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Senator Larry Craig Speaks Out; Alleged Rapist Finally Caught; Interview With Al Sharpton

Aired October 16, 2007 - 20:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We have just been told that, any minute now, we are going to be getting some tape from Idaho of Senator Larry Craig explaining what he was doing in that bathroom in Minneapolis. This will be the first sit-down interview that he's done since this incident began. We will have it for you.
Also, a follow-up to our story yesterday about U.S. military contractors. We're told now some are being told to leave Iraq.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Why is Mychal Bell still in jail? Is it about justice or revenge?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I don't know what else to say. I am outraged.

SANCHEZ: Fighting mad over an issue that's black and white. Maybe we haven't come so far after all.

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We marched in Jena now. We ain't got to go back to back in the day. We're still in the day.

SANCHEZ: White students get a pass. A black student goes to jail. And the feds are left to say:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am, unfortunately, constrained.

SANCHEZ: OUT IN THE OPEN continues to examine military contractors. For defense or for profit? It's an issue that hits all of us right in the pocketbook. It's what we need to know.

They got him, the alleged child rape that police all over the country were looking for. How and where did they find him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, I'm tired of running.

SANCHEZ: Why do sexual predators think they won't get caught? And how do we change that?

We have heard it before. Now we're hearing it again, another community telling illegal immigrants, our public services are not for you.

Can they do that? Will it stand?

Incredible video, a shooting caught on tape, and he's running for mayor.

Plus, 20 questions with Britney Spears. She's OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. Que tal. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Any moment now, we are going to bring you that tape of Larry Craig. He says he's going to fight the charges. It could be minutes away. As soon as we get it, we are going to turn it around for you.

All right. Let's get started now. Two things that average Americans can't stand, will not tolerate, one has to do with people wasting our money, and the other one has to do with people taking advantage of our children. Tonight, we bring you stories on both of these issues.

OUT IN THE OPEN was first to tell you about a little girl found in Nevada after being abused. Well, tonight, police are saying that they have found the man who did that. We got his picture up. Will, go ahead and see it right there. His name is Chester Arthur Stiles. That's what he looks like. See the picture on the left, the new one.

Well, think about this. All police had to go on was the videotape, where he was seen raping the little girl. And then he just disappeared. Last night, they finally found him.

Here now, CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the run for more than 10 days, 37-year-old Chester Stiles, according to police, told them he was -- quote -- "sick of running," after getting pulled over just outside Las Vegas, driving this car without a license plate.

MIKE DYE, HENDERSON, NEVADA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: We didn't believe his story or who he was. He finally told us, hey, I'm Chester Stiles. I'm the guy you are looking for. And at that time, he said, I'm sick of running.

ROWLANDS: The intense manhunt for Stiles was launched after police identified him on what is described as a disturbing videotape which was given to police last month.

Stiles, according to police, is seen raping a 2-and-a-half-year- old girl on the tape, which police say was made about four years ago. Investigators say the little girl was subjected to -- quote -- "horrifying sexual abuse" on the tape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly, with all confidence, we have a very dangerous individual in custody.

TINA ALLEN, FORMER GIRLFRIEND OF STILES: that's Chester Stiles on that tape. It is him. ROWLANDS: Tina Allen says she is the reason Chester Stiles had access to the little girl, Because she was dating Stiles at the time of the assault. She says the girl's mother was a friend of hers.

ALLEN: I'm disgusted. I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. I'm mortified. I regret every -- every step I ever took. I feel bad for the baby.

ROWLANDS: Police say that, based on what they saw on the tape, Stiles is facing 21 separate felony charges.


ROWLANDS: And, Rick, those felony charges are spelled out in this criminal complaint that was released a few hours ago. And I got to tell you, all those detectives who say they saw that videotape and were sickened by it, just reading these charges is disgusting. We can only imagine what is on that tape.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and to think for how long he actually did it.

Ted Rowlands, thanks so much for bringing us up to date on this.

Let's go to Sheriff Tony DeMeo. He's in Nye County. He's joining us now by phone.

Last time you and I talked, you said you thought this guy had crossed state lines. Are you surprised to find out he was still in Nevada?

TONY DEMEO, SHERIFF OF NYE COUNTY, NEVADA: Oh, no, not at all. We kept looking for him in our jurisdiction as well. We believed that he may try to find an area where he was familiar with the terrain and the surroundings, and, you know, just hang out there.


SANCHEZ: You must have had quite a dragnet on this guy, because we understand that he said he was just tired of running. He must have been seeing police officers' cars in his sleep and every time he looked out his window, right?

DEMEO: Well, not only that, but the media kept the pressure on him as well. And we appreciate that. We were looking for him. Media was looking for him. The United States of America was looking for him.

Everybody was looking out for this individual, who they felt was dangerous and should be taken off the street.

SANCHEZ: You know, it's funny you mention this thing about the media, because you did a very courageous and controversial thing. You made a decision -- and some people might remember this -- that you were going to go ahead and put this little girl's picture out there for everyone to see, even though she was a victim in this case.

It was controversial, but, you know, looking back on it now, this decision paid off for you, didn't it?

DEMEO: Well, we know the victim is OK, and that's was our most important concern.

We know what the law says you can't do, but the law doesn't allow us to start hunting for these victims and then searching for these predators as well. And I think that's the reason why these types of crimes are prevalent and increasing in our communities. So, we have to find a way of going after these, identifying these victims, make sure they're OK, and then going after the suspects and hunting these predators down and making sure we do a better job than we have done in the past.


SANCHEZ: We are looking, Sheriff, at the pictures right now. And that's what I wanted to ask you about.

Are you 100 percent convinced, knowing what you know about this man that you have picked up last night, that he is, in fact the man who molested this little girl?

DEMEO: Well, we're alleging that that's the individual. Las Vegas is the lead agency now in the investigation. I really appreciate the work that Henderson did to arrest this person. But they're the lead agency on the investigation of the videotape.


DEMEO: And we're still looking to see what connection Stiles has to our community, since he has visited Pahrump in the past.


Thanks so much, Tony DeMeo, as usual, ready for us and ready to share that information with us. We appreciate it. We will get back to you if we need to.

So, what does the mother of this child have to say? A lot of people have been asking that question. We're going to find out about that in just a minute.

And then there's also this. Why is this guy still at large? Are they any closer to catching him as well? Yes, there's another guy out there doing these types of things. What are we doing that's wrong that keeps predators, sexual predators, from getting the message? Its an interesting question. And we're going to be breaking it down for you.

Also, another community, another crackdown on illegal immigrants. Now they're being banned from libraries and parks. Is it right and will it stand?

And, once again, let me tell you on a programming note what we're doing with this information. We're going to be turning around any moment now the latest interview with Senator Larry Craig that he has just completed. In fact, these are some of the pictures coming in right now from Idaho. As soon as we get our hands on that, we will turn it around.

Stay with us. You're watching OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back to OUT IN THE OPEN. Here we go.

That's the picture that police are now staring at, the one that they have been looking for, the man, that is.

As we follow this story, the arrest of Chester Stiles, there's something else that we started wondering about. Reports that we have been following seem to indicate that the little girl is perfectly fine. So say many of the reporters who have been filing these stories.

One can't help but wonder, though, how can she possibly be perfectly fine?

Joining me now, the mother's attorney in this case. His name is Jerry Donahue.

I got to ask you that question. Let me just ask you straight out. How is she doing? How is this little girl doing after this, you know, this just horrific situation she's been through?

JERRY DONAHUE, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM'S FAMILY: Well, thank you for your concern.

I think she's doing fine. I have seen her. She's a very happy, gregarious, outgoing little girl.

SANCHEZ: Doesn't talk about it, doesn't seem to be traumatized? Is she getting any help?

DONAHUE: No, there's no indication she has any memory of this event ever occurring. And, yes, she has seen some medical professionals. She has been evaluated. And she will receive the help that she needs, if she actually needs any.

SANCHEZ: Good for her.

Let's talk about your client, the mother.


SANCHEZ: How did she not know that something like this was going on, if, as we understand it, she did have a relationship with Mr. Stiles, right? He's not a stranger to her?

DONAHUE: Not a stranger, but no relationship. The mother's friend's mother dated Mr. Stiles. She knew who he was.


DONAHUE: She knew his name. She had seen him around, but that's as far as it went. She had no relationship with him.

SANCHEZ: Didn't this go on for quite some time, allegedly?

DONAHUE: I don't have any idea. No, I don't have any idea. I haven't seen the videotape. I don't know if it was a one-time event or not. I would like to believe it was a one-time event, but I really have no knowledge.

SANCHEZ: I mean, look, I'm just asking as a parent, because I'm petrified that something like this could ever happen to one of my little guys. And I guess we all are.

DONAHUE: Me, too.


SANCHEZ: Yes, I know -- as we watch this story.

But I'm just thinking, if this were going on -- was happening while the mother was with the child at different times, didn't she see anything? Didn't she see either something emotional are maybe even something physical? Did she ever suspect it?

DONAHUE: No, I don't think so.

Of course, the police asked that question. And I was present when she answered. And she simply said that she never saw any signs of physical trauma, and she never noticed any signs of a change in emotional behavior. She has me convinced she had no knowledge of this occurring.

SANCHEZ: Jerry Donahue, my thanks to you, man, for taking time to talk to us about this. It's a fascinating story.

DONAHUE: My pleasure. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And we're just glad she's doing fine. Appreciate it.

I want to show you something else now. I want you to see this story. It's about somebody seemingly as horrible as the alleged rapist in that Nevada case that we have been telling you about, maybe worse.

Interpol is now looking for somebody who has preyed on hundreds of Asian boys. They have seen him on the Internet that many times, they say. By the way, this is through the Internet that they were able to finally catch up with him.

Watch this story. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): After an international manhunt, the net seems to be closing on a man police are calling a child predator. Thirty-two-year-old Canadian Christopher Paul Neil was photographed entering Thailand from South Korea. His exact whereabouts are unknown, but officials from Interpol in Bangkok, meeting with Thai police, say security forces across the region are hoping to make an arrest quickly.

MICK MORAN, INTERPOL CASE OFFICER: I would like to think so. I know that the Thai authorities, that all of the regions, countries in this region, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, I know that they have all been alerted, they're all on alert, and they all have border controls in place in an effort to spot the movements of this man.

CHANCE: Police say pictures of a man abusing young Asian boys first appeared on the Internet more than three years ago, electronically manipulated with a swirl pattern to obscure his face. But German computer experts managed to unscramble the images, posting them on Interpol's Web site last week with an immediate response. Within days, police say they had a name, a passport number and a date of birth.

The problem of child abuse in Asia has vexed law enforcement agencies for decades. The region's often seen as an easy target by pedophiles who visit as sex tourists. Aid workers say poverty and what they call weak legal systems in Asia are the main problems, but insists this latest case shows just how much progress has been made.

RICHARD BRIDLE, UNICEF: We have got -- we have got police forces around the world now focused on catching someone who, if it's the same person who was in the videos, has been abusing children. And I think this is a really good sign that you cannot abuse children anywhere.

You can't do it and cross the border. You will be caught. You will be prosecuted. You will be put away.

CHANCE: And with each high-profile case, the hope is other pedophiles targeting Asia may be deterred.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Bangkok.


SANCHEZ: You know, I'm thinking, Matthew, if they have got his picture, they should be pretty close to being able to catch him, right?

CHANCE: Absolutely. This picture is being broadcast on Thai television stations. It's appearing in Thai newspapers. Virtually every person in Thailand will be looking out for this man describe as a predator.

And, so, in addition to that, as you mentioned in that piece, the border security posts have been put on high alert as well. And, so, the authorities here, along with Interpol, are very confident there's going to be an arrest.

SANCHEZ: What is it about Thailand and pedophiles? What's the attraction? We hear more stories about this from there than just about anywhere else in the world. Why is that?

CHANCE: Well, I think, Rick, it's certainly true that pedophiles in Thailand get a lot of media attention, and they do seem to flock here.

One of the reasons -- well, I mentioned in that report, one of the reasons is, they think they're not going to get prosecuted if they come to Thailand and other countries in Asia. Another reason is poverty in this region. Children can be literally bought from their families. And that's something that attracts pedophiles from all over the world to this region.

SANCHEZ: Matthew Chance reporting to us live, as you can see there, from that -- on that story. We thank you, Matthew, for that.

All right, think about this now. If you know and if I know that there's a huge penalty for doing something like this, doesn't it make you wonder if someone's going to do something like this, they know that they're going to become a social pariah. They know that they're even going to be hated in prison. Why do they keep doing it?

If you don't get that, stick around. Neither do I. But we're about to find out. It's our next segment.

A Washington suburb tells illegal immigrants, we don't want you. We won't help you. Go away.

Can they really do that?


JACKSON LEE: Why didn't you intervene? This broken lives could have been prevented if you had taken the symbolic responsibility that have you being the first African-American appointed to the Western District.

I don't know what else to say. I'm outraged. And that's why my voice is going up like this, literally outraged.


SANCHEZ: Tongue-lashing anger out in the open on Capitol Hill. Should the feds have intervened in the Jena Six case?

We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: And here we go with OUT IN THE OPEN. Welcome back. I am Rick Sanchez.

Lots of stories that we're following for you right now. Sexual predators abusing children exposing their crimes on the Internet or videotape for the whole world to see, it makes me think about this. And I'm sure you have thought about it as well. It makes you think about your little guys or your little gals, right, children. It makes you wonder how vulnerable they can possibly be, because no matter what we do to try and protect them, it seems like the very next day, we read about people out there who are trying to get to them.

Dr. Fred Berlin is founder of the John Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.

Here's why I say that. I'm thinking these guys who are caught up in this type of thing have to know that, if they get caught, they're going to be outcasts. They're outcasts in prison. And yet they seem to keep doing it. Why?


First of all, the sex drive is a very powerful force. And when that force that recurrently wants to be satisfied becomes misdirected towards children, it still recurrently wants to be satisfied. And that's clearly a very problematic situation.

The second thing is that intense cravings can see lead to distorted thinking. The alcoholic who doesn't appreciate that every time he takes a drink he's ruining his liver, the smoker who doesn't want to believe, when he or she smokes, that he's going to end up with -- that they're going to end up with lung cancer, those are the kinds of processes, mental processes, that play into all of this.

SANCHEZ: But isn't there a big difference between somebody who is maybe taking a drink and really hurting themselves or smoking a cigarette or something like that and someone who is doing something like this directly, hands on, to another fellow human being?

BERLIN: Oh, Absolutely. I'm in no way justifying this.

But in terms of their thought processes, they often don't see with the clarity that we do the problems that they're causing. They convince themselves they're not hurting these children. They convince themselves that the children somehow secretly like it. They're very disturbed in the way in which they perceive the world.

SANCHEZ: Well, that's what -- see, you just said they convince themselves. If they're able to convince themselves, that means that they're not necessarily insane, right? That means they're thinking through this, because I'm always going back and forth with people on this argument about, well, they're just sick, they can't help themselves.

And, no, I think, in many cases, they know exactly what they're doing, and they're just kind of degenerates.

BERLIN: Well, I think we have to look at it on a case-to-case basis.

But something is horribly wrong with a person mentally if they're recurrently craving sex with very young children. Now, we don't refrain from having sex with children simply because we're moral people. We never even experience those cravings. So, there's something wrong with that type of an individual.

Whether we should think of them, as a society, as being sick or evil is something I think we haven't resolved. I think society has very ambivalent feelings. Some of these people, when they're first arrested, we want to put them in jail and say they're bad. In many states now, when they serve their time and are ready to be released, we don't want to release them, saying they're ill and they need to be treated.


SANCHEZ: Wait a minute. But that may not be such a bad idea, because I have seen interview after interview with this people that seem to indicate that they don't recover from this. They do it again and again and again, right?

BERLIN: Well, I think, if we don't want to release people who have committed crimes and have served their time, and we're not really thinking we're treating them, trying to rehabilitate them, then we should just be honest and say that.


BERLIN: But let's not pretend that it's treatment under -- as a guise or ruse for preventative detention.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Fred Berlin, you're a good guy to talk to. We appreciate your insight into this.

BERLIN: Thank you.


SHARPTON: ... behest of this committee, needs to step into Jena and the Jenas of this country and establish that the federal government is still in charge and the states did not win the Civil War.


SANCHEZ: What? Jena back in the news. He tells off Congress today and the feds. Coming up, Al Sharpton is going to join us here live. Will the feds get involved in this Deep South and Jena Six case?

Also, are state crackdowns on illegal immigrants the return of Jim Crow?

And then breaking news. For the first time in weeks, Senator Larry Craig is meeting the press. We have got it for you. We will be turning it around very soon.

You're watching OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: And we do welcome you back to OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

We here at OUT IN THE OPEN have been watching and monitoring and reporting on an incredible trend that's been taking place all over the country. And now there's another one that we need to tell about you.

In Virginia's Prince William County, they are voting on a new crackdown on illegal immigrants, and they are saying much the same as what we heard last week, remember, when we were in Irving, Texas, and parts of Tulsa, Oklahoma. If Congress won't act, they say, at the local level now, we will. And they are, all over the country.

This potential law in Prince William County is looking at -- and here's a little spin, a little different than what we have been talking about in the past -- this one is looking at denying public services to illegal immigrants, denying them access to social services, denying them access to things like libraries and meals.

Joining me now is Corey Stewart -- he's the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors -- and Cesar Perales. He is the executive director of the Puerto Rico Legal Defense Education Fund. And he is representing the immigrants.

Mr. Stewart, let me begin with you.

Tell me. Take me through the things that you want to make sure these illegal immigrants don't have access to. What is it?


First, it does crack down on illegal immigrants who commit crimes in the community.


STEWART: The second thing that it does do is cut off taxpayer- funded services to a list of about 10 county services, in addition to those services that we already restrict...


SANCHEZ: Like what? The question I asked you, though, was, what are those services, specifically, Mr. Stewart? What is it you don't want them to be able to have that other citizens would have?



There's a whole host of services that -- the county spent 90 days going through literally thousands of services that the county provides. And we have been able to identify 10 major ones, including, for example, homeless prevention programs, and homeless programs that would allow homeless residents to transition into permanent housing.

Mr. Perales, do you understand how no community with deal with an onslaught like this? You have this many people coming into your community, and having to deal with it is a difficult thing. And this is the backlash. This is the reaction from citizens, who I'm sure Mr. Stewart represents, who are coming to him and saying, look, you have got to do something about this.

Do you get that?

PERALES: Yeah, I get that, and I get that Mr. Stewart is pandering to these people. I mean if he's gone through thousands of services, he's been able to come up with 10, which deal with homeless services, this is ridiculous. It simply proves that undocumented people are not using up public services, and that's the least obnoxious thing that's contained in the resolution.

SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, Mr. Stewart, just to add on to something he says, I just did some research on this and I found out it's going to cost you guys $2 million a year extra to enforce this. Are you a little troubled by that?

STEWART: Well, $2.8 million per year is not actually for the cutoff of the services. That is to hire -- that is to create a criminal alien unit our police department to detain, arrest and deport illegal aliens that commit crimes inside Prince William County.

SANCHEZ: You know, just from a moral standpoint, though, you're asking like -- I guess, let me reach for an example. You're asking a woman who works in a library, when a man comes in there with his son or daughter, and says, my son has a homework assignment, can you give me some help with it, you're asking them to look at that man in the eye and say I'm sorry, I can't help you, I suspect you might be an illegal immigrant, go away. Gosh, that's kind of, that's tough, isn't it?

STEWART: Rick, we're not doing that, actually. The libraries are one of those services where it just wouldn't be cost-effective for us to possibly try to keep people out or restrict that service to anybody. .

SANCHEZ: I apologize, that was on my list, so pools and parks would be, though, right?

STEWART: No, parks are -- is not on the list either.

SANCHEZ: Cesar, what is on the list? You've seen this and I know that you've had some serious complaints about it. What troubles you about this?

PERALES: Well Rick, my complaint and the complaint of the other attorneys in this case is not about these silly services that they have decided they're going to exclude undocumented people from, but the other part of the resolution, which actually turns the police into agents for those who want to rid the community of undocumented people.

SANCHEZ: But isn't it OK if the police are going out there and getting rid of criminals, people who break the law... PERALES: They're not criminals. That's the point. What they're doing is they've been told to go out and detain people for anything, and then if they look like they might be undocumented, meaning if they are Latinos, then you can go in and ask them questions, and hopefully get some evidence that will allow to you detain them and turn them over to the feds. That's really what this is about.

SANCHEZ: OK wait; let's let Mr. Stewart respond to that. Mr. Stewart, is that the case?

STEWART: Well I think it's one thing for somebody to be inside of our community illegally, but when they come here and then commit a crime on top of their illegal status...

SANCHEZ: No, no, his question...

STEWART: ...why do we allow them to continue to prey upon our citizens and the property of citizens?

SANCHEZ: To be fair, though, sir, the question he's posing is the following: that you're actually going to go out there, look for people who are illegal aliens or seem to appear to be illegal aliens, pick them up and then call INS as opposed to waiting for someone to break a law and then take them in. That's what he seems to be saying. Is he wrong?

STEWART: He's incorrect. He is incorrect. When somebody commits a crime, we are not going to be looking for illegal immigrants. What we're looking for is people who commit crimes and if we have reason to believe that the person is an illegal immigrant and we check their status and they are, after they've served their underlying sentences they would be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.

PERALES: You don't need a resolution to arrest people who are committing crimes. That's ridiculous. That's not the reason you're passing the resolution.

SANCHEZ: Cesar, we're going to have to...

PERALES: You're passing a resolution to drive people out of that community and you're telling children, be afraid of the cop. The cop can take your parents away from you. This is the most...

SANCHEZ: It's a good point. It's a good point, Cesar, but we're going to have to...

PERALES: You're using the police who are supposed to be protecting people...

SANCHEZ: Cesar, we're going to have to...

PERALES: remove Latinos from the community. When I was growing up, we were told police are my friends...

SANCHEZ: We've got that and it's a point that we've made here time and time again. Cesar Perales, we thank you sir for taking the time talking to us. We'll keep tabs on this and we'll be getting back to you.

PERALES: careful of this...

SANCHEZ: Corey Stewart, my thanks to you, as well.

PERALES: ...This is obnoxious...

STEWART: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Tonight's breaking news: What Senator Larry Craig's wife say when she heard about his arrest? We are going to bring this OUT IN THE OPEN. There's some of the take now.


SANCHEZ: All right, here's that follow up we've been telling you about. Welcome back. Tonight the government in Iraq says that it wants Blackwater contractors out of the country. They're accused of firing indiscriminately into a crowd of civilians there. We have been reporting about this controversy, the big business that was part of the military industrial complex, as Eisenhower called it, the good and the bad.

Let me try to break this down for you if I can right now. That way we know exactly what we're talking about. A lot of this, obviously, has to do with money. First of all, let's talk about the contractors, 180,000 of them in Iraq, compare that to the U.S. military personnel, 163,000 -- more of them than them.

And now let's talk about some of the big contractors that we're talking about, here. Government contractors as of 2006, we checked and this is the figures we came out with, KBR, that's Kellogg, Brown and Roots $6.1 billion, Bechtel $3.6 billion -- that's a lot of money, folks -- the Fluor Corporation, $2.8 billion; CH2M Hill, $1.4 billion. That's a lot of money.

Are they helping us? Are they helping our military or a lot of them there just to make an awful lot of money, an awful lot of money? And of course, should war even be about money? J.J. Messner of the International Peace Operation Association is good enough to join us to talk about this now.

And you're here to say that these guys make our military operations more efficient, right?

J.J. MESSNER, INTERNATIONAL PEACE OPERATION ASSOC: Yes, absolutely. I think it's very clear that these companies add an awful lot of capacity to not only U.S. military operations, and we see those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also operations by organizations such as the United Nations, African Union, NATO and so on and I think that we can see that they add a lot in many different sectors, everything from private security, through to logistics, training, humanitarian development, pretty much you name it and they do it. SANCHEZ: But here's the problem that I think a lot of Americans have with this, and they just worry about the potential conflict of interest. They worry about the fact that most soldiers that we talked to will tell you, I don't want to go to war, I don't want to be in a war, but if I have to defend my country, I will. These guys have to be in a war to be able to make money, so there's almost a war incentive there, that troubles people who look at this. How do you answer that?

MESSNER: Well, I think it's important to note that these companies don't make the policy decisions to go to war. Those decisions are made by government, and well beyond these companies. These companies merely fill a need, a gap that exists in modern day militaries and peacekeeping operations.

SANCHEZ: But you know as well as I do that now, perhaps more than ever, there is a relationship between the people in these businesses, these contractors, and the people who are making the decisions about war in government. There's something called interlocking (ph) that goes on. In fact, I can name you case after case of a guy who goes from the State Department or right from the Defense Department into a company and then back into the State Department or into elected office as is the case with Mr. Cheney. So there is a linkage, isn't there?

MESSNER: I think that linkage is much more perceived by detractors of the industry, and of even administration policy, necessarily, than being true.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question about accountability, because a lot of people wonder about this as well, and you're the right guy that could maybe set us straight or explain this to us. We know that a soldier answers to generals, really answers to us because he's representing us, there. But when a contractor goes over there, who does he answer to? Who's he accountable to?

MESSNER: Well, it depends. As you said in your lead-in, there are about 180,000 contractors in Iraq. Now, it's important to note that all about 15,000 of those are actually local Iraqis. Now, those local Iraqis are subject to Iraqi law. However, that foreign contingent is subject to the United States Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, it's a bit of a mouthful, so it's known basically by its acronym which is MEJA. And that's basically subject foreign contractors in Iraq to U.S. criminal law and they are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Justice Department.

SANCHEZ: Good and fair and honest responses. J.J. Messner, we thank you for taking time to take us through this. We appreciate it.

MESSNER: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: You know, Democratic lawmakers unloaded on just about everybody involved in the Jena Six case today in a hearing that was going on in Washington. Six black students in a Louisiana town, as recall, were charged with beating a white student, but it came after students had hung a noose from a tree in front of a school, and after fights were allegedly black students were beat up, as well. That's what started the controversy.

Here now you're going to hear Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, and she's telling a U.S. attorney, his name is Donald Washington, that he failed her. Here it is.


REP SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D), TEXAS: Mr. Washington, tell me why you did not intervene, not by way of the legal system, but the consultation that the U.S. Attorneys have with the local district attorneys, why didn't you intervene? This broken lives could have been prevented if you had taken the symbolic responsibility that you have being the first African-American appointed to the western district. I don't know what else to say, I am outraged and that's why my voice is going up like this, literally outraged.


SANCHEZ: This was just the half of it, by the way, literally just the half of it. Sean Callebs has been following the story for us, he's our correspondent there on the Gulf Coast. He files this report.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two weeks to the day after Mychal Bell was released on bond, an unrelated probation violation put the Jena Six teen back in a juvenile facility. Freedom was short-lived.

But for the people of Jena, controversy and the story won't end. In a town that's about 85 percent white, its majority has been silent. Only now are people like attorney Joe Wilson speaking up, saying Jena has been unfairly characterized.

JOE WILSON, ATTORNEY: I don't want to say the media was unfair, because that to me indicates that something was done intentionally, but the result of it is, an inaccurate portrayal of the people in this community.

CALLEBS: Bell's attorney says the perish district attorney is treating Bell harshly, and contend the teen remains behind bars because the appeals process is moving at a snail's pace.

LEWIS SCOTT, BELL ATTORNEY: The juvenile justice system and the criminal system moves so slow, so in the meantime our client has to suffer and go through these problems and difficulties...

CALLEBS: Bell was a star athlete, and that's got a lot of attention, but what many in Jena complain hasn't garnered as much publicity, Bell's rap sheet, which they say paints a picture of a violent youth, given many chances by the legal system.

December, 2005, simple battery. Bell pleaded guilty to hitting a girl. Melissa Bell is Mychal's mother. She told CNN... MELISSA BELL, MYCHAL'S MOTHER: It was a female, he met a female, she decided to slap him and he hit her back, and her parents put a charge on him.

CALLEBS: Bell was placed on probation. July, 2006, Bell was charged with damaging property. September, 2006, he was again charged with simple battery and damage to property, both have not been resolved yet. All that, before the now infamous Jena Six attack at Jena high school, so infamous that rocker John Mellencamp made a song about it.

(SONG): Oh, Jena.

CALLEBS: Many in the town can't stand the lyrics. The mayor labeled the song inflammatory and defamatory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace.

CALLEBS: But there's no doubt Jena is a town divided and many say with a reputation tainted.

WILSON: At some point, you know, it's got to resolve itself, and I have no idea how that's going to happen.


CALLEBS: Well, one way to perhaps bring a resolution to all of this is perhaps recognition that, yes, there is a problem of race relations in this town and that's what the mayor of Jena wants to find out. Rick, he has announced that he's going to appoint a committee of civic leaders to look at relations in this community -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Sean Callebs, good work as usual there from our Gulf Coast.

Is this equal justice? The Reverend Al Sharpton is going to be weighing in on that. He's going to join us here when we come back.

There's also this, the tape is finally in folks. Coming up, what Senator Larry Craig is saying about his arrest, and his wife's reaction, we understand now, as well. We've been monitoring it. It's OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to OUT IN THE OPEN. The Reverend Al Sharpton just got back into town, rushed into our studios, he arrives here now. Let's put the question to him.

I saw you today talking about civil rights, about the civil war, all being for naught if something like this happens. You were as worked up as Sheila Jackson-Lee was. Make your point.

REV AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: My point was that if we are now being told that the federal government, with clear disparity in how justice is being conducted in Louisiana, can't supersede state laws, we're back to states rights. That's what the whole civil war was about, is whether we have a centralized federal government or states were going to decide these things themselves.

SANCHEZ: But when Washington stood there and said look essentially my hands are tied, I can't do anything here, do you think he's being disingenuous?

SHARPTON: Well, I think later when he was asked by Congress and Keith Ellis and others, what is it you need for to us do to change the laws, and isn't it true that it was your discretion that you didn't prosecute these young students, the white students that hung the noose on juvenile hate crimes, he said, yes, so they could have done something. They chose not to use the juvenile case statutes.

SANCHEZ: So the -- but -- wait a minute, let me stop you on that real quick because here's the argument that we're hearing over there. The argument we're hearing is, there's a big difference, Reverend Al Sharpton, between symbolic speech and aggressive actions, and there's a difference between kicking a guy when's down and actually just showing a noose. That's what they're saying down there and they're saying they shouldn't be compared. Are you comparing them?

SHARPTON: No, what we're comparing is that a D.A., one district attorney is the one that observed all of this.

SANCHEZ: Right, the local guy.

SHARPTON: The local guy that said, I'm going to take the juveniles that kicked aggressively, physically assaulted the white student and I'm going to not only charge them, I'm going to charge them as an adult and for attempted murder, not even assault and I'm not going to do anything at all to the white kids that brought a gun to school or that beat up a kid or that hung the noose, nothing at all. You got to remember, the only thing that happened to these kids was the schools did something. The justice system did nothing to these kids.

SANCHEZ: No, there's no question it's a very fair argument and the polls that we've seen indicate that Americans, whether they're black or white, seem to see this as a disparity of justice. So, let me ask you about Mychal Bell, specifically. He's back in jail, this time as a juvenile, not as an adult but he'd already served 10 months. That seems to be a problem. Why do you believe that this judge has made that decision?

SHARPTON: Because the same judge that was the adult judge, that put him in jail as an adult, that it was overturned, not by the civil rights leaders, but by the state of Louisiana, is the juvenile judge, it's one judge. So he says fine, y'all are going to beat me here, then I'm going to stick it to him there, which is why the federal government in our judgment should step in.

SANCHEZ: You think it's a vengeful decision, don't you?

SHARPTON: I think it's a vengeful decision.

SANCHEZ: What is the judge saying?


SANCHEZ: The judge.

SHARPTON: He's saying THAT I'm operating as the judge, I can do what I want. And I don't think most Americans understand, this is the same judge that was overturned in adult court, the very same judge.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for coming in, hustling out here to talk to us about this.

SHARPTON: Thank you Rick.

SANCHEZ: We appreciate it. Reverend Al Sharpton.

He's avoided reporters until now. Now it's breaking news. Next, what does Senator Larry Craig have to say about his arrest and his wife's reaction?


SANCHEZ: All right, here we go, breaking news. Tonight for the first time since this news broke out, Senator Larry Craig is talking extensively about his battle to try and clear his name.

You're going to recall the story, now. An Idaho Republican is pleading guilty to, in the summer, to disorderly conduct after he was busted in a gay sex sting at a Minnesota airport. He's denied all along that he's gay and he's now trying to undo his guilty plea although that's not going so well, thus far. One judge has already said no way to that and this week, Craig filed an appeal of that ruling. So, we get a chance now to hear what he's saying, this is an exclusive interview you're about to hear that's coming in to us from affiliate KTVB in Boise, Idaho. Here we go.


SEN LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: ...Americans are used to attack the individual and keep attacking and see if you can knock him or her down and knock her out. A senator who lost an election last year, his wife called Suzanne and said, "We call it gladiator politics. You put the politician in the arena and you just beat him until they're dead while the crowd cheers."


SANCHEZ: By the way, that was Mark Johnson's interview of KTVB. He's one of our CNN affiliates; he's the one doing the interview with the Senate. Joining me now, John Aravosis, editor of

First of all, your take on the fact that the senator would feel the need to sit down with a reporter to give his say on this.

JOHN ARAVOSIS, EDITOR, AMERICANBLOG.COM: Well, he obviously has to. I mean, if the man thinks he's going to stay in office for the next 19 months or say, 12 months, which is what he said, you know, he's going to stay there until the next election and then he's going to leave -- he's got to make some justification for staying because the Republicans want him out.

SANCHEZ: This is a problem for Republicans. It's also been a problem for his wife, by the way. Let's listen now to what his wife talks about when she's asked why he never told her about what was going on with this. Let's pick that up. Go ahead, Will.


SUZANNE CRAIG, WIFE OF SEN LARRY CRAIG: The fact that he didn't tell me when it happened took me back, set me back and made me feel like, well, actually I felt like my stomach, the bottom of my stomach dropped out. It was just an incredible feeling, and I did a little soul searching after that.

I went back over the 25 years almost of our marriage, and almost 30 years of our knowing each other, and I can tell you, Mark, I questioned everything. I talked to myself about everything. I came out of that feeling that my husband has never been unfaithful to me in any way. So, then I was ready to go forth and support what he was trying to do.

MARK JOHNSON, WTVB: And you're completely at peace?

S CRAIG: Completely.


SANCHEZ: She says she's completely at peace. John, what do you make of that?

ARAVOSIS: Well you know, she's got to say that and I mean, I obviously feel sorry for her. Unfortunately in all of these situations the wife always gets dragged out whether by the media or whether by the husband, who wants the wife dragged out to protect him or the wife who wants to protect the husband. But I think, you know, she's really sort of ancillary to the discussion. I do think it's a little weird that he went through all of this and didn't at least tell his wife. I mean, I think if you were innocent you'd come home and go honey, if the media finds out I'm dead, but these goofballs think I'm gay propositioning sex in a bathroom, what do I do? You wouldn't hide it -- I can't imagine hiding that from your spouse if it weren't true. I don't know.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, that does seem reasonable, at least...

ARAVOSIS: The media, yeah, but not your spouse.

SANCHEZ: Well, obviously he's going to blame the media and in a situation like this that's what everybody is going to do. Let me ask you a question now about what's going on with the Republicans? Because it seems like this guy is determined that he's going to fight this through and with every day this passes that he fights this, he seems to be, at least according to many insiders that we've talked to, setting back his own party. Right?

ARAVOSIS: Oh, yeah. I mean, well, look, Mitch McConnell, the party leader in the Senate already told him he wants him to leave. You haven't heard a lot from McConnell lately, though, which I think shows just how sort of messed up things are.

You know, the Republicans tried to basically bluff Craig out of the Senate. They said they were going to have an ethics investigation. I think they even filed the papers or whatever it is. Now, the Senate has to have an ethics investigation because they started this. They were hoping he was going to leave.

SANCHEZ: What about the possibility that he really is totally innocent and this really was a complete misunderstanding, have you considered that?

ARAVOSIS: Absolutely. Look, it's -- I work on the left. I'm still going to say it's totally possible. The thing is, there had been rumors about Larry Craig before, and I'm not going to get into them, but let's say what happened here, what the police say, goes in line with what the rumors were. It's certainly a real big coincidence that Larry Craig got caught in some bathroom sex sting and that it happened to be gay -- interesting. The fact that he then kind of covered it up and didn't tell his wife -- interesting.

Is it possible he was just moving his feet with his wide stance and hit a cop's foot? Yeah and cops also frankly, cops lie, you know. I mean, the cop is going to give his case forward. I just think at this point, though, what matters is Larry Craig should resign. I just think it's for the best thing for my party, the Democrats he ought to stay in office for a year, but for his party he's become such a drag on them I don't quite get why he hasn't said, yeah, I'm innocent, but I'm hurting my own party and my own state.

SANCHEZ: Do you understand why he might be fighting that position or deciding to stay and fight if he really believes that he hasn't done anything wrong?

ARAVOSIS: No. No. You know why? Because, I mean, I worked as a Senate staffer for a Republican, actually, like 15 years ago and one of the cardinal rules was when you became the story, you had to go. You know? If some scandal happened around you. In this case, he's the senator, but the point is, he's become the sex story now about his party. It doesn't matter if he's innocent of guilty anymore. He's hurting his party.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. That's a good point. John Aravosis, thanks so much for being with us.

Thank you.

Unbelievable day of news. We're glad we're able to bring it to you. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks so much for being with us, everyone. Larry King's next. Hasta manana.