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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

White House Pressured Over Karl Rove's Role in Releasing CIA Operative's Name; Search for Natalee Holloway Continues

Aired July 12, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, still no sign of Natalee Holloway 44 days after she vanished in Aruba. Still no charges against the sole remaining suspect and soon two search teams from the United States may be ready to pack it in.
We've got all the latest from Aruba with Natalee Holloway's biological father and stepmother and more.

But first, intense pressure on the White House for the second day in a row over Karl Rove. The adviser some called Bush's brain and his possible role in the ongoing scandal about the leaking of the CIA agent's identity. We have got all the latest next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with the Karl Rove matter. Joining us in Washington is Michael Isikoff, the famed investigative correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine. Also, in Washington, Julian Epstein, the former minority chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee and Democratic strategist and in Seattle, the nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and best selling author, Michael Medved.

All this hullabaloo into its second day today. The White House spokesman Scott McClellan had quite a press conference, barraged with questions about Karl Rove. Here's a sample of what went on today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUESTION: Do you say whether or not you stand by your statement September 29, 2003? "It is simply not true that Karl Rove disclosed the identity of a CIA operative."

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: John?

QUESTION: Can you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: John, I look forward to talking about this at some point, but it's not the appropriate time to talk about those questions while the investigation is continuing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Michael Isikoff of "Newsweek," bring us up-to-date. In concise fashion, what is this about?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, "NEWSWEEK": Well, this has been a nearly two- year long criminal investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel of the Justice Department, who has been appointed to investigate whether or not there was a crime committed in the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent. She, in fact, had an undercover status, she had been stationed overseas and there is a federal law that says -- Intelligence Identities Protection Act, that says it's a crime to expose the identity of a convert CIA agent.

Now, this came about, remember, in a Robert Novak column that appeared in papers on July 14, 2003. What started this week's controversy is we reported in "Newsweek" that on July 11th, three days before the Novak column, Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, chief political strategist for the president, had had a conversation with Matt Cooper of "Time Magazine" in which he told Cooper about Joe Wilson in an effort to discredit Joe Wilson, Joe Wilson being the former diplomat who had publicly criticized the White House's use of intelligence in the Iraq War and, based in part, on his own mission to Iraq -- I'm sorry, to Niger in which he was investigating claims of Iraqi attempts to buy yellow cake uranium for a nuclear bomb.

He came back and said these reports were highly doubtful and Karl Rove told Matt Cooper that Wilson's wife, who apparently works for the Agency on WMD issues, had actually authorized Wilson's trip to Africa. The key words being Wilson's wife apparently working at the agency.

KING: Julian Epstein, as you read that, did Karl Rove violate the law?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I would say to Democrats we should be careful before we come to that conclusion, but I think Karl Rove and President Bush are in a very bad situation, perhaps even a situation where there is no way out. President Bush has said that anybody that is discovered to be involved in the disclosure of the identity of Valerie Plame would be fired.

It seems to me he has got a tough choice now between what is his normally admirable quality of loyalty to his friends and staff and his word which is that he would fire somebody if they were caught being involved. This is obviously a very serious matter, legally, as you ask the question because the disclosure of a name, as Michael indicates, undercover operative is a violation of federal law. It's not just whether you disclose the name or not, but disclosure of any information according to the statute.

As a political matter, it's very serious, because this kind of effort to discredit one's political opponents is really beyond the pale and is something that I think the White House will not be able to sustain the political pressure that will come from the media and I think eventually from Republicans on this.

Karl Rove, through his lawyers and through the White House has persistently said that they were not the source. Now it comes with Michael's reporting and with the disclosure of Matt Cooper, the "Time" reporter this week that it was, in fact, Karl Rove who was a major source, if not the major source of this disclosure. Where this is going Larry, and this is key, I was just talking to Michael about this before the show. What Rove and his attorney seem to be saying now is that, yes, I did discuss the fact that this particular person in question was a CIA operative, but I didn't know her name and I didn't disclose her name. So it's almost like a question of what is the meaning of is is? It is almost like that kind of defense. Yes I did disclose that there was a CIA operative, but no, I didn't disclose the particular name.

I think that's a parsing of explanations, I think that is not going to get them very far politically and I don't think that's going to save them legally either.

KING: Michael Medved, what's your read?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, my read is reading the statute. And the statute actually says that to violate the law, it has to be a CIA operative or a government operative where the government of the United States is taking affirmative steps to try to conceal her identity and her participation. And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day. It was well known in Washington parlance, she posed for "Vanity Fair" as you see right there, with her husband, after this was disclosed.

The idea that Karl Rove knew that the government of the United States was taking affirmative steps to try to disclose or try to conceal her identity seems highly doubtful. Even Lanny Davis, partisan Democrat, my old friend, former counsel to President Clinton said that almost certainly Karl Rove did not violate the law.

And let me go back, when President Bush on September 30, 2003, that he would fire anyone who violated the law. If Karl Rove did not violate the law, and if Republicans stand solid with the president, and I think they will, then I think that this is largely an Inside the Beltway dust-up that is not going to lead to his resignation.

KING: Michael Isikoff, didn't he say he would fire anyone who leaked?

ISIKOFF: I believe classified information, yes. The fact is that there's just so many unanswered questions here. It is worth noting, everything that Michael Medved said is true that based on the records so far there's no -- in the e-mail that we disclosed in "Newsweek" that Matt Cooper wrote to his editors it's certainly true that Karl Rove doesn't seem to mention -- doesn't mention Valerie Plame's name and there's nothing to indicate he knew she were a convert operative.

And if that were the totality of the public record, we could probably close the books right now and say there was no crime here. The problem or the question for me as a journalist is that Pat Fitzgerald has been at this for a long time and he has taken a lot of grand jury testimony and he has made a number of court filings, arguing why it was so important for him to have the testimony of both Matt Cooper, who is expected to testify before the grand jury tomorrow, and Judy Miller, who has gone to jail rather than testify. And in those court filings, he has made arguments in camera -- we can't see them. We don't know them. The judges have seen them. We haven't -- why there is compelling evidence that a federal crime was committed here. And he is persuaded every judge who has read that evidence in camera that there was, at least, prima facie evidence to think there may have been a crime committed here. So I think we have to step back and wait until we see the evidence before we draw any conclusions as to whether there was a criminal committed or not.

KING: We'll get a break and we'll come right back with Michael Isikoff, Julian Epstein and Michael Medved. Here is the president two years ago. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch. There's leak notice legislative branch. There's too many leaks. And if there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Julian Epstein, we know Karl Rove has testified before the grand jury. Should he come forward now or should he wait?

EPSTEIN: I think he has got no choice. I think politically, he has painted himself into a corner. And let me just say, again, Scott McClellan at the White House several years ago would not have been issuing these Shermanesque statements that Karl Rove was not involved. His lawyers have tried to find as many way as possible that Karl Rove was not. At what point he said to the "Washington Post" that he did not call Matthew Cooper when, in fact, he didn't actually place the call, but was on the phone with him. If what Michael Medved is saying is true, I think a question that would be on your viewer's mind is why did Karl Rove, through his attorney, and why did the White House, for years, take so many steps to deny the fact that he was, in fact, the source of information to "Time" magazine? That's point one.

Point two is, I think Michael Medved is also wrong on the law. The law says quite clearly -- and again, I'm the one saying I don't think Democrats should convict Karl Rove. I don't think we have enough information to draw conclusions. And I am willing to keep an open mind on this.

But let me just tell Michael what the law says. The law says anybody who intentionally discloses any information identifying such convert agent to any individual not authorized is in violation of the law. That's as simple as it says.

MEDVED: Wait, wait, but it's identifying a convert agent. EPSTEIN: Excuse me Michael. Karl Rove's defense right now is that he simply did not use her name. And that will be his defense. I don't think it is going to wash under the reading of the statute.

MEDVED: First of all, if you take a look at the statute and people who drafted it, including Victoria Tensing, who has actually given comments about this, they clearly made it very difficult to qualify for that and they clearly meant for people who were actively engaged in convert operations and where there was an affirmative requirement that the government of the United States has been trying to conceal the identity.

EPSTEIN: Incorrect, Michael. You're just incorrect about the law. You shouldn't come on and say stuff you just don't know the background on that. You're just incorrect about that. What the law says is any disclosure, whatsoever. It doesn't give you this kind of contextual, relativist out that you're saying. Any disclosure of an individual that is a convert agent to persons not violate authorized is a violation of law. If you read the statute, it's Title 50, Section 421, if you read it, it's quite clear. Now I'm not suggesting that Karl Rove has necessarily violated the law, but I'm suggesting is that his defense, which is that he simply did not use the name, will not be a very strong defense.

MEDVED: Well, the one thing that I think is important to keep in mind is that if Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame were so deeply concerned about maintaining her convert status, for Joe Wilson to go to Niger on this mission and then for him to go very public with his doubts about the Bush administration and to go ahead and write a column in "The New York Times" which is what created this entire controversy, I don't think anyone would defend the fact that Karl Rove made these comments to Matthew Cooper of "Time" magazine, but the did idea that right now, when we're about to have a Supreme Court nomination, at least one, that is going to be fought over in Washington, when people are responding to the horrifying terrorist attacks in London, the idea that the American people at large are preoccupied by this, other than partisan Democrats who are dying to get their teeth into Karl Rove, I don't think the public at large cares.

EPSTEIN: We go from non sequitur to non sequitur. Joe Wilson wrote the op-ed piece several year ago in which the facts about the uranium claims made by the administration, his claim in the "New York Times" was in fact true and to link that now between what's going on in London I think is just a strange ...

MEDVED: No, I'm not linking it to London. I'm ...

EPSTEIN: To make the argument that we shouldn't be concerned about this because we have ...

KING: Let me get Michael Isikoff in. Michael Isikoff, isn't it true that were the shoe on the other foot, the Democrats would be yelping, the Republicans be yelping to get the Democrat out of the White House, right?

ISIKOFF: I don't think anybody would be shocked there's an element of politics on this. If the shoe is on the other foot of course. The same arguments would be made by different parties.

KING: Do you think Rove should come on public somewhere?

ISIKOFF: Well, I think there's no question, if you look at the coverage and look at the pummeling that Scott McClellan is getting, there's a political problem here, given that the White House did at one point in time pronounce on these issues and Scott McClellan used various formations. Totally ridiculous was one, when he was asked about suggestions as to whether Karl Rove was in any way involved in the leaking of this. And at another point, he said he had personally spoken to Rove and two other White House aides and he assured them and he was assuring reporters that they were no way involved.

Clearly, at a minimum, the Cooper e-mail indicates that Karl Rove was speaking about this issue prior to the Robert Novak column. And that was something that had not been disclosed before. So purely from a political standpoint and the credibility of the White House, it probably, I think, most P.R. strategists would say, better to address these issues now than down the road.

KING: We expect to do a lot more on this. We thank Michael Isikoff, Julian Epstein, and Michael Medved for joining us tonight. When we come back, a major discussion about that incredible story in Aruba that keeps on. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Natalee Holloway, still missing. Forty-four days. Joining us in Atlanta is Karl Penhaul, the CNN reporter who has covered this from the start, including a lot of reporting from Aruba. In Aruba is Dave Holloway, Natalee Holloway's father, and Robin Holloway, Natalee Holloway's stepmother. On the phone is Tim Miller, director of Texas Equusearch, that volunteer research and recovery group. They've spent nearly three weeks in Aruba.

In Miami is Stacey Honowitz, the Florida assistant state attorney. In New York is defense attorney Michael Cardoza. Also in New York is Casey Jordan. Dr. Jordan is a criminologist. Areas of expertise include violence and victimology. She teaches at Western Connecticut State University Division of Justice and Law Administration and has served as a police consultant. What is it, Karl, we have only one suspect left?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One suspect in custody, Larry, but the other two young men who were at least the last two to see Natalee, the ones who dropped her and Joran Van Der Sloot, the other suspect off the at the beach, they are also still being regarded as suspects. And officially, also, so is the Judge Paul Van Der Sloot who was arrested earlier on. Under the Aruban legal system, those people that were arrested and released from custody can still be considered as suspects.

KING: Does that mean they cannot leave the island?

PENHAUL: They have been told, I believe, that they can leave the island, if necessary. They're not seen, though, as flight risks in the sense that it's believed prosecutors believe and the judge believes if they do leave the island for any need that they have, they will return to the island to face any court hearings that may be necessary.

KING: Dave Holloway, do you still have hope for your daughter?

DAVID HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S FATHER: Well, you always -- as a parent, you always still have hopes we're going to find her. So, yeah. To answer your question, definitely, yes.

KING: Robin, what do you make of not anything? Are you frustrated?

ROBIN HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S STEP-MOTHER: Yeah. I mean, it's 44 days. That's -- you know, to us, that is a long time. We still have no answers. We still want to know where Natalee is. We want to know the answers and, yeah. These three guys, I believe, have got some answers. Well, the four guys. And from the bottom of our hearts, we just want to know what happened to Natalee. Yeah, we're frustrated. We know the investigators are doing what they can, but we still have no answers as far as what happened to Natalee.

KING: Tim Miller on the phone, director of Texas Equusearch what do you make of this?

TIM MILLER, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: You know what, Larry, I tried to stay out of the investigation end of it. We wanted to be focusing on the search end, but I think we're getting caught up now in the investigative end and I'm very angry about this case. That's why we're staying. We are determined to do everything we can do to find Natalee. I think in all honesty, and nobody on the island, including Dave, knows that we found some things today that were very, very interesting. Again ...

KING: What did you find?

MILLER: Well, we found a spot that we think possibly Natalee was at at one time until somebody moved her. And I'm very angry.

KING: At whom?

MILLER: Well, I think more could have been done here. I mean, we're not in America and we're living by different rules, but Natalee is on this island somewhere. And again, when we first got here, we said we're not leaving until we leave with her, and I'm more determined. I was very sad today at a press conference we had and our hopes go down. We have our ups and downs, but we're staying here. But we're staying here. We brought in more equipment today. And we're not anywhere close to leaving this island.

KING: And you said you found some stuff today to indicate -- I know you don't want to get into it, but you did see some evidence today that she was there?

MILLER: Well, I'm not going to say that she was there, but I'm going to say I think maybe we saw some important stuff today that we're certainly going to follow up on. We are going to cover every square inch of this island. We're going to do that. We're going to do that. We're going to make every effort to bring Natalee home. And Dave and I have spent a lot of time together. And I remember a week and a half ago Dave, Natalee's father saying I can accept the fact that maybe my daughter is dead, but I can't go home without her. And we're here to bring her home. I have very little hope that Natalee is alive. Very, very little.

KING: Stacey Honowitz, as an assistant state attorney, 44 days, would you be angry?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA STATE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: Absolutely. You can understand why everybody is angry, Larry. Everybody looks at this case, hears these three guys in custody, hears the inconsistent statements, the different stories that have been told. Everybody is pointing fingers, yet we can't make that giant leap and say that they actually did something, because, once again, we don't have a body and we don't have any forensics and we really don't know what's going on behind closed doors. Everybody is angry, because they think basically that the police really messed up the investigation. They had these guys in custody -- not in custody, but brought them in for questioning. Ten days went by, ten important days, where evidence could have been seized, which could have led to an answer in this case. And that's why everybody feels the way they do. We have to figure out if the prosecutor -- we'll know something on Thursday, if the prosecutor was able to convince the judge there is additional evidence to take these other two boys in and to keep Van Der Sloot in custody. So that's what we're waiting to see.

KING: Michael Cardoza what do you make of this? Suspects, not suspects, in custody, not in custody. What's going on?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I tell you, I just hearken back to if they were here in the United States, all of them would be out right now. They apparently don't have enough evidence. But in Aruba, they can keep them for up to 146 days to investigate the case. You know, what strikes me is that they don't have a lot. They're really struggling with the judge to keep these guys in jail. So what do they have? It appears not much in this case. And I absolutely agree with Stacey that this case may have been solved, but most cases -- and I prosecuted for 15 years -- are solved within the first couple of days. And the prosecutors down there -- not the prosecutors, but the police sat on their hands for 10 days, not investigating this properly. I think this may, unfortunately, be one of those mysteries that is really does go unsolved. And that's really sad.

KING: Dr. Jordan, you're a criminologist and work with police. What's your read from far away?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, I'm agreeing with Michael and Stacey on this. Forty-four days is what this case has going against it at this point. We can't Monday morning quarterback and talk about those 10 days and what could have happened in those ten days, but that's really critical. Our best evidence right now is the conflicting and changing stories of those three young men in those first few days. Without a body, if it's never recovered, I think the only way this case could be cleared is by confession. And if there's no body, these young men are very aware of their rights, especially Mr. Van Der Sloot, and I don't think you're ever going to get them to talk if they are released.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Karl Penhaul, is it true that under the law there, if they never find Natalee, no charges are brought?

PENHAUL: Not necessarily, Larry. In fact, if you look at Dutch law, on which Aruban law is based, there have been prosecutions in Holland based on suspected murders where the body has not, in fact, been recovered. In Aruba, there hasn't been a prosecution of that type to date. But there is provision under the law for that.

KING: Dave, Tim Miller has become your friend. Has kind of given up that she's alive. I know you have hope, but is it pretty dim?

MILLER: I've spent a lot of time with the Police Commissioner van der Straaten, and he told me that he has got enough stuff without a body for prosecution. Our deal is to bring Natalee home. That family needs that body. They need to be able to say goodbye and start their healing process.

Natalee is not alive. I'm sorry. And somebody knows. And now we're starting to get angry our own self. We're searchers over here on their island, but now I'm getting angry.

KING: Robin, what do you think happened? As you know the story to this minute?

R. HOLLOWAY: I don't know. What story? I mean, I think Dave, yesterday, I think we counted the 15th lie Joran has told. I don't know. Until they talk, we don't know what happened. I mean, you can speculate, but I mean, they did something horrible to her, but he -- I'm assuming he's one of the...

KING: Dave, do any of these guys, any of them have any records?

D. HOLLOWAY: You know, I don't know anything about that. I do know that there's three people involved. They know the answers. You know, I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. You know, this -- they'll continue to be suspects or persons of interest until the prosecutor decides that the case can no longer go forward. But, you know, three is -- you know, that's a lot of people to -- you know, and there may be others involved. That if it's only one person that knows the answer, I would really be concerned that maybe we won't find the answer, but maybe on down the road, one of these guys will slip up and make a decision to talk. Who knows.

KING: Tim Miller, is Aruba a tough place, physically, to search? MILLER: You know what? It's not as tough as we thought it would be. We brought a backhoe in today, doing some stuff. We have not cleared every inch of this island like I thought we did at one time. We brought in some other equipment today. And I'm just determined that we're not going to leave this island without Natalee. I'm really determined. And I think all our searchers are. And oh, God, I can't wait to get back to Texas, but I'm going to tell you something, I don't want to go back without Natalee.

KING: Stacey Honowitz, if it was more than one, are they going to have to depend on someone to break?

HONOWITZ: Absolutely. I think that's going to be the key in this case, Larry. You had -- you know, people were talking about maybe bringing the boys back into custody, and if they're brought back into custody, they're going to feel the squeeze. They're going to be upset that they were out with some freedom, then they were brought back in, and maybe they'll crack. That is going to be the key.

Right now, there's inconsistencies in all of the statements. We all know that there was a cover-up somewhere down the line, through somebody.

So, I think people are hoping that somebody will speak. But, you know what, Larry? Like everybody said, up until this point, it's been a long time. They didn't speak up until this point. Nobody has said anything up until now.

Thursday is going to be a very big day. We don't know what she presented to the court. We'll have to see whether or not they take these two kids back into custody.

KING: Michael, what's your reading on the judge?

CARDOZA: You know, I don't know whether they're going to bring these kids back into custody. I do know that the one judge that they went before, he is going to confer with the other two judges there, and they're going to have a discussion about the facts in the case.

I disagree with Stacey here, because let's assume these guys were involved. With that assumption, you've got to know that their defense attorneys are talking to them, and they are telling them, don't talk.

Look, the most they can keep you is 146 days. Would you rather spend 146 days in jail, or the rest of your life in jail? So, even if they put you back, don't talk. That's what the defense attorneys are telling them.

Now, on the other side, I certainly hope they are able to crack the kids, if they are, in fact, involved. But I really don't see it happening, because that's the exact advice they're going to get from their attorneys. So faced with life in prison, they're going to shut up for 146 days.

KING: Dr. Jordan, we asked this the other day -- I'm sorry. Stacey, did you want to say something? HONOWITZ: I mean, I understand what Michael is saying, but Michael, you also know there's plenty of people that do not follow the advice of their lawyer. They go against the advice of their lawyer, and you don't know what's going on in their heads. If they're brought back in after tasting a little bit of freedom, if they realized that they need to say something, they might talk. We don't know.

KING: Casey, Dr. Jordan, is there -- we said this the other night. Is there a Keystone Kops aspect to this?

JORDAN: I've got to tell you, everybody hates to bring it up, but those first 10 days really were critical. If, indeed, those three suspects are responsible, and everything seems to indicate they know more than they're saying, their initial questioning, followed by the release, would give them ample time to relocate a body, assuming Natalee was deceased at the time. And what nobody seems to answer is whether they were -- can answer is whether they were under surveillance during that time.

If, indeed, they were being followed, that's one thing. I think we would know that. I have a feeling that for those 10 days, we did not know where these boys were or what they were doing. And those 10 days are really the key to finding Natalee's body.

KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll include your phone calls on this puzzling case. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's go to phone calls for our guests. Yorba Linda, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: There is another situation that I think we ought to look at here. After 45 days of professional searching, of police work, FBI. Is it a possibility that with all of the cruise ships coming in and out of Aruba, that Natalee somehow or another maybe stranded away, met one of the employees on the ship or something and decided maybe she ought to go that way? So maybe she isn't dead. Maybe she voluntarily left with somebody with all those cruise ships. Is that a possibility?

KING: It would be a great hope, wouldn't it, Dave?

D. HOLLOWAY: Oh, definitely, it would be a great hope. I believe to get on and off the island, you have got to have a passport, and then go through security. So, you know, that's a good question, but I think the police and all the authorities have probably already covered that issue.

R. HOLLOWAY: We wish that Natalee -- you know, my hope -- you know, I hope that it did happen, but knowing Natalee, no, we know that's not the case. D. HOLLOWAY: We went through security checks just to get through the airport. It was unbelievable. So, you know, to sneak someone onto a cruise ship, that would be almost an impossibility.

KING: You would hope, you would hope, though, she's like -- wouldn't you hope, Michael, wouldn't you hope she's a prisoner somewhere?

D. HOLLOWAY: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, definitely.

CARDOZA: Certainly, you would hope she were a prisoner somewhere, but you know, one of the things that not a lot of people are talking about: There is a slave trade that goes on there.

Now, I know this case doesn't square with how kidnappings happen down there for purposes of that slave trading, but are the authorities down there exploring that? Have they looked into that? I think that would be more plausible than Natalee, who seems awfully responsible, just sort of saunters off and gets on a ship.

KING: Karl, have they looked at that aspect, the slave trade aspect, Karl Penhaul?

PENHAUL: The authorities say they have looked at those kinds of aspects, as well as a possibility as well, that she may have been kept in one of the crack houses at some stage.

But really the white slave trade doesn't work in that way and also, as far as the prospect of her getting off the island, well, you only need an identity document be that a birth certificate or driving license to fly back to the U.S. by airplane. There are also small charter planes. The coast of Venezuela is 20 miles away and there are plenty of crops that come in and out illegally.

KING: If there is hope for you family, you hope anything.

San Diego, California. Hello. Yes.

CALLER: Hello. My question is to the father of Natalee. My question is this: If after all these days and all of this attention being brought to this case, maybe it's time to back away from all of this public attention and all of this notoriety and just let the police do their job. And maybe then, it'll relax to where someone will come forward with something.

KING: Dave?

D. HOLLOWAY: Well, right now, I'm involved in the search effort along with the Texas EquuSearch and until that's finished, I don't intend to go home. Yes, the police can do their job...

KING: Tim Miller, what do you think?

MILLER: You know what, I'm extremely offended by anybody saying that Natalee went off someplace else on her own and that...

KING: Yes. I mean, wouldn't you hope that?

MILLER: Well, I would hope that.

KING: Of course.

MILLER: And I don't believe it's going to be an Elizabeth Smart case, Larry. I've had a missing daughter my own self and I've got the same feelings on this. And you know, we've got to find Natalee.

KING: To -- we go to Santa Barbara, California. Hello.

CALLER: Did you say Santa Barbara?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Why doesn't the Holloway family have a personal --a private investigator following trailing Joran's father, Paul Van Der Sloot and Deepak Kalpoe, since they're convinced they know something?

KING: Michael, you're nodding your head yes?

CARDOZA: Well, you know, I would do that. I mean, I have four children. Heck, I would do everything in my power to do that. I'd spend whatever money I had to hire investigators to come down, to follow people, to look at every lead they have.

So sure, if they can afford that, why not do that? But remember, he's on a small island there. I'm not sure there's much following to do there and if he was involved -- let's hypothetically say that he did help get rid of the body, what's following him going to do? Certainly he's smart enough not to go back to the scene of the crime. So, it may not be fruitful to do something like that, but heck, I'd try it.

KING: Dave, how many -- are you using a lot of resources of your own?

D. HOLLOWAY: No. The only resources we're using is that of the Texas EquuSearch and of course, the services of the police department. You know, they've got probably 15 detectives just assigned to this case alone. In addition to that, the FBI support is there as well. So, I think they're doing a good job and hopefully, these boys will eventually, you know, give us a clue or something to close this case.

KING: Fredericktown, Pennsylvania. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. I won't take much of your time.

About 20 years ago, my daughter, I took her -- she graduated from college. I took her down to the -- to Aruba and we rented a car and somebody stated you ought to go to the other end of the island where there's a U2 German sub that was crashed on the rocks down there.

So anyway, we rented a car and we drove to the far end of the island and there was a lighthouse there with what must have been thousands of sharks out around that submarine. Now, the early part of the investigation, I remember the young -- the Dutchman and the two natives stated that the young lady wanted to see where the sharks was and the lighthouse. I never heard more -- anything else mentioned after that, sir.

KING: Karl, what do you know about that?

PENHAUL: That, "to go and look where -- to go and watch the sharks," was an expression that I understand, came from one of the witness statements in the dossiers against the suspects. In the past, as well, there had been an area several years ago, an area where a lot of the hotels would dump some of the refuse food and sharks would congregate there. That's long since been stopped though and so, I know no place around that island where masses of sharks do congregate.

KING: So Casey Jordan, the assumption is: She is not with us. Right?

JORDAN: I -- after 44 days, I think that Tim Miller is making a safe assumption. That's what's fueling his search. You know, I've been more of a fan of the theory that the body would have been put out to sea, but after talking to a very experienced dive master and looking a little bit at moon phases and things I've been able to access by the Internet, I'm a little bit 50/50 on that. And I think that there's a good reason that Tim Miller and his crew should continue looking on the island.

A lot of indicators show, you know, there's so many variables involved, that if the body were put to sea from shore, it would have floated to shore. There's really no indication of rip tides or anything that would have taken a body out to sea.

The one thing everyone has quit talking about, of course, was a person of interest named Mr. Croes, who was a deejay on a party boat and who apparently had a great deal of maritime experience. He was, of course, detained and then, eventually, released.

But I'm very curious about the theory that perhaps he and Van Der Sloot were involved in taking the boat out secretly and perhaps, disposing of the body out to sea, which, in fact, would make it almost impossible to find at this juncture.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more and more of your calls. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The Holloways had to leave us. The rest of the group remains.

Birmingham, Alabama. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Yes. My heart really goes out to the family, the Holloway-Tweedy family. My question is: Have -- are there any searches going on, on any surrounding islands, for Natalee?

KING: Tim Miller?

MILLER: Go ahead.

KING: Any searches going on, on surrounding islands?

MILLER: You know what, we're interested in a boat that left here and went to Venezuela that we can't locate. So, I'm not going to say that it's not an impossibility and another thing I must say, there are some detectives here that's working this case, private detectives, that maybe Natalee's father doesn't even know. I mean, we've been in contact with a lot of people here. There's a lot of interest here and nobody is forgetting about Natalee. We're coming up with a lot of good information, but were not coming up with Natalee.

KING: Stacy, the idea of a boat taking her out into the ocean, isn't that logical?

HONOWITZ: Absolutely and I would think that as the prosecutor over there and the detectives would have thought that that was a possibility right from the start, so you would hope that that would have been a key part of the investigation, to try to figure out if she was taken out by boat. It only makes sense, you're on an island. What's the best way to dispose of a body? Take the body out to sea.

So as all these indications, everything is done behind closed doors, we're not privy to any of this investigation. We don't know what kind of evidence this prosecutor has brought to light. And I think she's holding on to the hope that there is some forensics, because what your viewers have to remember is, they did send some things to the lab, that they're waiting to get back. They're waiting to get back phone conversations, textmail, e-mails, things like that, that there might be something to indicate that these boys did do something to Natalee, and, in fact, they covered it up.

KING: To Landsdale, Pennsylvania. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, thank you for calling -- thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: We'd love to have you, Stacey, and Nancy Grace in my corner. We know how much Aruba depends on American tourist travel. What do you think about boycotting travel to Aruba, and creating a Web site, basically until Natalee is found?

KING: What do you think of that, Michael?

CARDOZA: I didn't hear the question, Larry, could you repeat it?

KING: A boycott to Aruba until Natalee is found.

CARDOZA: You know, you have got to think there's a lot of PR things going on down in Aruba. But I, in good faith, personally believe from everything I've read from everybody that I've talked to, that they really are doing their best to investigate this. But I was a prosecutor for 15 years, a defense attorney for 15 now, and I know that in the bigger cities, where there are more homicides that happen, they are the people that are really the skilled people. Down in Aruba, not because of their own fault, but they don't investigate crimes like this, so they don't have the same skills that other investigators have.

That's why I think they should call on other people, bring them in. Let the FBI in there. Let them help in this search. Let them help.

But, again, I still get back to the first 15 days to this, and say, you should have done it right from the get-go, unfortunately.

KING: You agree? Dr. Jordan, you agree?

JORDAN: Absolutely. And boycotting Aruba wouldn't accomplish anything. I mean, good and bad people exist everywhere. This is the work of people, it's not the work of an entire island nation.

So, we need to keep working with cooperation. You know, as much as we may regret the first 10 days of the investigation, it's important that if we're going to get answers, that we respect their laws and respect their criminal procedure, and just do the best to keep a media spotlight on this case so that the pressure is there, but they have the freedom to go about solving this case the way they do.

KING: We'll be back with more. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Santa Ana, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi there.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I remember -- I vaguely remember Beth, Natalee's mother, saying that after being in the Van Der Sloot's home, she felt that Natalee had been there. It seems to me that the only property that has not been searched, that we have not heard of them doing anything on. Does Aruban law allow for them to get a search warrant and go in there and take care of that property?

KING: Karl Penhaul, do you know?

PENHAUL: The Van Der Sloot home has in fact been searched. It's been searched now a couple of times, on the day that Joran Van Der Sloot was arrested, and then a few days subsequently. Some possessions were taken out of that building, and two vehicles were seized from that property as well.

So far, though, publicly, as far as we know, we don't know of any forensic evidence that was gleaned during those searches.

KING: Victoria, British Columbia. Hello. CALLER: Hi.

KING: Hello.

CALLER: I just have a quick question. Can the United States embassy or the United States government intervene when this involves an American citizen?

KING: Stacey?

HONOWITZ: Well, the situation is -- and when we talked about it earlier, people keep asking, why isn't the FBI going over? What's going on?

The FBI is involved to a certain extent, but what people have to know is they do not have the arrest power, the jurisdiction to arrest anybody over there. So, what's going on is the United States is helping in the respect that the FBI is over there, helping with the investigation, trying to use some of the investigation techniques, but they will never have the ability to make an arrest in this case. So that's as far as the United States can really intervene in this investigation.

KING: Michael, why are you shaking your head?

CARDOZA: I'm shaking my head, because you know what this reminds me of -- and Stacey, you might agree with me here. It's like the feds with local government. Their big egos get in the way, and they won't cooperate with each other. So what happened here, the Aruban police started to investigate this -- and I don't know this for sure -- but egos get blown out, and no, no, we can handle this, we don't need your help, let us do it.

And I also laughed, because the house, Paul Van Der Sloot's house was searched, what, 10, 15 days after this crime? Come on.

HONOWITZ: It's ridiculous. You'll never find anything.

CARDOZA: By then, by then, he's cleaned it out if there was anything there. I mean, you know, too much, too little, too late. It's sad the egos got involved -- no, we don't need anybody's help. They should have allowed the American authorities to come in, people with the expertise in murder cases to come in and investigate, and push the ego aside.

KING: Casey, do you think they may well not solve this at all?

JORDAN: I think that you've got two really viable options here. First of all, again, I'm 50/50 on whether her body is still on the island or put out to sea. If it's out to sea, it's gone. It would have floated -- it would have been recovered within the first few days if that were the case. If it's on the island, I have great faith that Tim Miller and his crew will find it.

It could be a long time. It could be a long time, but it's -- it's amazing how often we do find bodies months, even years afterwards.

If the body is never recovered, I really don't think this case will ever be solved. You've got three young men who understand that their future depends on them keeping their mouths shut. And I believe Michael's correct. Their attorneys have talked to them and told them to keep their mouths shut.

I would love to believe Stacey that they might crack under pressure if they're brought back in, but they are young; they know they have their futures ahead of them, and they know that all depends on them never confessing. And without a body or a confession, you're never going to solve this case.

KING: Tim, Tim, we only have 30 seconds. If your -- if the body is out to sea, your hope is -- your case is hopeless?

MILLER: Well, you know, it could be hopeless. But you know what, going back to the family's house, we brought in some special equipment to do wells and manhole covers and stuff. And I would love to get in their backyard, because I understand there's an abandoned well in their backyard that I certainly would like to put this equipment down into. So, I would hope somebody would honor us in letting us -- us in their backyard to do that. And if I get egg on my face, I get egg on my face. But you know what, I want to clear that.

KING: Let's hope so. Thank you all very much. The parents earlier, and Karl Penhaul, Tim Miller, Stacey Honowitz, Michael Cardoza and Dr. Casey Jordan.

Tomorrow night, the hit ABC show "Dancing With the Stars." We've got the winners, the runner-ups, it's going to be terrific. Jessica Hahn returns Thursday night. Art Linkletter on Friday.

Right now, speaking of stars, here's -- you know what's coming. "NEWSNIGHT" is next.

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": No, I never know what's coming.

KING: With one of our CNN stars, our celestial beings, our man at the top of the hour, Aaron Brown. Mr. B, the platform is yours. Carry on!

BROWN: Thank you, sir. We'll talk again soon. Thank you, Larry.

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