Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, May 5, 2010
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Twitter Report, Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
The toss: Sojourns

Guests: Steve Clemons, Kieran Suckling, Rev. Al Sharpton.

HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will

you be talking about tomorrow?

The Times Square terrorist so bad at it the Pakistani Taliban is

now saying, "We didn't train this guy." It may, however, have funded


As Faisal Shahzad continues to tell everything he knows, what we

think we know about what his amateurishness means. The good part for

former CIA Director Hayden - a lot of duds.



very bad part - probably a lot more numerous, and that's what we have

to be prepared for.


OLBERMANN: Shahzad's exit strategy: perfecting the no-fly list

and more importantly, says New York's mayor, why do we let people on the

no-fly list purchase guns and explosives?


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NYC MAYOR: I think it's imperative that

Congress close this terror gap in our gun laws and close it quickly.


OLBERMANN: Dick Cheney's Katrina - how he and his ex-intern in

the Minerals Management Service made all this possible. Our guest says

we are living with "a government agency that has been completely

captured by the industry it is supposed to monitor."

"Worsts": Faisal Shahzad is a registered Democrat? No, Limbaugh

just made that up.

Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic Heritage night at the basketball playoffs

in Phoenix and "Report an Illegal" Day all at the same time in Arizona.

Oh, new promos.


OLBERMANN: Visually, it is designed to be very, very attractive

in that sense, other than obviously me.


OLBERMANN: And tea time: This guy is trying to become the

Republican challenger to Congressman Alan Grayson.



airplane. And this is a terrorist.


OLBERMANN: Seriously? Could Dave Foley prophesized this guy,



DAVE FOLEY, ACTOR: Don't think I'm unaware of the fact that

Kevin McDonald, or should I say, Ivan Chovski (ph), is one of you!


OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.






OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

U.S. counterterrorism officials on two continents are, so far,

unable to link the suspect in the Times Square bombing to a specific

terrorist group or training camp, despite Faisal Shahzad's claims to

authorities Tuesday that he was trained in Pakistan for the attack.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: The failed plot raising

disturbing new questions about how with, quote, "professional

terrorists" neutralized investigators will be able to prevent future

attempts when there are few of any signs, when the prime suspect appears

to act alone, when his methods are, to put it charitably, crude.

In just the latest sign that the suspect was less than a master

criminal, our justice correspondent, Pete Williams, reporting in the

last few minutes that on the day before the bombing, Shahzad having

driven another vehicle to Times Square, leaving it there, apparently

intending it be his getaway car but law enforcement sources say that on

the night of the attempted attack, he left the keys to the getaway car

in the rear door of the Nissan SUV that was to carry the bomb, which

forced him to take the train home to Connecticut instead.

The suspect Shahzad today is waiving his right to a speedy

arrangement. Federal officials are telling NBC News that as long as he

remains talkative in interrogations with the FBI, agents not wanting to

interrupt that with a court appearance, which would risk losing

momentum. Shahzad saying today, officials say, that one of his motives

for driving a bomb into Times Square was anger over U.S. targeting of

suspected Taliban leaders in Pakistan with drone attacks, including one

that hit close to him while he was there.

ABC News reporting he also claimed his family in Pakistan had

been threatened. Interrogators are supposedly dubious about that.

Other officials telling the "Associated Press" they have so far

been unable to verify statements by Shahzad that he got bomb-making

training at a Pakistani terror camp and they have not linked him to any

terrorist group. They say the crude, ineffective car bomb did not

demonstrate the kind of explosives training that terror groups normally

provide ahead of an operation.

But one senior counterterrorism official is telling NBC News that

it appears more needles are pointing toward the Pakistani Taliban. The

group originally having taken responsibility for Saturday's attempted

attack, officials having said there was no evidence that that was true.

However, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban today is telling CNN that

the group did not train Shahzad.

But the "Reuters" news agency tonight is citing a law enforcement

source saying the investigators believe the Pakistani Taliban financed

Shahzad's training.

But what if the would-be bomber were affiliated with a different

group? "The Los Angeles Times" reporting one man now being held in

Pakistan is a member of Jaish-e-Muhammad, the literally "Army of

Muhammad," a militant group affiliated with al Qaeda. And he spent time

with Shahzad when the Times Square suspect was in Pakistan, although the

revelation marks the first time a specific Pakistani militant group has

been linked with this case. Sources are adding it does not necessarily

mean that the group engineered the plot.

On this network, meanwhile, this morning, the former director of

the CIA telling our own Savannah Guthrie that Shahzad is a new kind of



HAYDEN: This learning enemy is now adjusting to the fact that if

he does something very complicated that takes a long period of time, by

and large, we'll detect it and disrupt it. So, what happened in Times

Square this past weekend, what happened on Christmas Day, is a new

model. Because al Qaeda now knows, if they hug them too close too long,

we'll find out who they are. So what we have here for the new model are

less complicated attacks, frankly attacks that would probably be less

severe, attacks that are less skilled and therefore with a lower

probability of success, but now here's the very bad part - probably a

lot more numerous.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan


Good to see you, Evan.


OLBERMANN: As General Hayden just indicated there, Shahzad and

the Christmas bomber both seemed to be less than prepared, less than

professional, didn't know what to do, and plan didn't work immediately

in their dreams. Are we victims of our own success here? Have we shut

down the pros and we're now dealing with the amateurs and what does that


KOHLMANN: Yes, in some ways, that's true. I mean, look at the

years following 9/11 - al Qaeda fired a bunch of cells at us, people

trying to go after our subway systems, elsewhere. We just had a

Najibullah Zazi plot here in New York. Each one gets stopped. Any time

where you have something complex, something involvement people to a lot

of training and communications and whatnot, eventually, that gets


So al Qaeda has made a conscious decision here that they're going

to start moving towards people whose only credential is the idea they

have western passports or they have western citizenship or they're able

to cross borders or they don't fit a profile. That's the new

credential. And the idea is, is that if we don't invest a lot in these

people, that we can just fire these people off like machine gun bullets.

OLBERMANN: How do you defend against this? I mean, the idea

that Hayden said also, essentially, there'd be more long shot probable

failure attempts. But as we said before, as we were talking, the

stopped clock only has to be right once a day, not twice a day.

How do you defend against amateurs?

KOHLMANN: Well, you have to adapt to the recruitment methods. I

mean, it used to be that these guys got recruited in a mosque. They got

recruited in a guest house in Pakistan. They got recruited in the

traditional - traditional recruitment.

And now, it's changed. A lot of this is now taking place on the

Internet. Look at the five guys from D.C. who are picked up in

Sargodha, Pakistan. Supposedly, those five young Americans who had no

connection whatsoever to al Qaeda, and were not really all that

sophisticated, were drawn in by a representative of the Pakistani

Taliban via YouTube.

This was someone who saw them active on YouTube and said, you

guys should come join us. You know, if you're so interested in jihad

videos, we can show you the real thing - and that's exactly what


OLBERMANN: General Petraeus just came back from Afghanistan, was

on the air with Andrea Mitchell on this network today, and he - as he

pointed out the proverbial counterinsurgency manual - if there is such

a thing - says you must learn to adapt. The side that does it the

fastest is the one that typically prevails.

Give us your assessment. How fast is counterterrorism in this

country adapting to this new kind of pick them out of a hat terrorist


KOHLMANN: I mean, slowly. I think the best example of that is

what happened in late December. In late December, the United States,

the CIA, thought that they'd infiltrated al Qaeda. They thought they

were about to get the location of Osama bin Laden. They thought they

were going to get the location of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, and what ended

up happening was their wonderful source turned out to be a double agent,

somebody recruited by the Pakistani Taliban to go and kill CIA agents

and that's exactly what he did.

They didn't take him seriously because they said, oh, this guy is

just an Internet jihadi. He's been recruited over the web. He can't be


He's 30 years old. He has two kids. He has a wife. He's a

doctor. Somebody like that doesn't become a terrorist.

Well guess what? The model has changed and we're not adapting

fast enough. We're not seeing the communications methods and we're not

seeing the recruitment methods before they become a real problem.

OLBERMANN: Last question about Shahzad himself. He's talking to

the point where they don't want to arraign him so they don't get him to

stop talking. They can't stop him from talking.

He left his keys for apparently his escape vehicle inside the car

bomb, essentially. Do you get any sense that on some level, this man

wanted to be stopped?

KOHLMANN: Well, let's put it this way. He certainly wasn't the

A-team. He engaged in activities that were beyond reckless. He was

doing things which were exceptionally stupid.

It's difficult to say right now, but I think the answer is that

the terrorists are not - Jesus - they're not rocket scientists.

People that want to blow up other people and blowup themselves are not

always well-schooled or sophisticated or know what they're doing. And I

think if you look at a lot of recent terror cells, whether it's the

Najibullah Zazi plot, whether it was the 2007 fuel tank propane scare

over the United Kingdom, these guys crashed a car through the front of

Glasgow Airport, set themselves on fire and started dancing around.

How much sense does that take? I think the answer is that

terrorists are not always as smart as we might fear or we might


OLBERMANN: We can use that to our advantage and also tamp down a

little on our own fears without tamping down a little on our vigilance.

KOHLMANN: Yes, good balance. Yes.

OLBERMANN: Good balance. And if they leave the car keys, the

escape keys in the bomb itself, that's a good sign -

KOHLMANN: Better yet.

OLBERMANN: Thank you kindly. Evan Kohlmann, MSNBC

counterterrorism analyst.

KOHLMANN: Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: All right. For more on the Shahzad/Pakistan

connection, let's turn to Steve Clemons, director of the American

strategy program at the New America Foundation, author of the foreign

policy blog, "The Washington Note."

Good evening, Steve.


OLBERMANN: All right. Officials said Shahzad today told them

his motive - one of his motives. He supposedly gave out four or five

of them. Motive for the attack: anger over the U.S. targeting Taliban

leaders in Pakistan with drone attacks.

Is that going to affect U.S. policy in Pakistan?

CLEMONS: I don't think it will affect the issue of using drone

attacks, even though I think everyone from General McChrystal to others

have raised the question of the death of innocents is certainly

something that's causing a lot of animus and anger. But, of course,

Baitullah Mehsud, who they're referring to was not an innocent, he was


I think that this incident, while some people are going to knock

it off and say this was not a sophisticated guy and made all sorts of

mistakes, is nonetheless hugely important if the Pakistan Taliban is

connected to him in any way at all because, previously, the Pakistan

Taliban just did not operate outside of its borders. It was very - it

wanted to - basically the Afghan dimensions, as well as what was going

on in Pakistan was very much within their borders. And so, this is the

first incident of a - I think a real element of global jihadism that we

may be seeing from how they feel pushed.

OLBERMANN: All right. So, let's continue to talk on this on a

state-to-state basis because I think we talked about a lot of the

terrorist cell possibilities or terror group possibilities with Evan


But does this suggest that the U.S. has a Pakistan problem now?

Or is it just we've had one all along and haven't been willing to

acknowledge it - or which?

CLEMONS: Oh, I think we've had a Pakistan and Afghanistan

problem for a long time. We picked, you know, one side in what's become

a civil war and we've pushed a number of the Taliban up into Pakistan.

And I think Pakistan is a very fragile situation. We have tended to

approach these problems with 99.999 percent military tools while we keep

talking about the need to reach out in other ways. And I think that we

need to somehow begin to rethink this.

But I do think Pakistan is fragile, and you've got jihadists and

angry people that somehow feel that they have - they need to get us

back and they're beginning - they're going - I agree with Mike Hayden,

whom you had on earlier, that they're going to try to reach out and hit

us more frequently, maybe in more minor ways than we saw on 9/11. But

it will be something we've got to deal with.

OLBERMANN: And how do we deal with it? Again, more state-to-

state basis here, they're not going to negotiate with the Taliban

necessarily. But what does - what does one government do relative to

the sort of half government in Pakistan?

CLEMONS: Well, I think what's really interesting, which no one

has raised, is that, you know, from May 10th to May 14th, we have Hamid

Karzai here from Afghanistan. And what is really lurking behind that

summit effort is a try to reach out and begin figuring out a strategy

for reconciling and dealing with some of the Taliban chiefs in

Afghanistan. Now, one wonders whether this attempt was in some way

designed to try and pre-empt that effort either by rival Taliban chiefs

or the Pakistani Taliban.

So, I do think the issue that this did not disrupt, trying to

find a strategy of at least bringing over and breaking up some of those

structures that we now kind of morphed together in what is not, but is

treated like a monolithic Taliban is important.

OLBERMANN: Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation, the

author of "The Washington Note" blog, as ever informative - great

thanks, Steve.

CLEMON: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Another startling reality about all of this: if

Faisal Shahzad had time, he could have stopped off on the way to Kennedy

airport to that Emirates flight he was trying to board and bought a gun

or some actual explosives - because being on the no-fly list does not

mean you're on the "no buy gun or stuff you can blow people up with"



OLBERMANN: This man stepped up big time today to underscore the

other problem with the no-fly list. Those on the no-fly list are not

also on a "no sell them explosives or guns" list.

Trying to put a face on the oil rig disaster? The correct one it

proves is his. It's his Katrina.

Once again, this man was the prophet of all the lunatic right-

wingers to come. First, Lonesome Rhodes Beck and now a Republican

congressional candidate demanding racial profiling in TV ads.

And this man joins us from Phoenix. What made Arizona do the

right thing about Martin Luther King Day? Sports. It is Hispanic

Heritage night at the NBA playoff game in Phoenix, also it's "Report an

Illegal" Day in Arizona.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: In the apprehension of Faisal Shahzad, a system that

ultimately worked but that absolutely could have worked better - and in

our fourth story tonight - the government has made a strikingly simple

change to the no-fly list. There are additional proposals to fix the

system, some commonsensical, some jarringly misdirected.

Today, homeland security officials ordered all airlines to check

the no-fly list within two hours of receiving a notification that a high

priority name had been added to the list. Until today, the airlines

were required to check for updates to the no-fly list only once every 24


Emirates Airlines sold Shahzad a ticket to Pakistan seven hours

after his name was added to the no-fly list.

The proposal from Senator Chuck Schumer and others of his

colleagues would require that airlines flag to the TSA any passenger who

pays cash for an airline ticket. But a different kind of gap in

security remains wide open - individuals on the terror watch list have

the exact same right to buy guns and explosives as anyone else.

Calling it the terror gap, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

today asked Congress to give the government the ability to block the

purchase of guns by suspected terrorists.

Shahzad was not placed on the terror watch list until Monday, but

the mayor noted that if the government places people on a no-fly list

and terror watch list, why not also prevent them from buying firearms

while they're on the list?

But in the hearing at Capitol Hill, the two Republican senators

on the panel, Collins and Graham, worried that the Second Amendment

rights of law-abiding Americans would be, thus, infringed. Senator

Graham correctly noted that in the past six years, 1,228 people on the

terror watch list received background checks for firearm or explosive,

91 percent were allowed to proceed because there was no disqualifying

legal factor.

But to Senator Graham, that meant only that too many lawful

Americans were on the terror watch list.



that the watch list, when you look at the numbers, has so many problems

with it that I think it's not appropriate to go down the road that we're

going because a constitutional right is involved. And before we subject

innocent Americans who have had done nothing but have the wrong name at

the wrong time, to having to go into court and pay the cost of going to

court to get their gun rights back, I want to slow down and think about



OLBERMANN: Whew! Well, Senator Graham fretted about Second

Amendment rights. He repeated his prior call to end another

constitutional right with regard to terror suspects.


GRAHAM: I want to stop reading these guys their Miranda rights.


OLBERMANN: On that strange note, let's turn to MSNBC political

analyst, "Huffington Post" contributor, Lawrence O'Donnell.

Lawrence, good evening.



OLBERMANN: Let me start with the head up the butt logic question

here. Senator Graham is willing to say a terror suspect should have his

Miranda rights suspended but somebody on a terror watch list should have

the same rights as anybody else to buy a gun or some actually explosive

that will blow up?

O'DONNELL: Well, what do you want here, Keith? Consistency?

OLBERMANN: Yes, something.

O'DONNELL: This is a United States senator, after all, and

pandering is difficult, especially reactionary pandering in the

aftermath of these kinds of tense events. And so, Lindsey Graham, once

again, got desperately lost in his wanderings around the Constitution

and what he feels like respecting in a given moment and what he feels

like ignoring.

It is - it's been difficult for Republicans on this subject

since the Obama presidency. They just - consistency on this has been

impossible for them. We saw it with the Christmas Day attempted bombing

of the aircraft which was very comparable to the shoe bomber during the

Bush administration and, suddenly, we were supposed to treat this

completely differently, according to Republican doctrine - which

suddenly changed on the spot.

And so, this one is about as funny and simple-minded as it gets.

To catch him on tape that close together, with conflicting thoughts, is

a particularly fun day in those Senate hearings.

OLBERMANN: Related to this - and at the top of the hour Rachel

is going to go into more depth on this - Senator Lieberman has this

proposal that tomorrow is purportedly the day he's going to introduce

it. It would strip citizenship from terror suspects who were captured

abroad in order to side step Miranda. But a former Bush official called

that draconian and it wouldn't have affected Shahzad because he was

captured on U.S. soil.

So what does Senator Lieberman think he'd be accomplishing,

assuming he is thinking?

O'DONNELL: Well, in addition to draconian, it does have the

unfortunate condition of being utterly unconstitutional. The notion

that as soon as you're suspected of a crime, a terrorist crime, we then

strip your citizenship without any due process whatsoever, you know, to

you cannot impose penalties until you've gotten to the end of the


And so, it's ridiculous. It's unconstitutional, and it is a

typical Lieberman move to try to redefine what it means to be tough on

terror politically. And so, now, we will have a dividing line of

senators saying they're opposed to the Lieberman idea and they can then

be attacked by Limbaugh and company as being soft on terror because they

don't want to strip the citizenship immediately of someone who is

suspected of being involved in one of these cases.

And we will watch that one play out.

OLBERMANN: The no-fly list - this idea that any high priority

name that is added to the no-fly list should be checked within two hours

by the airlines not 24 hours. That sounds good, but here's a question

from a couple of moments before they decided to do this. They were only

being asked to check the no-fly list every 24 hours?

O'DONNELL: There are - you can hear the laughing in Silicon

Valley right now, Keith. They're not just laughing about 24 hours,

what's the two hours about?


O'DONNELL: To run a computer program to check every single name

within an airline's system against a particular name should take

minutes. It should take a very short period of time. The two hours is

almost a manual version of doing it for each plane as they go out. And

so, of course, that had to be speeded up.

And what's interesting about it is this was a rule that the Bush

administration, in keeping us safe, as they say, was perfectly content

with. Every single thing that we're discovering was wrong with this

system was in place under the watch of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Now, I know - now that we're in the second year of the Obama

presidency, we're never allowed to reach back. But since the former

vice president insists this president makes us less safe, it is

interesting to discover all the ways in which they made us less safe.

OLBERMANN: Yes. But you're engaging in now pre-120 thinking.

The - there also seems to be common sense in this other rule here that

if somebody walks up with cash and tries to get on a flight across the

country, this gets a red flag. Once again, are you surprised to find

out that that did not automatically produce a red flag?

O'DONNELL: It certainly should have. On American Airlines now,

you can't buy a ginger ale with cash, you have to have a credit card for

everything you do inside the tube of the aircraft. But they'll let you

get on if you throw down a bunch of hundred dollar bills at the counter.

Of course, that one had to be fixed and there was nothing preventing TSA

from making it their own policy, even without anyone writing a law about


OLBERMANN: Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC and "The Huffington Post"

another great day of our tax dollars in action here. Great thanks to


O'DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The newest gunk to float up in the Gulf, this is Dick

Cheney's Katrina. Less a tradition as old as time itself here, another

bear in a tree.


OLBERMANN: While the right wing tries to pin the B.P. disaster

on the current administration, it turns out this was actually Dick

Cheney's Katrina.

First, the tweets of the day. The bronze, from my friend Dan

Dickerson, play-by-play man f the Detroit Tigers: "On a dark, cloudy,

rainy day, this appeared moments after the news that Ernie Harwell had

passed away." Ernie Harwell's rainbow over Target Field in Minnesota -

just like we had one at Tim Russert's memorial service as it ended in

Washington two springs ago.

Our runner up from LadyAnachronism: "Here's where to help

Nashville flood victims, please RT," and there it is The Tweet

includes the link to the website Hands On Nashville, HON, where you can

either donate or find out where to volunteer., real easy, If you help - if you can help, help is what they need.

Finally, relating to last night's Tworst person of the world, the

Tweet of the day, MKing4Real, "I'll bet we don't see Massey CEO

Blankenship on that TV show 'Undercover Boss.'

Oh, that would not end happily. How about just seeing him on

"Cops?" Let's play Oddball.

We begin in Oxnard, California. Remember the Thurber fable of the

bear who drank too much? See what the bears in the back room will have.

Might be him. After wandering his way into town, this 200 pound fellow

caught the eye of local law enforcement. So, it did what any black bear

would do. It found nearest cemetery and climbed up a tree.

I can see where this is going. Firefighters eventually got the

bear down with the aid of tranquilizer darts and a harness. The bear

was then taken to a nearby forest to reunite with his other bear family

members. He thought he'd had a good story to tell them, until he was

reminded of his brother's last trip to the circus, and that bear was OK.

Finally, a television premiere, you'll be seeing a few new promos

for this news Hour on MSNBC starting tonight. Clearly, they could not

get a new actor or somebody.

We're living in the television age in which I don't have a long

period of time to grab people's attention, so it's got to be a good TV

show. Visually, it is designed to be very, very attractive, in that

sense, other than obviously me. We assume that you're bringing some

knowledge to the show. We assume that you're bringing some interest in

the topic to the show. And our job is to add to your knowledge and add

to your perspective on what you may already know about it factually.

"Countdown" with Keith Olbermann, weeknights at 8:00 on MSNBC.

Can do I that again?

To the gulf and Cheney's Katrina, next.


OLBERMANN: The effort to label the Gulf oil spill Obama's Katrina

appears to have sputtered, even though, as we will explain, Mr. Obama's

administration certainly did allow BP to bypass environmental

requirements. In our third story tonight, there is a growing pool of

evidence, saying nothing of the oil, suggesting a far more apt name for

this spill, Cheney's Katrina.

First, President Obama's part. It was his Interior Department,

under Secretary Ken Salazar, reports "the Washington Post" today, that

last year exempted BP from doing a detailed analysis of the potential

environmental impact of drilling at the Deepwater Horizon sight. The

analysis would have required BP to identify measures for reducing its

environmental impact.

As recently as April 9th, BP was lobbying to expand its exceptions.

The exception was granted based on three reviews of the area done by

Interior's Materials Management Service, MMS, that down played the

prospect of a spill.

So why Cheney's Katrina? His former company, Halliburton, led by

his former protege, CEO David Lesar did the cementing to seal the

deepwater well, a process families of the dead now claim led to the

fatal blow-out. Halliburton confirming it finished cementing only 20

hours before the damn thing blew. Just like Halliburton had just

finished cementing this Australian well when it blew on August 21st of

last year, causing what is now called the Monera (ph) spill. A

government inquiry still underway there, but zeroing in on the cementing


Three years after the American MMS found that 18 of the 39 offshore

blow-outs since 1996 have been caused by bad cementing, a 20-year

Halliburton cementer, who admitted screwing up in the Monera spill,

testified this March about his Halliburton training. Quote, "have you

been taught in, training or otherwise become aware that problems with

cementing are the number one cause of blowouts?"

His answer? "No, I wasn't aware of that."

Almost immediately after taking office, Vice President Cheney began

meeting with more than 100 oil executives, compiling a wish list of

things they wanted. One thing the industry did not want was mandatory

acoustic switches, which can shut wells remotely when blowout preventers

fail. The administration new preventers fail because the MMS found

hundreds of incidents in which they did, but it reversed a Clinton era

decision requiring the essential acoustic backups, calling them too

costly, and those faulty blowout preventers a fail safe. And the MMS

report downplaying the odds of a deepwater spill, it was done back in

2007, signed off on by then director Randal Luthi, a Wyoming Republican,

who goes back almost 30 years with Dick Cheney, to 1982 when he was an

intern for Dick Cheney.

Let's turn now to Kieran Suckling, the executive director of the

non-profit environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity.

Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.


having me on.

OLBERMANN: Let's start with the role of the secretary of interior

in the current administration, Ken Salazar. How would an environmental

impact statement made any difference to this Gulf spill?

SUCKLING: Well, if the Department of Interior had done a full

environmental impact statement, as it's required to do by law, the first

thing it would have done was thrown out BP's drilling plan and sent it

back to the drawing board. The plan is surreal, it is so lacking in

details regarding safety and impacts on the environment.

Secondly, the Department of Interior would have had to have

developed an environmentally preferred alternative. And lastly, it

quite likely would have ended this whole process by choosing the no-

action alternative, which is required in every EIS, meaning, it would

have just said we're not going to allow BP to drill. It's not safe

enough. The agency hasn't developed a rational plan.

OLBERMANN: Doesn't the buck stop with the president, to use the

oldest of the cliches? Anything that the secretary of Interior brings

to the table, that is the president's choice, is it not?

SUCKLING: Partially, yeah. I do think that Obama's first mistake

was in picking Ken Salazar for secretary of Interior. I mean, Salazar

has a deep, deep connection to the offshore oil drilling industry. And

since coming in as secretary of Interior, he has done everything

possible to push for more expansive offshore drilling.

So yeah, he has culpability there. But I'll tell you what, the

president is certainly not responsible for reviewing drilling plans in

the Gulf. He is not responsible for determining whether the laws are

followed down there. That is Ken Salazar's job, as secretary of


In fact, when Ken Salazar came into office, it was right after the

drugs and sex with oil execs scandal. He said his first pledge, this is

a corrupt agency, the Mineral Management Service, I'm going to reform

it. He pledged that on day one and didn't do it. In fact, he made

things much worst in terms of environmental compliance. I think the

buck very much stops with Ken Salazar.

OLBERMANN: In your eyes, who owns this more? We sing that song

oh, this is Obama's Katrina or this is Cheney's Katrina. Is one or the

other closer to being the truth and ultimately does it matter?

SUCKLING: Well, I do think it matters, because the answer to that

question leads you to what is the solution. Obviously, they both do. I

mean, I think Cheney's left a legacy of corrupt officials throughout

this agency has made the agency incapable of acting properly, incapable

of being independent. So that's there.

But you know what? Cheney's not going to change. He's old news.

Obama can. And I think if we recognize that Obama erred in putting

Salazar in charge of this critical agency, a man with deep, deep ties to

the oil industry. And secondly he erred in listening to Salazar and

opening up the Atlantic Coast, the eastern Gulf Coast of Mexico, and the

Arctic in Alaska to new offshore oil drilling. That was a mistake. The

good news is the president can reverse course. We're early in that

process. He can do that. He can reform the Mineral Management Service.

And frankly, he can ask Ken Salazar to step down in the wake of this

crisis. So there's a lot of opportunities for the president to fix

what's going on out there.

OLBERMANN: Kieran Suckling with the Center for Biological

Diversity, great thanks for your perspective and your time tonight.

SUCKLING: Thanks for having me on.

OLBERMANN: Flash point in Phoenix this evening, the basketball

team celebrating Hispanic heritage night on report an illegal day.

Reverend Al Sharpton is there. He will join us from the protest site.

No, it's not another "Kids in the Hall" sketch from 1994. This is

a would-be Republican congressman's new ad. Tea Time approaches.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Jim Demint and

the Tea Party movement sputtering. Not one victory in yesterday's state



OLBERMANN: Limbaugh says guess what? Faisal Shahzad is a

registered Democrat. Guess what? He's not. Worsts next.

First, no, that isn't your nightly water coming to a boil. It's

our nightly check-up on the something for nothing crowd. It's Tea Time.

Peg Donemyer (ph) is the Tea Party candidate for the 8th district in

Florida, Alan Grayson's seat. But I'm thinking not for long. An ex-

airline pilot and Navy veteran named Dan Finnelly (ph) is trying for the

Republican nomination, and he has just cut to the chase. His ads

advocate racial profiling at airports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does this look like a terrorist or this? It's

time to stop this political correctness and the invasion of our privacy.

Let's face it. If the good-looking ripped guy without much hair was

flying airplanes into the Twin Towers, I'd have no problem being pulled

out of line at the airport.


OLBERMANN: Wait. Who's the good-looking ripped guy? Oh, ripped

as if, you know, he sounds completely ripped, get him away from open

flames? He went on to explain, "if the people that were doing this kind

of thing looked like me, even though I'm not the guy doing the terrorist

thing, I would want to be examined more closely."

Mr. Finnelly apparently did not think this one through. By his

logic, any time a body turns up in a river or landfill in the New York

Metropolitan area, Mr. Finnelly would have the police interrogate

everyone like himself of Italian heritage. Oh, that's right, they used

to do that a century ago, when the Italians were the people who were

assumed by the prejudice of that time to be dark skinned murders, to use

the quote. Fortunately, in another commercial, Mr. Finnelley has

offered us a little comic relief from his racist madness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an airplane. And this is a terrorist.

Send me to Washington and get rid of that bum Alan Grayson, and I'll

make sure guys like this get nowhere near things like this.


OLBERMANN: Um, Dan, don't you think they probably stopped that

dude because he's wearing that duct tape over his mouth? And please,

right wingers, Finnelley, Glenn Beck, anybody else out there, stop

channeling Dave Foley.


DAVE FOLEY, "KIDS IN THE HALL": Don't think I'm unaware of the

fact that Kevin McDonald, or should I say Ivan Chovski is one of you.


FOLEY: Crazy like a fanatic fox, I mean.


OLBERMANN: Damn, I hope Foley's getting residuals.


OLBERMANN: Arizona's pro basketball team strikes back. The

Phoenix Suns wearing their Los Suns uniforms tonight on Cinco de Mayo,

which is also report an illegal day in America's hate land. That's

next, but first reminding you the Tworsts persons begin minutes hence.

Here are tonight's Worst Persons in the World.

The bronze shared by Senators Pat Robert of Kansas and Jon Kyl of

Arizona, denying the GOP ever used the campaign catch phrase, drill,

baby, drill. "I don't know about the slogan," said Senator Roberts.

"The slogan was, what, two, three years ago. Basically we had a lot of

opposition to it anyway."

"That was not a Senate Republican phrase," said Senator Kyl. "I

think there was a candidate that used that. I think our phrase, drill

here, drill now, meaning here in the United States and as quickly as oil

and gas leases are going."

Funny, wasn't that a U.S. senator who told a crowd chanting drill,

baby, drill, quote, "you're right, pal. Drill, baby, drill."

And when another U.S. senator tried to use the less obnoxious

version in a debate, isn't that bendy straw Sarah who tut-tutted him?




OLBERMANN: Senator Kyl, Senator Roberts, either the Republican

chant was drill baby drill or McCain and Palin weren't Republicans.

Your choice.

Silver tonight, Rupert. On a conference call with industry

analysts, he was asked about his defense of Lonesome Roads Beck,

particularly when Murdoch claimed President Obama had said something

racist. An analyst asked about the exodus of advertisers and viewers

from Beck's show since he called the president a racist with a deep

seeded hatred of white people. The analyst asked how long Fixed News

would subsidize Beck's show and keep it, quote, "filled with house ads."

Rupert didn't like that. "I'm not subsidizing the show at all,"

Murdoch bristled. "It's doing a terrific kickoff," shiver me timbers.

"The whole evening schedule, it has plenty of advertising." You be

keeping a civil tongue in your head when you're talking to the good

captain. Arr.

Nearly a third of Beck's audience has abandoned him since January

of this year. Fox whispered explanation is that's because of daylight

savings time. Rupert, that's the best you can make up?

But our winner, comedian Rush Limbaugh. Once again, open mouth,

utter a critical conclusion, then check to see if there's any factual

basis to it whatsoever. "Guess what? Faisal Shahzad is a registered

Democrat. I wonder if this SUV had an Obama sticker on it."

The Offices of the Registrars for Shahzad's two hometowns,

Bridgeport and Shelton, Connecticut, confirmed with a search that took

moments that he was not a registered voter, let alone registered with

any party. Limbaugh just made it up. So while it looks like he's a

terrorist, we know Rush Limbaugh is a fraud, and a fake, and a liar,

quak, charlatan, opportunist, racist, buffoon, blowhard, sham,

hypocrite, shyster, wind bag, demagogue, propagandist, reactionary, for-

flusher, phony and fanzanoon (ph), and mountebank (ph). And worst of

all, he's just Rush Limbaugh, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: The basketball playoff schedule says it is Phoenix

versus San Antonio tonight at the US Airways Arena in Phoenix. In fact,

it is Los Suns versus report an illegal day. In our number one story,

the Phoenix Suns become Los Suns to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in

controversy riddled Arizona, while anti-SB 1070 protesters go on, and

others protest the protest. Reverend Al Sharpton joins us from there in

a moment.

The Phoenix Suns have worn these Los Suns jerseys twice before, but

never before in protest. The Sun's team's owner, Robert Sarver, saying

the shirt change was to, quote, "honor our Latino community and the

diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation."

Suns players voted unanimously in favor of the uniform switch.

Steve Nash, Arizona resident, Canadian citizen, telling reporters

yesterday, "I think the law is very misguided."

At the White House, the president observed Cinco de Mayo with a

Rose Garden address, once again calling for comprehensive immigration

reform and acknowledging the basketball game tonight.



you would rather be watching tonight's game. The Spurs against Los Suns

from Phoenix.


OLBERMANN: A JT Ready sees Cinco de Mayo a little differently.

His neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement, has been handing

out in Phoenix flyers calling for residents to blow the whistle on

illegal residents and make May 5th report an illegal day. Ready says

his group's numbers are swelling, thanks to SB 1070, the show us your

papers law, introduced by Senator Russell Pearse.

This photo, taken at an anti-immigration rally in June 2007, from

the feathered bastard blog on the Phoenix "New Times" website. Yes,

that's Mr. Ready on one side and Mr. Pearse on the other.

The previous year, 2006, Senator Pearse was caught sending a white

separatist e-mail to his supporters and was forced to apologize.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who is president of the National Action

Network, joins us tonight from Phoenix. He has just come from the

protest in front of the arena where Los Suns are playing tonight.

Reverend Sharpton, thanks for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: Do people in Arizona realize just who has been writing

and introducing these laws, the backgrounds of these guys?

SHARPTON: We're certainly saying that to them loud and clear. And

I think that you've done America and Arizona a favor by exposing it and

showing the photos. It's certainly not disputed now, when you have this

guy embracing people like this, when you can talk about what he sent out

to his constituents that he's had to apologize for. He's the author of

this legislation that clearly leads to racial profiling, which is why,

on this day, Cinco de Mayo, many of us are here from around the country

to march into the state capitol, to a state vigil the night, as we leave

the arena, saluting the Suns for standing up and doing what they've done

with the jerseys tonight.

OLBERMANN: You called on President Obama to intervene and today,

he went further than he had gone before. He called for work on

immigration reform to start this year. Is that a good enough first

step? What are you expecting from him?

SHARPTON: I think that's a good first step. And I think that what

people want is to see, first of all, the law abided by. That is that

the federal government sets immigration policy. Immigration policy

cannot become states' rights. And what Arizona's trying to do is set

immigration policy, set it in a way that would sanitize and make racial

profiling law. And then other states would follow likewise.

I think what the president said today was putting that on notice,

raising it backwards should be, and that is in the hands of the federal

government and we hope that moves forward.

OLBERMANN: Sports is usually tangential to important things in

society. But, occasionally, it is the quickest way to actually get to

the heart of the matter. Do you think that applies here? Because

pressure on and from the National Football League was the last straw, in

many respects, in erasing Arizona's resistance to Martin Luther King day

20-odd years ago. Could basketball or football or the baseball All-Star

game next year actually be a key in this?

SHARPTON: It could be very key. In fact, that's why tonight when

we go back to march past the arena, to the state capitol, some of us

will be wearing the jerseys that the Suns are wearing tonight inside the

arena. We will be calling on the Commissioner Selig to say that the

All-Star game from the Major League Baseball cannot come to Phoenix if

this law stands. In the next rally, we will have at Major League

Baseball headquarters.

We think sports can play a critical role here, particularly when

many of the players across the board themselves would be and could be

profiled if they come to this state, if this law takes effect.

OLBERMANN: The polling in Arizona - although there were two city

councils that now approved lawsuits against the state, against SB 1070.

The polling statewide says the law is popular. Contrast that with what

you saw at the Los Suns protest that you just came from?

SHARPTON: I think when you look at the polling, then when you look

at the fact that the numbers are people by the hundreds are out saying

it's wrong. You have these athletes standing up. Then you have small

groups like the Nazi group that you showed, that say the numbers are

swelling. And the swelling is very few people, I think that you're

seeing a lot of people that are being given misinformation, that don't

understand this law is un-American. It undermines the Constitution.

And I think that's why activists have to stay out here and make sure

that we correct the public's misperception, that this is about opening

the borders.

This is not about opening the borders, this is about protecting

American citizens, legal American citizens, from being profiled and

treated differently from other American citizens.

OLBERMANN: Perfectly said. The Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you

for your time.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this, the 2,561st day since the

previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith

Olbermann, good night and good luck.

And now to discuss the downcast long face of Senator Jim Demint

after the Tea Party pulled an 0-fer in the various state primaries

yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, back from her sojourns, here is Rachel


Good evening, Rachel.