Wednesday, August 24, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
video 'podcast'

ShowPlug1: Perry begins to extend GOP lead; Romney and POTUS job plan releases overlap. w/ Contributor @Markos Moulitsas

ShowPlug2: Why POTUS ignores Wisconsin-Ohio model? Cut-From-The-Top Dems running 10 pts ahead of others; w/John Nichols of @TheNation

ShowPlug3: NYC's private CIA; how NYPD evaded law to infiltrate non-violent law-abiding Arab organizations on terror pretexts

ShowPlug4: AP's man who broke the story @MattAppuzo joins me. AG Holder tells 9/11 families he'll investigate alleged Murdoch phone-hacking

ShowPlug5: Diane Horning, who lost her son in the World Trade Center, attended the meeting with Holder, will join us from DC

ShowPlug6: 12 million at risk in Somalia, all of East Africa. @OxfamAmerica ambassador, actress @KristinDavis joins me, w/Pres. Offenheiser

ShowPlugLast: + Worsts: he's running to be the Texas Congressman animals. Roger Williams' incredible commercial.

watch whole playlist

#5 'Mojo Missing', Markos Moulitsas

#5 'Get With The Program', John Nichols

#4 'N.Y.C.I.A.', Matt Appuzo
YouTube, (excerpt)

# Time Marches On!

#3 '9/11 Phone Hacking?', Diane Horning
YouTube, (excerpt)

#2 Worst Persons: Michelle Malkin FOX News, Sen. John McCain, Roger Williams

#1 'Famine in East Africa', Kristin Davis, Raymond Offenheiser
YouTube, (excerpt)

printable PDF transcript

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

Perry stretches out his lead 12 points over Romney, nearly tripling Bachmann.

The Mittster and the president both try to reclaim the mojo with new jobs plans.

Once again, is the president missing the obvious?

The nation cries out for debt to be covered by more taxes collected from more jobs created via the rich and the corporations.

And in state campaigns, Democrats running on that are doing ten points better than the ones who aren't.

John Nichols on the campaign dish in Wisconsin.

Markos Moulitsas on whether the President will learn anything from it.

New York City's miniature CIA.

The staggering report that, for nearly ten years, the NYPD has illegally infiltrated law-abiding organizations, with officers nicknamed "rakers" and "trolls," just because those organizations had Arab members or contacts.


MATT APUZZO: In a lot of ways, what the NYPD was doing, having CIA officers oversee their collection, kind of blurred the line between domestic and foreign intelligence.

OLBERMANN: Murdoch's hackers and the 9/11 families.

Attorney General Holder today meets with them to discuss whether Rupert's men broke into their phones.

Diane Horning, whose son died 9 years and 347 days ago, comes from that meeting to join us.

Somalia, when a public figure gets involved in a starvation crisis that threatens 12 million people in East Africa.


KRISTIN DAVIS: Already over tens of thousands have died, half of them children under the age of five.

OLBERMANN: Actress Kristin Davis joins us to tell you what you can do.

And the Texan who wants to be Congressman of the Farm Animals.


ROGER WILLIAMS: You're not a victim, you're a patriot, you're an opportunist, let's take advantage of it, okay?

They don't listen to me.

You know, I have been talking to these guys forever and they still do not listen.

OLBERMANN: Um, he's talking to farm animals.


WILLIAMS: These donkeys don't live in the United States of France.

They live in the United States of America.

OLBERMANN: Actually, they live in the United States of who the hell is this moron talking to us?

All that and more now on "Countdown."

MAN: Hello, I'm Mr. Ed.

OLBERMANN: Good Evening from New York.

This is Wednesday, August 24th, 440 days until the 2012 presidential election, which may be good news for President Obama, who might need all the time he can get to try to build and hold a lead against whichever contender emerges from the Republican field.

It'd be bad news for Mitt Romney, who's got a lot less time now to regain his lead from Rick Perry, if he hopes to be the next President of the United States.

The fifth story on the "Countdown," the Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes a mojo as "a magic charm or power."

Mitt Romney's may have expired back when he was shuttering companies for Bain Capitol.

The president had it in abundance when he ran in 2008.

Now how does he get it back?

Maybe through the jobs plan, it turns out he will unveil after Labor Day.

Mr. Obama worked on it today, meeting with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and American Express CEO Ken Chenault, and planning some stimulus measures which are sure to be DOA once they reach the GOP House.

While he was going over those economic numbers, the President's political team may have been thinking of these, a Public Policy Poll showing him tied at 45% all with Mitt Romney in terms of American viewers for a second straight month.

The poll also shows Mr. Obama leading the Texas Governor Rick Perry by six points, with other GOP contenders lagging behind.

That, though, just about the only bad news for Perry today because a Gallup poll shows him leading the GOP race with 29 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, up from 18 percent last month, with Romney dropping to 17 percent from 23 percent, Ron Paul up to 13 percent from 10 percent, reversing Michele Bachmann drop, which went from 13 percent to 10 percent.

Perry also did well in a Public Policy Polling tally of usual GOP primary voters, he leads with 27 percent, 10 percent better than Romney, 14 percent better than Palin, 17 percent over Bachmann, 21 percent over Ron Paul.

And it is at this point that we offer advice for would-be presidents by one who is the brother and son of presidents, Jeb Bush, with a comment that would seem to exclude every potential Republican nominee, except none of the above.


JEB BUSH: It's good to be critical of the president.

I think the President means well, but his policies have failed.

To point that out, nothing wrong with that, that's politics.

But just to stop there and say, "I'm going to win, because I'm against what's going on," is not enough.

OLBERMANN: Not enough for Mitt Romney.

Having criticized the President for saying he'll release a jobs plan after Labor Day, Romney now says he'll release a jobs plan after Labor Day -- the day after Labor Day.

Romney will make his speech from Nevada, where unemployment is nearly 13 percent.

As for Bachmann, her spokeswoman says she's going to release a health plan in the coming weeks, something to replace the "Obamacare" against which she railed.

I'm guessing plenty of migraine medication and pray-away spray.

While on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Budget Office warned of more tough times ahead, no matter what the alternatives might be.

Unemployment may not drop below 8 percent until 2014, and this year's budget deficit is estimated at $1.3 trillion, down from last year, but still the third largest in the past 65 years.

That bad news triggered another angry screed from Speaker John of Orange, who demanded in a statement on his website that the President, "abandon his reliance on short-term fixes and 'stimulus' spending gimmicks."

Boehner may not have noticed that the stock market has been climbing the past three days in part thanks to traders betting that Federal Reserve Chair Bernanke may introduce some stimulus measures of his own when he speaks about the economy on Friday.

The markets, responding well to even the rumor of a stimulus package for the economy.

And to think it was only ten days ago when Rick Perry suggested that stimulus from the Fed might be treason.

Doesn't Governor Perry know the markets are always right?

For more on this, I'm joined by Markos Moulitsas, "Countdown" contributor, founder and publisher of the website "Daily Kos".

Good to see you, sir.

MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good to see you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Uh, President Obama is working on his jobs plan with the CEOs of General Electric and American Express.

Robert Reich and Paul Krugman unavailable?

Is that why those choices were made?

MOULITSAS: Yeah, you know, this White House clearly has a problem given the state of the economy, and one of the problems to me I think we're seeing, and we're seeing at the grassroots level, left and right with the Tea Party and liberals, is that people really are distrustful of corporate America.

They see corporate America as a cause of the problems we are seeing, and so to see Obama cozy up with those corporate leaders once again, I don't think sends the best optics, the best message to people who are desperate for a government that actually starts countering the nefarious influence of corporations in our government, in our politics, and in our economy.

OLBERMANN: I'm going to get to John Nichols' point about this with John, obviously in a moment, about what we are seeing from the results of Wisconsin and the events in Ohio, where people, Democrats actually ran on, you know, hit the corporations for the money that the country needs since they have more of it than any people do, and hit the rich people because they have more of it than other people do.

Where -- how far do you think the President is from understanding that that is the message that might get him re-elected next year when he is bringing in those chairmen we referred to earlier, those CEOs?

MOULITSAS: Yeah, unfortunately, I am not seeing that he's getting any closer to getting that message.

You see that just in his economic team and his refusal to essentially overhaul a team that has failed in its job to get the economy going the last three years.

Now, it's true Republicans have been obstructionists, and they've stood in the way, and it makes it very difficult for the White House to do what it needs to do.

Boehner today laughably said that Democrats control the government in Washington, D.C.

They don't because Obama's policies can't fail because we actually have not seen Obama policies implemented without them being either watered down or completely obstructed by Republicans.

So the fact is, there are things that the administration may or may not have been able to do, but, rhetorically, it keeps cozying up to corporate interests, keeps cozying up to Wall Street when people are really fed up.

And it actually gives a lot of fuel to this Tea Party crowd.

They see Obama cozying up to these corporations, and they're no big friends of GE and American Express and the credit card companies and Wall Street, I mean, they're just as anti-corporatist, populist as a lot of progressives are.

And this just fuels their side in the way, and it demoralizes our side in a way that is counterproductive to the President's re-election chances.

OLBERMANN: You mentioned Boehner, his response to those CBO numbers, is it evident that the GOP is getting ready to double-down again, no revenues, only tax cuts and "our way or no way at all"?

MOULITSAS: That's the only way they know, I don't think there has been anything else to the Republican message in a long time, aside from divisive social issues.

So, their message is no tax increases, no – actually, it's not even that any more because right now there's a Democratic proposal to extend the tax holiday on employment taxes on the middle class, and Republicans are threatening to block that unless it is tied down to some kind of tax cut for rich people.

So it's not even a no tax pledge anymore.

Now it's no tax for rich people, everybody else be damned.

OLBERMANN: One last point here, Rick Perry's strong numbers and obviously he's stretched that out.

It's conceivable that Bachmann is over with, Palin may already be over with.

Did he get a big bump because he's a newbie and a kind of gunslinger quality that the low minds and, you know, amply-padded crania of the far right like or is it a weak field?

How do you explain it?

MOULITSAS: I wouldn't put too much stock in these numbers.

He is getting a newbie bump.

Remember, back in April, Donald Trump actually led the Republican field at one point.

So these quick bounces, I mean, it may be lasting, we'll wait and see, right?

But it doesn't mean -- we can't make any conclusive determination right now.

And remember, too, that the nomination isn't the national primary.

Rick Perry has to go through Iowa, where Michele Bachmann is very well organized.

He has to go through New Hampshire, which is very anti-Southern, Texan governors, as George Bush found out in 2000.

OLBERMANN: I miss Donald Trump.

Markos Moulitsas, the "Countdown" contributor, "Daily Kos" founder and publisher.

As always, great, thanks.

MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: The problem here for the President might be that he can't see the proverbial forest.

It runs through Ohio and Wisconsin, a clear path has been hewn through that wood.

It's been paved.

There are lights, it has rest stops and a GPS is provided to you at each on-ramp.

John Nichols of "The Nation" reporting that the protests sparked by the Republican leaders of those states and their anti-labor, anti-public services agendas have helped reverse the Democrat slide in rural districts, which supported the GOP as recently as last year.

Wisconsin voters cut the GOP margin in the state senate to one in the recall elections, giving Democrats confidence they can win on a ticket that includes support for labor rights and public services and education and taxes for people who can afford them.

A turn from the White House that seems all too willing to accommodate the GOP agenda towards defending Democratic values and demanding to know which side are you on.

The Washington Correspondent of "The Nation," John Nichols, joins me now for more on this observation he has made.

Good evening, John.

JOHN NICHOLS: Good evening, Keith.

It's good to be with you.

OLBERMANN: It is our pleasure as well.

Political campaigns are ephemeral.

You can't put numbers on ideas and what they might do to a campaign, except in this case, you kind of can.

Can't you?

There is an actual calculation of how much Democrats who've been running on the, you know, tax the people with the money thing do, than those who don't run on it.

NICHOLS: That's absolutely right, Keith.

In fact, there have been a number of special elections and recall elections across the country for state legislative seats.

Now most of our national media doesn't pay any attention to the states.

They're very Washington-centric, so, this is flown under radar.

Maybe even under Barack Obama's radar, but he should notice that in these battleground states, places like Wisconsin, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, where there have been special elections and the Wisconsin recall elections, Democrats who have run on a very clear stand with the workers, defend public education, defend public services, and tax the wealthy and tax big corporations platform, very simple, very basic, Franklin Roosevelt message, have been running as much as, in some cases, as much as 20 percent ahead of Democrats in the exact same districts in 2010, and on average nationally at least 9 percent better.

So it's a very clear shift where these issues are put into play.

OLBERMANN: Is anybody listening to that?

Are there other local Democrats or any of the Senate or House Umbrella Committees studying these results the way that you did?

NICHOLS: I would hope that they will read the piece that I have written for "The Nation" on it.

Sometimes they actually do look at such things.

But I will tell you this, I'm seeing it in Congressional candidates.


NICHOLS: And this is a very interesting thing.

In some of these states, like Wisconsin, the guy who is running against Paul Ryan has taken up these issues and made them central to his campaign.

And I'd also note that in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren appears to be readying a U.S. Senate campaign, she has reached out to many of the same unions, many of the same progressive groups that have been pushing this message.

So I think it's being heard at an individual level, but I really fear, Keith, that it has not begun to crack the White House.

When the President went out on his so-called rural tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, conveniently avoiding Wisconsin, he talked about very soft stances, rural development, which is good, some tax policy, things like that.

But he never got into these core, heart-and-soul issues of, will a rural school be closed because of cuts by Republican politicians?

OLBERMANN: Let's give Mr. Ryan's opponent a little national plug.

Give me his name again.


NICHOLS: Zerban.

OLBERMANN: Rob Zerban, very good.

Thank you.


OLBERMANN: There has to be a catch in this, though.

It seems way too easy, and there must be some rationale for why people, perhaps in the president's campaign, nascent campaign here, have ignored this, apparently.

Is there a downside even?

Is there a reason or an excuse even?

NICHOLS: Keith, I've got bad news for you.

There are some hedge fund managers on Wall Street who might not be big donors to such a campaign.

And I fear that the president's campaign, and to at least to some extent, the Democratic Congressional campaigns are very focused, as they usually are at this point in a cycle, on fundraising.

And sometimes, the call of fundraising overwhelms the call of smart politics.

OLBERMANN: Well, I'd get the president on the phone to respond, but he is on the phone with the chairman of the -- which one was it?

Not the GE guy.


OLBERMANN: No, there's another one, too.

Uh, American Express.

Don't leave home without it, John.

John Nichols of "The Nation" at Madison, Wisconsin, as ever.

Thank you kindly, sir.

NICHOLS: It's great to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: New York City police infiltrating peaceful, non-criminal organizations to check for terrorism because the organizations were connected, in most part, to countries that had terrorists in them.

Those tend to be Arabic countries.

The reporter who broke the story of the New York home version of the CIA joins me.

That's next.

This is "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: The report tonight that under this man's tenure as its police commissioner New York City has gone above, below and around the law to infiltrate peaceful, non-criminal, non-suspicious organizations and search for terrorism with the cooperation of the CIA, merely because those organizations were connected to the Arab world.

The same day as the attorney general meets with 9/11 families to try to determine if their phones were hacked by men working for Rupert Murdoch.

Oxfam and Somalia.

Actress Kristin Davis joins me to discuss her trip there and mind-boggling conditions she found.

And a Texas Congressional candidate, a man, out standing in his field, explaining his platform to farm animals.

Oh, boy.

"Worsts" ahead on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: For nearly a decade, the CIA and the New York City Police Department have teamed up to evade the laws and infiltrate groups, mostly Arab-American, nearly all law-abiding on the pretext of counterterrorism necessity.

That's the result of a startling investigation conducted by and reported today by "The Associated Press."

In the fourth story on the "Countdown," a mini-CIA operating inside the NYPD and civil liberties and laws against racial or religious profiling

Using community mapping techniques, police with specific ethnic backgrounds known as "rakers" monitor bookstores, bars, cafes, Pakistani-American officers would infiltrate Pakistani neighborhoods.

Arab officers would focus on Arab neighborhoods.

Within the department these officers became known as "The Demographic Unit."

Police also pressured locals to become informants, or "mosque crawlers," with directives to monitor religious sermons.

Cab drivers and food cartvendors were routinely spied upon, this under the direction of the CIA which is forbidden by law to spy domestically, even though here it would have been doing exactly that. part of the overall effort, the NYPD also runs intelligent division offices in eight countries outside the U.S., gathering information on terrorism in an effort to get ahead of any threat to New York.

A spokesman for the NYPD told "The Associated Press" that police only follow leads and do not actively spy on citizens, that there are no rakers, there are no crawlers.

There are no expressions of remorse, the quote, "The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there's not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists. And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard."

New York citizens are not the only ones who have been kept in the dark about this.

The city council which finances the city's police force and the federal government which contributes millions of taxpayer dollars to the department each year is not told what's going on.

The 2010 budget for the intelligent unit said to be $62 million.

Joining me now, Matt Apuzzo, the reporter from "The Associated Press" who, with his colleague Adam Goldman, exposed this program.

Thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.

MATT APUZZO: Hey, thanks a lot for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: It isn't germane to the legality?

But, do you know?

Did they find anything?


I mean, you know, I don't know that it's up for a great bit of discussion.


APUZZO: That the NYPD's intelligence division has played a crucial role in keeping the city safe in presenting and preventing potential plots.

I mean, they were instrumental in heading off the Herald Square subway case, head of the Republican National Convention, and they and played a pretty crucial role their undercover operations, in fact, played a pretty crucial in arresting two -- two men who were on their way to Somalia to train with Al-Shabaab.

Both, and I mean both cases led to convictions or guilty pleas.

So, I mean, that part of it isn't really up for debate, that they have -- they are doing work that protects the city.

OLBERMANN: Do you know, were you able to find out, was there any threshold before an infiltration was planned?

I mean, was there any possible cause necessary, let alone probable cause?

APUZZO: Well, I think it -- I think it was-- it was a moving target, and I think it maybe waxed and waned over the years.

You know, right when -- after -- after the 9/11 attacks when the CIA first sent their -- their officer up to the NYPD to help oversee and direct and kind of mentor the NYPD in this intelligence gathering.

I mean, it was kind of scatter-shot.

In one instance they said to the Taxicab Commission, "Just give us the list of all of the Pakistani cab drivers.

So, so we can look for people who maybe got their badges fraudulently.

See if we can maybe leverage that into -- into an informant situation."


APUZZO: So, you know, in another instance, they -- they just said, "Go out into the Pakistani neighborhoods and just see -- use anything you can to make a traffic stop.

If you run a red light, you've got a busted taillight, whatever and then use that to say are there warrants outstanding -- is there anything we can do to leverage that into an informant situation?"

I think the NYPD moved -- moved past that in a lot of ways, as they created, you know, what was known as the Demographics Unit and as the informant program kind of matured inside the NYPD.

OLBERMANN: Is this, having studied this as carefully as you guys did in this remarkable story today, is it your conclusion that the CIA end of this constituted central intelligence, domestic spying by proxy in effect?

APUZZO: It's a fascinating issue, I mean, without question.

So, the CIA is not allowed to spy domestically.

And in this instance, the -- somebody on detail from the CIA to New York while on CIA payroll, who had an office at the CIA station and an office at the NYPD, was overseeing and directing and mentoring the Collection -- and that collection, at times, did get pass backchannel to the CIA.

But, I mean, I don't know that there is -- I think the way we said it was, the wall certainly -- the wall between domestic and foreign intelligence certainly became more porous.

The bright line certainly got a little blurrier.

I mean, I am no lawyer.

We know what we know, as they say.

But -- but it certainly did muddy the waters a little bit.

OLBERMANN: Do we have any evidence that they ever infiltrated groups that weren't, say, Pakistani groups, Arab groups?

Were there any Irish-American groups or Italian-American groups or German-American groups infiltrated?

APUZZO: Not that we know of, but the vast majority of the people we interviewed and talked to us about these programs -- including those who are directly involved in the programs -- they talked to us because they said, "Look, this is what -- this is what we need to be doing, and, we are keeping the city safe and we have a mandate for that."

And when I raised that question with them, almost to a person, they said, "Look if we had -- if 9/11 was committed by the IRA, you bet we would be in Irish neighborhoods, you bet we would be in Catholic churches."

And so I think there is a -- I think there is a real feeling at the NYPD that, look, New York is different.

We had 9/11.

And the CIA as well.

They said, "It should be no surprise we are having a more in-depth relationship with the NYPD post-9/11 than we were before hand."

OLBERMANN: Well, Matt Apuzzo of "The Associated Press" who broke this story joining us from Washington.

Again, great reporting and great thanks for some of your time on a busy day for you.

APUZZO: Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: Thank you.

The Attorney General of the United States meeting with 9/11 families 18 days before the 10th anniversary to discuss whether or not their phones were hacked by Rupert Murdoch's news organization.

A member of those families in that meeting today joins me ahead on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: The Attorney General meets with 9/11 families to discuss whether Rupert Murdoch's people hacked their phones.

First, the sanity break, and on this day in 1980, a young network radio sportscaster, late for his shift, left Shea Stadium in New York, on a dead run desperately trying to catch the last subway train scheduled for the next half hour.

So happy was he to catch it, that he leapt on board, forgetting he was no longer 5' 10" or so, and had in fact grown to nearly 6' 4".

The sportscaster sustained a mild concussion, severe inner ear damage, and loss of depth perception while in motion.

Also, "I was lying on the floor of the number 7 train and my thought, first one was, I'm bleeding and I haven't got anything to clean it up with."

"Time marches on"!

We begin on the Internet, "Down goes Frazier!"President Obama recently met with the chief executives of American Express and General Electric. But as Keith discusses with Markos Moulitsas, "Countdown" Contributor and founder and publisher of the website "Daily Kos," cozying up to corporate America may send the wrong message.

The crook apparently thought he was going to get a free TV, but the TV had other ideas.

Not sure how the almost-thief was able to climb up to be able grab this TV, or why he thought pulling it down while hanging was a good idea.

What I do know is that he just got owned by an inanimate object, by an appliance.

That would-be robber limps away with his pride in tow, hoping no security camera caught his epic fail so it could be uploaded to the Internet.

Sorry, buddy.

He's still on the run, and is considered unarmed and extremely stupid.

Also on the internet, today's episode of "Worst Job in The World," our heroes are attempting to transport what looks to be some sort of polystyrene tubing.

Yeah, sure, polystyrene tubing, why not?

Anyhoo, rather than waiting for the truck that the tubing would actually fit on, they had improvised, probably not the brightest way to move the tubing, nor the fastest, but it gets the job done.

Although it may prove more difficult for the man in the back once they hit the freeway.

Finally, to the highway to the danger zone, amazingly nobody gets hurt in here, not even the K-9 officer in the back.

It just seems like it'll be another calm day in Oklahoma City, and then suddenly, "Hello!"

The drunk driver crossed over to the wrong side of the road, hit the deputy's cruiser head on -- driver booked for driving under the influence, driving on the wrong side of the road, not wearing his seat belt.

Everybody was okay.

He'll still have plenty of time to contemplate that, and figure out which side of the road is the correct side in the big house.

"Time marches on!"

The Rupert Murdoch e-mail hacking scandal expands to phone hacking here.

But the potential victims make the story worse yet.

9/11 families, they met today with the Attorney General to hear the latest.

Diane Horning was among them, she will tell us what she heard next "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: We are live from Countdown World Headquarters in the M.C. Escher building in New York each night at 8:00 P.M.

And then we transmit it into your home at 11:00 P.M., 2:00 A.M., 7:00 A.M., noon, and 3:00 P.M.

We call it our little miracle.

The Attorney General of the United States late this afternoon told the families of 9/11 victims that he will authorize a preliminary criminal investigation into reports that Rupert Murdoch's organization hacked into their phones or tried to.

In our third story on the "Countdown," relatives of some of the victims met today in Washington with Eric Holder and several justice department aids and people from the FBI.

One of those family members joins me in a moment.

They spoke behind closed doors for more than one hour.

Holder took a lot of notes according to Diane Horning, whose son Matthew died in the 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center.

The possibility of phone hacking here followed a tabloid report of an attempt to buy family members phone numbers from a former NYPD figure.

The Murdoch case has already resulted in 13 arrests of former "News of the World" editors and staffers and a parliamentary hearing in which Rupert and James Murdoch testified.

The British government is now considered wobbly at best after some of the tendrils stretched out toward it from the hacking of the voicemails of murder victims and families of the victims of London's 7/7 bombings.

As promised now from Washington, our guest, Diane Horning, the mother of the late Matthew Horning.

Thank you for the time, Mrs. Horning.

Appreciate it greatly.


Thank you for taking it seriously.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Holder certainly took your questions seriously today.

Did he give you any answers or any guidance on this?

HORNING: You know, I think it was more perception.

He did take a lot of time to listen to us.

Um, there were about seven family members present with some legal advisors with us as well as two people in New York on simulcast.

But there were an equal number of people from the FBI and Justice Department.

And I, and I think just seeing that many people plus Mr. Holder, himself, present let us know how serious he was taking this allegation.

He did use the words "disturbing" and "serious" and promised us a full investigation.

We did ask for specifics, but we certainly could understand why they couldn't give it us.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, all of you take it seriously.

Did you emphasize one aspect of this more than any other to him?

To express to him what you were looking for?

HORNING: Well, I did say that one of the things that concerned me personally was whether or not they would hold someone liable who made an attempt that was unsuccessful.

That was important to me because a lot of people said, "What evidence do you have that this took place?

What story made you think that your line had been hacked in to?"

And I don't think that's the relevance.

I think it is the attempt to invade the privacy or to commit fraud, should be treated very seriously.

OLBERMANN: And to be fair, though, on this story, I mean publically at least, all we know -- and I presume all you know about it -- is what was in a very thinly sourced story in a tabloid paper that is admittedly in competition with Rupert Murdoch's tabloid newspapers in London.

Do you have anything other than your own desire to have the thing fully flushed out and fleshed out?

Do you have any reason to believe there is more to it than that one little thread that seems to be sticking out from whatever it is or whatever it isn't?

HORNING: I do not.

And we did ask him if he had indeed been able to identify both the former New York police detective and the person who asked him to do this.

And they were not able to tell us that.

And we asked them if there were other instances that he could tell us about.

And he said he could not.

One of the questions the families said, "If you are taking this investigation seriously, why haven't you asked us for our loved one's cell phone numbers?"

And he kind of said, "Well, there is -- we may in the future.

But there is more than one direction from which to come.

And we may instead of having that huge pool of numbers, we may prefer to have a person of interest and then go from that direction."

So we really don't know except that this began a dialogue that he promised us more dialogues.

We asked for a timeline.

He was not able to give us that.

And said this is the preliminary stage.

He also said that they broke with tradition here because this is the first time they actually have sat down and spoken to people about a preliminary -- preliminary stage of the investigation.

And he just felt that the sensibilities were such that he needed to do that.

OLBERMANN: Did he or any of the others there have questions for you?

Or were they there to listen to you?

HORNING: They did not have questions for us.


HORNING: They did not.

OLBERMANN: We're so close to the anniversary and there is so much we could ask you about.

But, I understand that one of the things foremost on your mind is the topic of the fresh kills site where all -- everything was found essentially at the World Trade Center was taken.

Do you still think there are more human remains to be found and another search is necessary?

HORNING: Absolutely.

We really have not asked for another search.

We've actually asked for them to remove what is there and give our loved ones a common burial because this site was a garbage dump when you go there, the methane pipes are still spewing the gases from the human refuse that was left there.

So, we would like it removed.

We know that in the first 40 days there was no sifting taking place and mostly from where things were dumped in the first 40 days, we know.

And they haven't denied they're there.

They just say they done everything they could and wouldn't do it.

Came in under time, under budget and moved on.

But, I think everyone from Bin Laden who received a proper burial to my child who did not, they receive -- they deserve a proper decent burial.

OLBERMANN: Is there an argument against it that you know of?

HORNING: You know they don't even give us that much credibility.

We certainly tried to go to court about it without asking for compensation because we were not asking for money.


HORNING: Just the right to the bury our dead and we were never permitted to go to court.

I'm losing you here.

Consequently, we never really heard their argument.

Periodically I hear people say it costs too much money.

But as I say, it came in under budget.

There was the money for it.

And Mr. Bloomberg used that money for other purposes.

So, I think the money was there.

They just chose not to do it.

OLBERMANN: Diane Horning, the mother of a 9/11 victim, Matthew Horning.

Great, thanks again for some of your time tonight.

Of course, our best wishes to you on getting through the anniversary next month.

HORNING: Thank you for your respect.

Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Of course.

Take care.

Another word about the East coast earthquake and tsunamis, upcoming in "Worst Persons."


OLBERMANN: The human crisis in Somalia, what you can do about it, what the actress and ambassador for Oxfam America, Kristin Davis is doing about it.

First, because there is seemingly nothing to be done about these folks except for public humiliation, here's "Countdown's" top nominees for today's top three "Worst Persons in the World."

The bronze to Michelle Malkin, columnist of the newspaper "The Daily Journal of Marietta, Georgia," decided to take a few shots at Janeane Garofalo for what she said about Herman Cain's comedy candidacy for the republican -- wait a minute.

Michelle Malkin has been reduced to the point where the most prominent newspaper carrying her column is "The Marietta Daily Journal"?

Never mind.

The bronze tonight to Fox News.

I know I talked about this yesterday, but I need to emphasize something.

After the earthquake, it breathlessly informed the nation's gullible, "U.S. weather service says there is no tsunami expected after the east coast earthquake that was centered in Virginia."

I really didn't hit upon the point about this.

Tsunamis go out.

"Tide goes in, tide goes out."

They do not come in.

Even if a mainland earthquake somehow produced a tsunami, it would emanate away from the earthquake area, not go out into the ocean, hang a left, hang a right or come back and smack the beach nearest to Eric Cantor.

I mean, there was a reporter in New York yesterday wondering if they were going to evacuate the Rockaways because of the possibility of a tsunami.



Runner up, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

You will recall that late in May, the massive Wallow fire swept across northeastern Arizona, 538,000 acres burned in the largest wildfire in state history.

Senator McCain said that illegal immigrants started that fire.

When he came under attack for his guesswork, he said he never said anything like that.

Then he said that illegal immigrants started fires like those.

Deafening silence from the senator today after an indictment was unsealed that charged two cousins with starting the blaze when they left their campfire unattended.

They are Caleb G. Malboeuf and David W. Malboeuf Caleb is from Benson, Arizona, and David is from Tucson, Arizona.

Every Hispanic in Arizona is awaiting your apology, Senator.

If you can still hear me!

Speaking of which, our winner, Roger Williams, the disgraced former secretary of the state of Texas, now running for Congress on a full anti-Obama platform.

The problems in the Williams campaign have just now come to the surface in a new 90-second web ad which he seems a little confused about exactly who is in the constituency he seeks to represent in the Texas 33rd district.


WILLIAMS: You are not a victim.

You are a patriot.

You are an opportunist.

Let's take advantage of it, okay?

They don't listen to me.

You want a handout.

I don't have something in it.

Now, you are getting mad again, okay.

These donkeys don't live in the United States of France.

They live in the United States of America.

They are going to have to get with it.

You all heard me talk about the Constitution.

Have you ever heard of the Constitution?

It's a great document.

They keep thinking that Obama is going to take care of them, Obama's going to feed them, Obama's going build their barn.

OLBERMANN: Sir, you are talking to farm animals.

They are not going to answer you.

You learned long ago not to try to talk sense into Texas Republicans.

They're also obviously confused about where this United States of France is.

Come inside, Mr. Williams.

Please leave the sheep alone, too.

Williams, of course, is nice enough to equate welfare recipients and others requiring a safety net to donkeys.

He also later claims in the video that he is being taxed to death which is hilarious for a man who inherited his father's flourishing car dealership.

Texas congressional candidate Roger "the-donkeys-tell-me-what-to-do" Williams, today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: The already fragile region of East Africa, which has suffered from years of political unrest, now facing a nightmarish drought.

That combination has produced a crippling famine leaving an estimated 12 million people without adequate food and water.

Already 30,000 children are thought to have died as a result.

In our number one story tonight, the non-profit group Oxfam America, along with its ambassador, actress Kristin Davis is trying to address the immediate crisis and also plan for the long-term health of the region.

But, Davis's biggest challenge might be to convince the people who can help.

That would be you and me to do so.

The drought playing the horn of Africa has decimated crops there and killed scores of livestock.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are heading to the neighboring Kenya.

But resources are limited there, too.

In fact, a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, built for 90,000 people now holds more than 400,000.
br> The U.S. government has pledged $105 million in humanitarian aid, but the U.N. which is overseeing relief efforts says it is still well short of raising the $2.5 billion it needs to pull the area out of famine.

President Obama said after meeting with African leaders earlier this month that he does not think the situation has gotten the attention in the U.S. that it deserves.

And an effort to change that, Oxfam America is releasing a public service announcement featuring ambassador Kristin Davis and we're airing -- you are hearing it here for the first time.


DAVIS: More than 12 million people are at risk of starvation in East Africa due to the worst drought in 60 years.

At the Dadaab refugee camp I met people desperate for food and water.

But already over tens of thousands have died.

Half of them children under the age of five.

But Oxfam is there in East Africa saving lives with emergency food and water.

And you can help us.

Give $10 by texting Oxfam to 25383.

Anything you can give will make a difference.

Thank you.

OLBERMANN: And a pleasure to welcome actress and Oxfam Ambassador, Kristin Davis and the President of Oxfam America, Raymond Offenheiser.

Thanks to you both for being here.


OLBERMANN: You've recently returned from the region.

In brief -- in as colorful way as you can describe it and hit home, what did you find there?

What is it like there?

DAVIS What I found there was just -- just purely shocking, I think, is my best word for it.

It's the kind of situation where you can't believe it's 2011.

It doesn't seem possible.

I found the people who really couldn't get into the camp because there has been such an influx in such a fast way.

So about 1,500 people, we think, are arriving every day and they can't handle the influx.

So they're living kind of outside of the proper camp without any supplies, without any tents, without any food or water, no latrine obviously, no sanitation and they have a real sense of panic.

And I was, of course, I knew intellectually that this is happening.

That's why we went.

But, when you see it, it just really defies description and you can't believe this could happen with --

I mean we obviously, the wealth in the world is not spread equally.

We know this intellectually, but when you actually see people have nothing.

Like nothing.


DAVIS: And on our three-week walk, you know, with these mothers trying to save their children, many have been robbed where even their clothes were taken.

Like really, really, just so profoundly shocking.

OLBERMANN: Oh, Goodness.


OLBERMANN: It's worse than just what we are seeing too and what Kristin saw there because the international community had a sense this was coming, there was actually time to prepare for something like this.

Unlike many of these disasters.

How can people not act when they could have seen it coming?

OFFENHEISER: Well, I think Oxfam and other organizations were actually trying to alert the international community as early as January about this, about the onset of this.

And this is what I guess until our community we refer to as a slow onset emergency.

Where little by little people start moving.

We see loss of livestock, a variety of other indicators but it's hard to get public attention and hard to get the type of media exposure these things need.

And we finally get it when the numbers get dramatic and the levels of mortality are dramatic and we see the kind of images I think you have seen on the footage that was shown on the program.

OLBERMANN: As always with things like this, there is always some one to one experience that transcends even the perception of how broad and how extraordinary the problem is.

I understand from you it was somebody in that Kenyan refugee camp.

Tell me the story.

DAVIS: So, I was in Dadaab.

And again I was meeting the newcomers who hadn't really gotten their proper relief from the camp yet.

And I think one of the things that goes wrong in our minds in America, is that we somehow think the people who are suffering are weak or somehow victims and I met in amazing woman who is a widow.

There she is, and she had been walking with her own, I believe she had four children, and every child that you see in this footage with her, she is now taking responsibility for.

She was on her three-week walk to the camp and she would find these abandoned children along the way, their parents had been killed in Somalia from the civil war or had died along the way.

She would take them because they were alone.

So she now is responsible for, I think it was 10 children, with, again, no food, no water, no tent.

So she, we're talking to her under a tree.

That's where the older children sleep.

And around the camp, the hyenas come every night because they know that there might be something.


DAVIS: So, she has taken thatch-like bushes and put it around the tree, which is kind of traditional way they take care of their livestock.

The older children would sleep there.

She made a tiny hut where the babies would stay with her at night.

She is so proud and so like you would see someone who has nothing.

She has been robbed, but yet she -- she is doing what any human being in that situation would want to do in their best selves.

You know?


DAVIS: Like taking on even more.

And then you see people like that and that's why I am so proud to work with Oxfam and you see, we need to help this woman.

We have to help her.

She is helping these children.

These are the people who, you know, they deserve help.


And as we seek that help, tell me briefly about the mechanics of appeal.

You have another new spot with Scarlett Johansson when public figures get involved in this, is there a way you can measure how they impact getting the message across.

OFFENHEISER: Yeah, I mean a good example would be that -- how Kristin did a program for us on one of the major networks, say, in July.

And just immediately after returning from her trip, and during the period in which she was on the air, our phones started ringing.

And they ring through the rest of the day and we get a real significant bump in the contributions to -- you know, to our work.

And that actually continues on for a number of other days beyond that and other public appearances will kind of bump that up.

I would also say that, you know, those of us who are representing this issue are representing it on behalf all of the humanitarian organizations doing it, not just our own because we feel the real problem is that this is under reported event and it's the first and largest famine in the 21st century and I don't think we have given all of what else is going on right now.

Libya and so forth, I don't think the public is fully grasped the scale of this.

The danger is we are actually, as you said at the beginning, 12 million people are affected.

The estimates are this could increase by another 25 percent in the not-to-distant future.

A lot of what will provide relief will be rains in the autumn.

It's uncertain whether they will arrive or not.

If they don't this would deepen and widen and could include a variety of other countries in the future.

OLBERMANN: That's the Autumn. That's a long time from now.

Raymond Offenheiser, the Oxfam American president, and Kristin Davis who is the ambassador for Oxfam America, done such great work on this.

Thanks for coming in and your work on the rest of our behalves.

DAVIS: Our pleasure.

Thank you for having us.

OFFENHEISER: Thank you for covering it, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Certainly.

That's "Countdown."

Up next, "An Inconvenient Truth" starring the proprietor.

I am Keith Olbermann.

Good night and good luck.