consider this a real case with real terrorists.

It is fair question to be skeptical of the skeptics to ask why would the British police, why would anyone exaggerate the threat of violence fueling unwarranted fears. But theoretically, at least, it is clear that both terrorists and governments, supposedly hunting terrorists, have motives, both of them have motives to keep people afraid.

Terrorists, after all, do not just want us or anybody dead. Fear is often an even better end result, and few administrations, in American political history, Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, can truly say they did not use fear, even exaggerate fear, to justify their actions. And that may or may not explain why the timing of the British arrests was determined not by the lead investigators there, but at the request of our government. It may explain why so many of you have asked us to air once more a report we call the "Nexus of Politics and Terror." We brought it to you first after last October's threat to New York City's subways was revealed to have been grossly exaggerated and perhaps originally made up.

As always this caveat, we draw no conclusions about the connection between politics and terror except as noted that both can feed on our fear, whether there is a causal connection, we lack the information to say, but don't be afraid to ask the question.


(voice-over): No. 1, May 18, 2002, the first details of the president's daily briefing of August 6, 2001 are revealed, including its title "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." The same day another memo is discovered revealing the FBI knew of men with links to al Qaeda training at an Arizona flight school. The memo was never acted upon. Questions about 9/11 intelligence failures are swirling.

May 20, 2002...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The terror warnings from the highest levels of the federal government, tonight are...

OLBERMANN: Two days later, FBI Director Mueller declares that another terrorist attack is "inevitable."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight there are even more warnings of terrorist...

OLBERMANN: The next day, the department of Homeland Security issues warnings of attacks against railroads nationwide and against New York City landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. No. 2, Thursday, June 6, 2002...

COLEEN ROWLEY, FBI AGENT: I never really anticipated this kind of impact.

OLBERMANN: Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who tried to alert her superiors to the specialized flight training taken by Zacarias Moussaoui, who's information suggests the government missed a chance to break up the 9/11 plot, testifies before Congress. Senate Committee Chair Graham says, Rowley's testimony has inspired similar pre-9/11 whistleblowers.

Monday June 10, 2002, four days later...

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot.

OLBERMANN: Speaking from Russia, Attorney General John Ashcroft reveals that an American named Jose Padilla is under arrest, accused to plotting a radiation bomb attack in this country. In fact, Padilla had, by this time, already been detained for more than one month. No. 3, February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Powell tells the United Nations Security Council of Iraq's concealment of weapons including 18 mobile biological weapons laboratories, justifying a U.N. or U.S. first strike, many in the U.N. are doubtful. Months later, much of the information proves untrue.

February 7, 2003, two days later, as anti-war demonstrations continue to take place around the globe...

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Take some time to prepare for an emergency...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Security Secretary Ridge cites credible threats by al Qaeda and raises the terror alert level to orange. Three days after that, Fire Administrator David Paulison, who would become the acting head of FEMA after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, advises Americans to stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape to protect themselves against radiological or biological attack.

No. 4, July 23, 2003, the White House admits that the CIA, months before the president's State of the Unions Address, expressed strong doubts about the claim that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from Niger.

On the 24th the Congressional report on the 9/11 attacks is issued. It criticizes government at all levels. It reveals an FBI informant had been living with two of the future highjackers. It concludes that Iraq had no link to al Qaeda. Twenty-eight pages of the report are redacted. On the 26th, American troops are accused of the beating Iraqi prisoners.

July 29, 2003, three days later, amid all of the negative headlines...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Word of a new possible al Qaeda attack... OLBERMANN: Homeland Security issues warnings of terrorist attempts to use airplanes for suicide attacks.

No. 5, December 17, 2003, 9/11 Commission Co-Chair Thomas Kean says the attacks were preventable. The next day, a federal appeals court says the government cannot detain suspected radiation bomber Jose Padilla indefinitely without charges and the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, Dr. David Kay, who has previously announced he has found no weapons of mass destruction there, announces he will resign his post.

December 21, 2003, four days later, the Sunday before Christmas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today the United States government raised the national threat level.

Homed Land Security, again, raises the threat level to orange, claiming credible intelligence of further plots to crash airliners into U.S. cities. Subsequently six international flights into this country are canceled after some passenger names purportedly produced matches on government "No-Fly" lists. The French later identified those matched names, one belongs to an insurance salesman from Wales, another to an elderly Chinese woman, a third to a 5-year-old boy.

No. 6, March 30, 2004 the new chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, tells Congress "we have still not found any WMD in that country" and after weeks of having refused to appear before the 9/11 Commission, Condoleezza Rice relents, and agrees to testify.

On the 31st, four Blackwater USA contractors working in Iraq are murdered, their mutilated bodies dragged through the streets and left on public display in Fallujah. The role of civilian contractors in Iraq is now widely questioned.

April 2, 2004...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI Has issued a new warning tonight...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Security issues a bulletin warning that terrorists may try to blow up buses and trains using fertilizer and fuel bombs, like the one detonated in Oklahoma City, bombs stuffed into satchels or duffle bags.

No. 7, May 16, 2004, Secretary of State Powell, appears on "Meet the Press." Moderator Tim Russert closes by asking about the enormous personal credibility Powell had placed before the U.N. in laying out a case against Saddam Hussein. An aide to Powell interrupts the question saying the interview is over.

TIM RUSSERT, "MEET THE PRESS": I think that was one of your staff Mr.

Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Get - Emily, get out of the way.

OLBERMANN: Powell finishes his answer, admitting that much of the information he had been given about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was...

POWELL:... inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading.

OLBERMANN: On the 21st, new photos showing mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison are released.

On the 24th "Associated Press" video, from Iraq, confirms U.S. Forces mistakenly bombed a wedding party, killing more than 40.

Wednesday May 26, 2004, two days later...

ASHCROFT: Good afternoon.

OLBERMANN: Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Mueller warned that intelligence from multiple sources...

ASHCROFT: Indicates al Qaeda's specific intention to hit the United States' heart.

OLBERMANN: And that 90 percent of the arrangement for an attack on the United States were complete. The color coded warning system is not raised. The Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge, does not attend the announcement.

No. 8, July 6, 2004, Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry selects Senator John Edwards as his vice presidential running mate producing a small bump in the election opinion polls and producing a huge swing in media attention towards the Democratic campaign.

July 8, 2004, two days later...

RIDGE: Credible reporting now indicates that al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Secretary Ridge warns of information about al Qaeda attacks during the summer or autumn. Four days after that, the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, DeForest B. Soaries Jr. confirms he has written to Ridge about the prospect of postponing the upcoming president election in the event it is intercepted by terrorist acts.

No. 9, July 29, 2004, at their party convention in Boston, the Democrats formally nominate John Kerry as their candidate for president. As in the wake of any convention the Democrats now dominate the media attention over the subsequent weekend.

August 1, 2004, Monday morning, three days later.

RIDGE: It is as reliable as source - group of sources that we've ever seen before.

OLBERMANN: The department of Homeland Security raises the alert status for financial centers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington to orange. The evidence supporting the warning, reconnaissance data left in a home in Iraq. Later proves to be roughly four years old and largely out of date.

No. 10, October 6, 2005, 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the president addresses the National Endowment for Democracy, once again emphasizing the importance of the war on terror and insisting his government has broken up at least 10 terrorist plots since 9/11.

At 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, five hours after the president's speech has begun, the "Associated Press" reports that Karl Rove will testify again to the CIA leak grand jury and that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has told Rove he cannot guaranteed that he will not be indicted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're awaiting a news conference at the bottom of the hour...

OLBERMANN: At 5:00 17 p.m. Eastern Time, seven hours after the president's speech has begun, New York officials disclose a bomb threat to the city's subway system, based on information supplied by the federal government. A Homeland Security spokesman says the intelligence upon which the disclosure is based is of "doubtful credibility." And it later proves that New York City had known of the threat for at least three days and had increased police presence in the subways long before making the announcement at that particular time.

Local New York television station WNBC reports it had the story of the threats days in advance of the announcement, but was asked by high ranking federal officials in New York and Washington to hold off on its story. Less than four days after having revealed the threat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York says, "Since the period of the threat now seems to be passing, I think over the immediate future we'll be slowly be winding down the enhanced security." While news organizations ranging from the "New York Post" to NBC NEWS, quotes sources who say there were reasons to believe the informant who triggered the warning simply made up. A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official tells the "New York Times," "there was no there, there."


And No. 11, you know. We've noted this before, too. You could probably construct a similar timeline equating terror events to supermarket openings around the country. But if just a reasonable argument could be made that any one of those 11 events or including this latest curious business from London and Washington is more than mere coincidence, then it underscores the need for more questions to be asked in this country, questions about is prudence what is fear mongering.

Also here the question to Hillary Rodham Clinton now playing out on the cover of a national news magazine - run or not?

And playing out on a Florida road, the Bill O'Reilly defense. You will not believe how Bill-O factors into an ordinary traffic stop, and it's all on tape when Countdown continues.


OLBERMANN: Could the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton presidential ping pong match continue in '08? "Time" magazine trying to get a very early read on Hillary's changes. That and a Bill O'Reilly fan sinks to an all-time high in low. You can't give me a ticket, I'm listening to the big giant head. That's next, this is Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Although technically our No. 2 story is the reported presidential ambition of Hillary Clinton, the story behind the No. 2 story maybe a little more interesting. "Time" magazine's cover fast-forwarded New York's freshman senator right post her 2006 reelection into a 2008 presidential election. The story behind the story comes from the "National Journal's" hotline, a D.C.'s insider's bible, it is headlined, "Are Clinton Backers Sending their Principal a Subtle Sign?" and it pulls several quotations suggestion that Hillary's backers spoke to "Time" to nudge her towards committing to a run soon and they want that guy she's married to stop being "a subtle saboteur" steeling the spotlight, reminiscing about his past rather than touting her future.

He was at a New York Mets-St. Louis Cardinals game today reminiscing about his Cardinal fandom, in fact. "Times" report said that the senator is still undecided about a run, even though it is scant 805 days until the election. But as our correspondent, Lisa Daniels, report, she is clearly thinking about it and so is this country.


LISA DANIELS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a love-hate relationship from the start - Americans and Hillary Clinton.

RICHARD STENGEL, EDITOR "TIME": Next to George Bush, Hillary is the most polarizing politician in American.

DANIELS: But somewhere along the way, Americans are starting to soften their feelings for the junior senator of New York, at least that's what a poll, conducted by "Time" magazine found. In this week's issue, 53 percent of Americans surveyed say they have a favorable impression of Hillary Clinton, more so than any potential challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination.

PETER HART, NBC POLLSTER: I think Americans are ready for a female president and I think they're definitely ready for Hillary Clinton.

DANIELS: Whether Hillary Clinton herself is ready remains the $64,000 question.

STENGEL: She's going win her Senate race in '06 handily. I think then she'll sit down with her advisors and decide what to do.

DANIELS (on camera): Maybe, but her fund raising efforts tell a different story. "Time" magazine says she has at least $10 million left over in her war chest after the Senate race is over.

ANNOUNCER: Standing up for children's healthcare...

(voice-over): And what about those political ads. Analysts say they too have a presidential ring to them.

E.J. DIONNE, "WASHINGTON POST" COLUMNIST: And I think in some broad sense, Hillary Clinton's strategy is the same as her husband's transposed to a different time, which is to maintain a hold on a certain number of liberals and also win a chunk of the Senate.

DANIELS: But the political landscape has changed since Bill Clinton ran for president. Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee announced Nevada and South Carolina were joining were joining Iowa and Nevada as the first four Democratic primaries adding more racial and geographic diversity to the mix.

HART: Hillary Clinton, in terms of a vision of where America can be can inspire people in much the same way as Robert Kennedy did 40 years ago.

DANIELS: Which is what "Time" magazine is counting on, that Americans will be inspired, on way or the other, to rip off the cover and share their vote.

Lisa Daniels, NBC NEWS, New York.


OLBERMANN: From lightning rod politicians to polarizing pendants who may have been hit by lighting. Another eye-opening look into the people who have become falafel factor fans, all of it recorded by a Florida traffic officer who just wanted to give the driver a ticket. Who else would bring it to you but your Countdown O'Reilly fan club, stand by.


OLBERMANN: If, as you may recall, Bill O'Reilly really thinks he has his own police force with which to punish anybody who mentions my name on his air, that it must as the night the day, that at least one of his listeners really thinks that invoking Bill-O's is the Florida highway equivalent of a get out of jail free card.

Our No. 1 story on the Countdown tonight, never mind road rage, it's now O'Reilly rage. Michael Conrad Forester, that is the name supplied by the police officer's audio stamp in Largo, Florida - Mr. Forester was pulled over doing 55 in a 40-mile-an-hour zone, the car radio going full-blast, the rationalizations going full-blast too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you are being cited for speeding which is the reason why I stopped you to begin with for going 55 in a 40. You're also going to be cited, non-moving, for a stereo loud, audible over 25 feet away. Need you to sign here for the speed, please.

MICHAEL CONRAD FORESTER, BILL-O FAN: You're a very shameful person, you know that. You're a liar. I'm saying it just like this...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK sir, sign the citation please.

FORESTER: That you're a liar. You're thing about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sign the citation.

FORESTER: That's for kids who listen to rock and roll, or listen to rap music. I was listening to Bill O'Reilly, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill O'Reilly doesn't fall under that statute?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Sign the citation please.

FORESTER: I was trying to hear - I wasn't trying to let everybody else hear my radio, I was trying to hear it myself.


FORESTER: You're a shameful person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Sign the citation, please.

FORESTER: You're a donut-eater and you will rot in hell for lying.

You should be ashamed of yourself...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to sign the second one also.

FORESTER: You should be ashamed of yourself, but you're not because you have the nature of a person, an animal, and the kind of animal I'm referring to is probably - you don't want to hear about, but I'm sorry you have to hear about it. It's a swine.


FORESTER: It's a swine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 days to take care of both the citations. Buckle up and slow down. Make sure you get your registration in the vehicle.


OLBERMANN: What's really funny is that the next driver invoke the name Andrea Mackris. The officer told Mr. Forester he had two options, pay the fine and accept three points on his driver's license for speeding or plead no not guilty in court. The fine for speeding, by the way, $182.50 and for the loud car stereo, $73.50 and just as it is not less because you're listening to Bill-o and not Coolio, neither is it more. Mr. Forester vowed to get a lawyer, with the incident having occurred on the 26th of last month, he has until this coming Friday, August 25 to pay up and shut up or fight this indigently and possibly lawyer up.

Before we go, one more time, the quote that will echo through history.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sign the citation.

FORESTER: That's for kids who listen to rock and roll, or listen to rap music. I was listening to Bill O'Reilly, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill O'Reilly doesn't fall under that statute?


OLBERMANN: Hey! Call the smear merchant - call him a smear merchant!

That's Countdown for this, the 1,207th day since the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. From Los Angeles, keep your knees loose. I'm Keith Olbermann, goodnight, good luck, and safe motoring.

Our MSNBC coverage continues now with SCARBOROUGH COUNTY. Rita Costby is anchoring the program this evening, from Boulder, Colorado.