News & Politics

James O’Keefe, ACORN Stinger, Stung in Senator’s Office for “Manipulating” Phones: FBI (Updated)


On Monday four men including James O’Keefe — the investigative reporter who donned pimp gear to secret-video misbehaving ACORN employees, leading to national scandals and a Runnin’ Scared Andrew Breitbart interview — were arrested after three of them bluffed their way into Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and accused of “entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony.”

Details from the FBI affidavit — which describes two of the men as “posing as telephone repairmen” and says they “manipulated the telephone system” in Landrieu’s New Orleans office — suggest that the suspects may have been trying to tap the Democratic Senator’s phones*.

O’Keefe was not tricked out as a repairman, but represented himself as “waiting for someone to arrive” and was observed by a witness to be recording the fake repairmen with a cell phone.

O’Keefe’s compatriots are named in the release as Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan, and Stan Dai. Flanagan is the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana. Lindsay Beyerstein wonders if it’s this Stan Dai, a George Washington University Young Republican-amateur spy type. (Dai was not on premises, but admitted to helping plan the job.) Nobody seems to know much about Basel, though Gawker has some possibilities.

Rightbloggers are taking it slow with the one. The usually intemperate Michelle Malkin says “this is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up.” “I am hoping that James O’Keefe didn’t let his celebrity go to his head,” says Left Coast Rebel, “and decide that he was above the law.” Leftbloggers are more inclined toward what Ta-Nehisi Coates calls “your flagon of schadenfreude.”

Breitbart, who had run O’Keefe’s ACORN sting videos and later hired him into his media empire, says he doesn’t know anything about it besides what he’s read about it in the corrupt mainstream media.

*Update — Now that we’ve read at Talking Points Memo about O’Keefe’s presentation, scheduled for last week, to the rightwing Pelican Institute, of which Flanagan is a member, on the usefulness of New Media in “Exposing Truth,” we wonder if these plumbers were all in attendance at the event and had a collective brainstorm. Other people are talking about Watergate, but it may be that the alleged perps, all of them 24 years old (except O’Keefe, who is 25), may have imagined that the next presentation, or DVD proposal, would be really hot if it showed people how to Get In Anywhere.


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