Conservative Activist Jailed for Aiding and Abetting Interference of a Senator’s Phone System

Remember James O’Keefe? He’s the young buck who became famous for catching all those ACORN criminals on tape talking about breaking the law to setup a house full of illegal underage prostitutes. Now he’s in jail for illegally entering Senator Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office under false pretenses in what looks like a failed attempt to plant a listening device on her telephone line. What. A. Dumbass.

From HotAir here:

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street about 11 a.m. Monday, dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th floor office, O’Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.

When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affadavit, observed O’Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O’Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event.

They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and both went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.

The US Marshalls swept up four men, O’Keefe included. The story continues at Nola here and says:

The four men appeared in federal magistrate court Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Louis Moore wearing red inmate jumpsuits from St. Bernard Parish Prison. Moore is allowing the men to be released on $10,000 bond each.

Even if these four men had strong suspicion of crimes being committed by the Senator, you do not enter a Federal building under false pretenses and absolutely do NOT try to bug the freakin’ phone lines! This kid probably just ended any career aspirations he had in politics and he will likely never get a security clearance. And he may end up with a couple of years in the Big House. And one thing’s for sure- of all the prisons in the US to pick to spend a few years hiding from rapists, you don’t want the one in New Orleans. Dumbass.

UPDATE: Alaska Infidel has it right. The original headline said he was in jail for attempted wiretapping of the Senator’s phone system. According to the FBI affidavit, he was jailed because he aided and abetted malicious interference of the Senator’s phone system.

It is interesting to note that the NOLA story quoted above that an “anonymous official” said that one of the four was busted with a listening device. I haven’t heard much more on that, but a listening device can be something as simple as an iPod touch with skype installed.

An official close to the investigation said one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator’s offices. He spoke on condition of anonymity because that information was not included in official arresting documents.

However, I maintain that O’Keefe was a dumbass in this attempt to do whatever journalistic stunt he was planning. It obviously failed epicly. I think the prevailing message coming from Breitbart and O’Keefe is that the stunt was supposed to catch Landrieu not answering telephones, which, who cares if she doesn’t? Bad planning and worse execution for a gotcha story that really doesn’t matter much.

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10 comments on “Conservative Activist Jailed for Aiding and Abetting Interference of a Senator’s Phone System
  1. Give this one 72 hours before you brand him “dumbass” with the red hot iron of Truth. Let’s see what floats up.

  2. If you have any theories now would be the time to offer them because I can’t think of how this can turn out well for James. The law against what he did is pretty clear. I don’t want to believe it either but what else can one conclude?

  3. A statement at BigGovernment.

    The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.

    As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN. For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.

    I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that, “Our lines have been jammed for weeks.” I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for “weeks” because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.
    There’s more like this out there.
    It may still be bad for him, but….toadbile was right.

  4. The FBI affidavit said that one of them were apprehended with a listening device. And if they wanted to see if no one was answering the phone, they sure as hell didn’t need access to a Federal Building’s wiring closet.

    Also, if a Senator doesn’t want to answer her phones in her own office, that’s her business. How do you film people not anwering phones anyways? Even if this was supposed to go down like O’Keefe said, it was a dumb idea and criminal to enter a Federal building under false pretenses.

    Bottom line is he committed a crime for a non-story. I’m afraid the dumbass tag must remain.

  5. The headline is false. He was not attempting to tap the phones.
    Sorry Pat…you should change the headline. Dumbass or not, (Dumbass in this case I agree) he is not charged with wiretapping.
    O’KEEFE: Well, let me be clear about this point. There is no bugging, there was no wiretapping, there was no interfering with phones. Not only was there no interfering with phones we never even thought about interfering with phones. It never even occurred to us.

    So all that is completely false. A lot of these reporters just flat out, I think, slandered me. Immediately off the gun. They jumped the gun on the story. And we’re still waiting for corrections from dozens of newspapers — mainstream media newspapers.

  6. Ok, you were right and I corrected the headline. And it wasn’t the affidavit that claimed the listening device was on one of the men, but an anonymous tipster. That may be bogus or it might be something a prosecutor can leverage to try to get O’Keefe and Co. to cop to a plea.

    He still shouldn’t have been in that office.

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