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January 26, 2010 2:05 PM   Subscribe

The FBI has arrested James O'Keefe, one of the filmmakers behind the ACORN "pimp" video, and three others over an alleged plot to tap the phones in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (Previously: 1,2,3)
posted by ekroh (263 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hoo-ray for racist dickbags getting their come-uppance! Also: Hoo-ray for hy-phens!
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's hard out there for a fake pimp.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:07 PM on January 26, 2010 [67 favorites]


The FauxNews reporting on this is hilarious by the way.
posted by Big_B at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2010


This is my shocked face. Now here's my O ('Keefe) face.
posted by hal9k at 2:09 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love poetic justice.
posted by bearwife at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2010


heh... With all the depressing news these days I needed a good laugh. Thank you sir
posted by slapshot57 at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Question: Do we have to refer to he and the others as "filmmakers"?

I mean, as someone with a touch of Irish heritage, I cringed upon seeing his name, so I assumed...
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2010


FBI affidavit filed in alleged wiretapping plot (PDF).
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2010


From the article: "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."

How mind-boggling stupid do you have to be to videotape yourself committing a felony? Its time for some old-school purges in the republican party.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:11 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


As TPM points out it was on federal property, so that's a federal offense.

Of course the right wing noise machine will say it was all in good fun and they are being unfairly persecuted for their ideology.
posted by Max Power at 2:11 PM on January 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


One of his accomplices, Robert Flanagan, is the son of William J. Flanagan, the acting U.S. attorney for western Louisiana
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on January 26, 2010


Hilarious!
posted by georg_cantor at 2:13 PM on January 26, 2010


Bathtub Bobsled, I assume you are objecting to the lack of a hyphen in "filmmakers."
posted by Mister_A at 2:13 PM on January 26, 2010


Dude is going up the river for a long, long time.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:13 PM on January 26, 2010


Right-wing spin in 3...2...1...

WELL THAT HORRIBLE DEMOCRAT MUST HAVE BEEN UP TO SOMETHING PARTICULARLY HORRIBLE FOR THAT BRAVE BOY TO RISK JAIL AND HIS BRIGHT FUTURE JUST TO EXPOSE HER.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2010 [22 favorites]


<nelson> HA HA </nelson>
posted by gamera at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2010 [18 favorites]


It will be interesting to see how hard (or not) it goes for him from here.

One the one hand, bugging a senator's office is generally frowned upon - unless you're FBI. On the other hand, Eric Holder is a wimp who probably doesn't want to be seen as "persecuting" a teabagger hero who targeted a Democrat.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Question: Do we have to refer to he and the others as "filmmakers"?

Yes. 'Plumbers' was already taken.
posted by grounded at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2010 [22 favorites]


There are senators all over the Hill right now checking their phones for bugs. No wonder the "healthcare reform" bribes...er, I mean negotiations... have been on hold.
posted by LakesideOrion at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was an O.J.-level act of stupidity in the form of breaking the law after skating the first time.

I guess this slightly taints my previous statement that these guys will enjoy a Fox News job in the near future, but on the other hand, Gordon Liddy and Oliver North both have shows now.

Oh well. Enjoy prison, Jimmy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


...one of the filmmakers behind the ACORN "pimp" video


Lest we forget:
ACORN Workers Cleared Of Illegality By Outside Probe.

ACORN Cleared of Wrongdoing By Another Independent Investigation.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2010 [24 favorites]


In their defense, they are Republicans. They think you can wiretap anyone for any reason.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2010 [40 favorites]


Pastabagel: "From the article: How mind-boggling stupid do you have to be to videotape yourself committing a felony?"

Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2010 [56 favorites]


Joe, the thing to remember, as you're well aware, is that the Senator can make life really unpleasant for the DA if he shows any hint of favoritism toward this guy. It will be difficult to be taken seriously as a "law and order" guy in the future if the DA doesn't negotiate an appropriately punitive disposition for this case.
posted by Mister_A at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


To save you from searching, here's the Fox News coverage, which sets the stage so well:
The independent filmmaker who brought ACORN to its knees last year with an undercover expose was arrested this week along with three others, including the son of a federal prosecutor, and accused of trying to interfere with the phones at Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.
And if you're like me, you were wondering what a "right wing noise machine" might look like. wonder no more (Google image search result #1).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also, one of the four arrested, Robert Flanagan, is the son of the acting US Attorney for Louisiana, William Flanagan. That's just crazy.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:19 PM on January 26, 2010


the Senator can make life really unpleasant for the DA

This was federal property and it'll be a federal prosecutor, not a DA.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


In related news from January 22, 2010: Pennsylvania ACORN Housing Employee Sues Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe. The complaint (PDF).
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


So at worst the defendant(s) will spend a few years in a minimum security Federal Club-med prison and will re-enter society to a plethora of pre-arranged high paying book deals and lectures.

But the actual damage - the Bill that defunded Acorn and the damage done to it's reputation- the REAL reason this fiasco took place happened just as it was planned to happen.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:21 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh relax people. He's gonna be JUST FINE. After all, G. Gordon Liddy still has a job.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:22 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


His cell phone uses videotape?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:22 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mister_A: "Joe, the thing to remember, as you're well aware, is that the Senator can make life really unpleasant for the DA if he shows any hint of favoritism toward this guy. "

But that's the rub. If it's a federal offense - by virtue of having been commited on federal property - then wouldn't jurisdiction be held by the DOJ rather than the New Orleans DA?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:22 PM on January 26, 2010


Or, what allen.spaulding said.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:23 PM on January 26, 2010


...including the son of a federal prosecutor.

Awkward.

O'Keefe's lawyer, Michael Madigan defended his client's character.

"We don't have any of the facts yet, but James O'Keefe, at heart, is a really good kid," Madigan said in a statement to Fox News. "We are looking into this further and are awaiting hearing from James directly."


No facts yet? I find that a bit difficult to believe. He's screwed.
posted by jquinby at 2:23 PM on January 26, 2010


Can't wait to see Breitbart all huffy and out of breath, crying about his poor, persecuted buddies.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:23 PM on January 26, 2010


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.


How fucking stupid are you to record yourself breaking the law? Did this fuckwit really think the internet was just magically going to get him off the hook, or merely that his accomplice was a U.S. attorney's son?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:24 PM on January 26, 2010


Goddamn, I love Louisiana politics.
posted by ColdChef at 2:24 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yes, it is DOJ jurisdiction. This is an FBI arrest. FBI is an agency of DOJ.
posted by bearwife at 2:26 PM on January 26, 2010


> Activist James O'Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu's New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen...

That sounds like the setup for a truly horrific porn movie.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:27 PM on January 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


"As for yesterday's arrests, the attorney for Robert Flanagan -- asked for what could have been his client's motivation -- said, 'I think it was poor judgment. I don't think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime.'

Of course. It was just a third-rate phone tampering."*
Ha Ha!
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on January 26, 2010


I can't wait to see Brietbart pay the kid's bail, and then O'Keefe will wear this mark on his record as a badge of honor.

Or, if he does get a minimum sentence, he martyrs himself and becomes the right wing Che Guevara. "I spent 15 days, in a jail cell, with poor people!"
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:28 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


<nixon> Aroo. </nixon>
posted by peppito at 2:29 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


"We don't have any of the facts yet, but James O'Keefe, at heart, is a really good kid," Madigan said in a statement to Fox News.

A) That seems really doubtful
B) He's not going to get sailed down Shit River because of what secrets lurk in his heart. You're not allowed to plead nolo I'm A Good Christian Boy.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 2:30 PM on January 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Staffers on Capitol Hill were calling it the Louisiana Purchase. On the eve of Saturday's showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn't secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state. And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote -- and to trumpet the financial "fix" she had arranged for Louisiana. "I am not going to be defensive," she declared. "And it's not a $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix."
posted by LakesideOrion at 2:31 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


But he was just trying to be like all those grown up republicans and show them that he can illegally wiretap phones as well.
posted by Sargas at 2:31 PM on January 26, 2010


Can't wait to see Breitbart all huffy and out of breath...
"Statement from Andrew Breitbart:

'We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.'"
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on January 26, 2010


What would be the point of bugging her office?

What was the target footage they thought they might obtain?
posted by hoople at 2:32 PM on January 26, 2010


"Do we have to refer to he and the others as 'filmmakers'?"

Oh, all right.

Filmic storytellers it is.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:32 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Comments on Fox "News" are excellent:


WHY ISN'T THE FBI INVESTIGATING ACORN FOR EXTORTION,INTIMIDATION AND PROMOTING TAX EVASION--OF COURSE IN THE DEMOCRAT PARTY TAX EVASION IS LEGAL----


Can you say set up? They took the bait, hook, line and sinker!! Very stupid on their part!


Strange, where's the outrage that should be directed at holder and his BS deal of allowing monies to be paid to acorn even after being banned because of illegalities. I guess it's only illegal until the president and his cronnies do it.


If these young men are prosecuted, it will be purely for political reasons.
posted by four panels at 2:33 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude is going up the river for a long, long time.

Nah, he'll just get a gig as a talk radio host. They don't jail Republicans for breaking the laws in this country.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:33 PM on January 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


The sheer glee some members of this thread have for what is simply an idiot committing a very stupid felony is a little disturbing. It's not a victory party. Even the title "Gotcha" implies "hot damn, we finally caught that guy that made us look bad!"

The ACORN thing was stupid. This is stupid. Can this idiot just go to jail and we can talk about something actually important?
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 2:34 PM on January 26, 2010


Associated Press:
" Reached by phone Tuesday about the Landrieu allegations, Breitbart said, 'I know nothing of it other than people are asking me questions.'

In the past, Breitbart has said O’Keefe—now a paid contributor to biggovernment.com—is an independent contractor not an employee.

O’Keefe has been sued in Pennsylvania and Maryland based on the ACORN videos; he does not have an attorney of record in either case and attempts Tuesday to locate a lawyer who might represent him were not successful."
I wonder who's going to set up the O'Keefe Defense Fund?
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on January 26, 2010


Oh hey, yeah that's right. Federal property. Hmm. Still, seems like the Senator could probably make life exquisitely awful for a US Atty who mishandled a case like this.
posted by Mister_A at 2:35 PM on January 26, 2010


What would be the point of bugging her office?

There's speculation that it might have had something to do with Health Care Reform.
"Senator Landrieu, one of the last Democratic holdouts in the Senate to vote for the health care bill, first negotiated an increase in Medicaid funds before she voted in favor of the legislation."*
posted by ericb at 2:37 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The more that comes out about how ridiculous this guy and the ACORN mess are, the angrier I am at the Democrats, left- to moderate-leaning media, and every other otherwise rational person who let renegade Republicans and their ilk get away with it.
posted by lunit at 2:38 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can this idiot just go to jail and we can talk about something actually important?

FIAMO. And while you're at it your free to make an FPP which you think is important.
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on January 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


TheFlamingoKing: I imagine people here are extra pissed because what he did led to federal funds to help poor people being stripped. It's not about, "looking bad."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ugh. This kid got a undergraduate degree in philosophy from the department I'm at. Sorry we didn't beat some sense into him.
posted by painquale at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even the title "Gotcha" implies "hot damn, we finally caught that guy that made us look bad!"

I was really going for more of a double entendre kind of thing. The headline of the linked article calls him a "gotcha man." See what I did there? Makes ya think.
posted by ekroh at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2010


TheFlamingoKing -- there's is still an open thread or two regarding the tragedy in Haiti. Take a wander over there and you can talk about important things there.
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2010


The sheer glee some members of this thread have for what is simply an idiot committing a very stupid felony is a little disturbing. It's not a victory party. Even the title "Gotcha" implies "hot damn, we finally caught that guy that made us look bad!"

O'keefe is a little Rush Limbaugh in the making, a cancer on the public dialogue, an activist for the Overton Window. Seeing his career as a right wing celebrity destroyed by over-reaching is definitely cause for glee.
posted by fatbird at 2:40 PM on January 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


*you're free to make an FPP*
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on January 26, 2010


The ACORN thing was stupid. This is stupid. Can this idiot just go to jail and we can talk about something actually important?
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 2:34 PM on January 26 [+] [!]


I, for one, am anxiously awaiting your VERY IMPORTANT fpp.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:41 PM on January 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


Presumably, based on their past actions, the intent was to use any material gleaned to harass and cause harm to a community they disagree with; so... terrorism? Hate crime? Being a colossal douchbag in public? Surely there must be some appropriate charge to add a bit of right-wing-hard-on-crime-mandatory-minimum time to his sentence.
posted by quin at 2:41 PM on January 26, 2010


The ACORN thing was stupid.

True, but it was a "stupid" thing that spurred a nearly instantaneous legislative response. That makes it significantly more relevant than just a run of the mill idiot committing a run of the mill felony.
posted by shen1138 at 2:41 PM on January 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


wait wait wait, so you're telling me that god fearing honest republicans who had been caught committing fraud and slandering an arguably democratic leaning organization without suffering any repercussions for doing so THEN went on to commit a felony in further attempts to slander democrats?

YOU'RE FUCKING KIDDING ME.
posted by shmegegge at 2:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, Eric Holder is a wimp who probably doesn't want to be seen as "persecuting" a teabagger hero who targeted a Democrat.

Can you at least give me fair warning before the circular firing squad does its thang? I hate stray bullets.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


It shouldn't be a federal crime to break federal law in an attempt to undermine the federal government if you really disagree with them. I believe this is true in all cases, especially for really crazy people.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:44 PM on January 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


I like find it disturbing that you guys are all talking about stuff that I don't think is worth talking about so I thought I'd talk about that.

Anyway, I'm glad this disingenuous asshole got caught. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
posted by defenestration at 2:46 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are we taking bets on how many minutes it'll be before the kid rolls over on Breitbart?
posted by mullingitover at 2:49 PM on January 26, 2010


Are we taking bets on how many minutes it'll be before the kid rolls over on Breitbart?

Even odds that he'll enjoy an assisted "suicide" before any dirt is exposed on the right-wing media machine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:52 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in the mirror universe...
posted by bicyclefish at 2:53 PM on January 26, 2010


Okay, Karma. Now's your chance to prove you exist. If he becomes a pariah, you exist. If this just becomes the right wing's evidence of POOP (People Opressed by Obama's Politics), you're a fantasy.

Either way, are you there, schadenfreude? It's me, Timothy.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:54 PM on January 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


October 7, 2009

Rep. Pete Olson today introduced a resolution in honor of Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe III for their diligent investigative journalism exposing the fraudulent and potentially illegal activities of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN.

co-sponsored by:

Todd Akin [R-MO2]
Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD6]
Joe Barton [R-TX6]
Rob Bishop [R-UT1]
Jo Bonner [R-AL1]
John Boozman [R-AR3]
Paul Broun [R-GA10]
Henry Brown [R-SC1]
John Campbell [R-CA48]
John Carter [R-TX31]
Howard Coble [R-NC6]
Tom Cole [R-OK4]
Michael Conaway [R-TX11]
John Culberson [R-TX7]
Mary Fallin [R-OK5]
Trent Franks [R-AZ2]
Louis Gohmert [R-TX1]
Kay Granger [R-TX12]
Ralph Hall [R-TX4]
Jim Jordan [R-OH4]
Steve King [R-IA5]
John Kline [R-MN2]
Doug Lamborn [R-CO5]
Blaine Luetkemeyer [R-MO9]
Daniel Lungren [R-CA3]
Kenny Marchant [R-TX24]
Joseph Pitts [R-PA16]
Bill Posey [R-FL15]
Phil Roe [R-TN1]
Jean Schmidt [R-OH2]
John Shadegg [R-AZ3]
posted by Joe Beese at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2010 [13 favorites]


From Free Republic:
FREE THE NEW ORLEANS 4.
You just can't parody those people.
posted by fatbird at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2010 [24 favorites]


This guy should totally have the right to play D&D in prison. Now that's something I think we can all agree on.
posted by chinston at 2:59 PM on January 26, 2010 [20 favorites]


D&D, maybe, but not Call of Duty.
posted by box at 3:00 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


It'll be interesting to see how the DOJ messes up this case such that these guys go free (see also: Ted Stevens, those Blackwater contractors).
posted by dirigibleman at 3:01 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


I love the fact that these fucknuts were wearing hardhats and pretending to be telephone repairmen.
posted by ColdChef at 3:01 PM on January 26, 2010


I love the fact that these fucknuts were wearing hardhats and pretending to be telephone repairmen.

I'm just sad that it didn't end like the relevant scene in Wayne's World 2 - with a Village People dance off.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:02 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


INT. JAIL CELL
James O'KEEFE is sprawled on the BOTTOM BUNK
ENTER George W. BUSH, holding tape recorder and cables.

BUSH: Do you know what this is? The FBI found it in Madame Senator's office.
O'KEEFE: Listen, Dub, it's not mine. I'm holding it for a friend.
BUSH: You lie! Your prints are all over it! Who taught you how to use it?
O'KEEFE: From you, alright! I learned it from watching you!

BUSH, ashamed, sits down on the cell's toilet and holds his head in shame.

NARRATION (VO): Parties who violate civil liberties have children who violate civil liberties.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:03 PM on January 26, 2010 [45 favorites]


That freeper thread is HILARIOUS. They claim it's a frame-up and that the FBI is now dominated by lefties, until someone points out that he's admitted everything. I'm just waiting for them to complain that he was waterboarded.

We're through the mirror.
posted by unSane at 3:05 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Let's get this straight: Any armchair lawyers know what the minimum/maximum sentences are for this kid? It sounds like it's not quite a felony, just intent to commit a felony, at least in the article.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:08 PM on January 26, 2010


> Activist James O'Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu's New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen...

That sounds like the setup for a truly horrific porn movie.


"You can imagine where it goes from there."

"He bugs the phonelines?"

"Don't be fatuous Jeffery."
posted by brevator at 3:09 PM on January 26, 2010 [14 favorites]


There's just something about this guy's face that makes me want to strike it with a hard object.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:10 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Michelle Malkin and some other right wing bloggers are acting like he was ignorant of the fact that wiretapping is illegal.

Has he been living under a rock? Watergate? The Bush controversies? The Bill of Rights? If he doesn't know of those things, he's too ignorant for politics. If he did, he knowingly tried to commit a felony.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:16 PM on January 26, 2010



Michelle Malkin and some other right wing bloggers are acting like he was ignorant of the fact that wiretapping is illegal.


Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense.
posted by Max Power at 3:19 PM on January 26, 2010


Michelle Malkin and some other right wing bloggers are acting like he was ignorant of the fact that wiretapping is illegal.

which, of course, the laws actually says is no excuse for breaking the law.

But don't let that stop you, Michelle! Lord knows reality hasn't ever affected your work before.
posted by shmegegge at 3:20 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can this idiot just go to jail and we can talk about something actually important?

*cries*

posted to MetaFilter by babyoolong at 2:63 PM on January 11, 2011 [71 favorites +]
posted by y2karl at 3:21 PM on January 26, 2010


Any armchair lawyers know what the minimum/maximum sentences are for this kid? It sounds like it's not quite a felony, just intent to commit a felony, at least in the article.
"All four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony....If convicted, FLANAGAN, BASEL, O’KEEFE, and DAI each face a maximum term of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment."*
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


ericb: "There's speculation that it might have had something to do with Health Care Reform."

Landrieu is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

So it would be irresponsible of us not to speculate as to whether O'Keefe was plotting a DEADLY TERROR ATTACK.

Waterboarding him is the only way to be sure.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:28 PM on January 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats.

Before being arrested, O'Keefe asked the guys where they got the pimp vests.
posted by qvantamon at 3:28 PM on January 26, 2010


Acorn is important. They help poor people in the U.S. That's important.
posted by angrycat at 3:29 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


FBI Press Release:
Four Men Arrested for Entering Government Property Under False Pretenses for the Purpose of Committing a Felony

NEW ORLEANS—JOSEPH BASEL, age 24; ROBERT FLANAGAN, age 24; JAMES O’KEEFE, age 25; and STAN DAI, age 24, were charged in a criminal complaint with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, announced the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

According to the complaint, which was unsealed earlier today, the arrest of FLANAGAN, BASEL, O’KEEFE, and DAI took place after BASEL and O’KEEFE attempted to gain access to the New Orleans office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu on January 25, 2010, while posing as telephone repairmen. According to the complaint, FLANAGAN and BASEL were each dressed in blue denim pants, blue work shirts, light green fluorescent vests, tool belts, and construction-style hard hats when they entered the Hale Boggs Federal Building, located at 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. Once in the building, FLANAGAN and BASEL sought access to the offices of Senator Landrieu. O’KEEFE was already present in the office, holding a cellular phone so as to record FLANAGAN and BASEL. Once inside Senator Landrieu’s reception area, FLANAGAN and BASEL told a member of Senator Landrieu’s staff that they were telephone repairmen, and they requested access to the main telephone at the reception desk. FLANAGAN and BASEL then manipulated the telephone system. FLANAGAN and BASEL next requested access to the telephone closet because they needed to perform work on the main telephone system. They were directed to the main office of the United States General Services Administration, also inside the Hale Boggs Federal Building, where they again represented themselves to be employees of the telephone company and stated that they needed to perform repair work in the telephone closet. Both FLANAGAN and BASEL stated that they had left their credentials in their vehicle. In addition, the complaint alleges that O’KEEFE and DAI assisted FLANAGAN and BASEL in the planning, coordination, and preparation of the operation. The men were apprehended by the United States Marshal’s Service soon thereafter.

If convicted, FLANAGAN, BASEL, O’KEEFE, and DAI each face a maximum term of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The United States Attorney’s Office reiterated that the complaint is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation is being conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Deputy Marshals with the United States Marshal’s Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.
posted by ericb at 3:31 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


$10,000 bail seems light for a federal crime with a potential 10 year sentence.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:34 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rep. Pete Olson today introduced a resolution in honor of Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe III for their diligent investigative journalism...

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) Who Sponsored Resolution Honoring O’Keefe Criticizes the Landrieu Sting.
posted by ericb at 3:34 PM on January 26, 2010


This will eventually lead to them constructing a base in the subway system of Metropolis and plotting to make millions in real estate by dropping California into the ocean.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2010


>$10,000 bail seems light...
If he is put in prison, who will stand up for the imaginary child prostitutes?
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:41 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Lindsay Beyerstein wonders if it's this Stan Dai1, 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. "*
1 -- "Stan Dai spoke about torture and terrorism at a CIA event in Langley, VA last June....Mr. Dai was the first Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity in D.C. Prior to that, he served as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program."
posted by ericb at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


$10,000 bail seems light for a federal crime with a potential 10 year sentence.

I'm more concerned that he's a master of disguise who could blend anywhere if he skips bail.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [13 favorites]


> Michelle Malkin and some other right wing bloggers are acting like he was ignorant of the fact that wiretapping is illegal.

Malkin's not sticking up for them:

"This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up — nor a time to whine about media coverage double standards. Deal with what’s on the table..."

Many of the commenters on her site, on the other hand...

On January 26th, 2010 at 5:32 pm, valleygreaser said:
When political opponents of Putin, Chavez or Castro are arrested I don’t jump to the conclusion that they are guilty, open and shut case. Sorry to have to say it but in 2010 USA I feel the same towards Obama and his DOJ. This whole thing is too pat and nonsensible. There is a piece of the puzzle missing.

posted by The Card Cheat at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2010


Gawker has a bit of info on each of the "conspirators:"
What We Know about the Young Republican Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.
All fine young men, indeed.
posted by ericb at 3:43 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


In their defense, they are Republicans. They think you can wiretap anyone for any reason.
No they don't. They think you can wiretap anyone guilty of treason.

However, they also think that everyone is guilty of treason.
posted by Flunkie at 3:46 PM on January 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


You guys, what if he tries to infiltrate our meetups by pretending to be a MeFite? He'll take on our garb, and use our speech. We'll all be pedophiles by Monday if he walks. ;_;
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:49 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese: There's just something about this guy's face that makes me want to strike it with a hard object.

Apparently there's a German word for this: Backpfeifengesicht, meaning roughly "a face that needs a fist." Every bit as useful as schadenfreude and, with some practice, not any harder to say.

On topic(ish): What a pack of Backpfeifengesichts!

I would love to be a fly on the wall as Robert Flanagan's father, acting U.S. attorney for LA, welcomes his beamish boy home from jail.
posted by dogrose at 3:52 PM on January 26, 2010 [41 favorites]


Maybe O'Keefe was planning on making a webpage with the video and putting a donation button on it. You know, for saps.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:53 PM on January 26, 2010


I suspect that having a random bit of early luck despite being an odious fuckwit might actually have turned out to be a bad thing for him.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, it looks like Michelle Malkin isn't defending them:
The Times-Picayune has not posted the full FBI affidavit, but the details they have are damning. This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up — nor a time to whine about media coverage double standards
posted by ntk at 3:55 PM on January 26, 2010


I'd say this is both a time to joke and for idiots to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up, as it makes the jokes funnier.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dogrose, you just slipped a jabberwocky reference in there, didn't you. Cool.
posted by angrycat at 3:59 PM on January 26, 2010


The Times-Picayune has not posted the full FBI affidavit, but the details they have are damning.

But, as posted above, others have: FBI affidavit filed in alleged wiretapping plot (PDF).
posted by ericb at 3:59 PM on January 26, 2010



$10,000 bail seems light for a federal crime with a potential 10 year sentence.


All he did was try and wiretap a building that houses a US Senator and a Secret Service office. It's not like he sold pot or something.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:02 PM on January 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


"As three of the suspects, mostly silent, were released from a suburban New Orleans jail today, O'Keefe mouthed the word,veritas, and Dai said there would be time for further comment. The prosecutor's son was supposed to be released today as well."

Here.

He definitely has a flair for the dramatic.
posted by diftb at 4:03 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Veritas?
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


From the comments thread to that Gawker post, one from someone who claims to have been in a class with Stan Dai:

He was everything you can imagine and more. I absolutely believed I would see his name in one of these things on e day; I just thought he would be shooting up a federal building. In the scary times of 2004 these assholes thought they'd built a permanent majority of far right shit-heads and could say and do whatever they wanted without consequences. ... These are people who think Nixon was misunderstood and Bush didn't go far enough, and in 2004 - 2005 they thought they were on a power upswing.

On preview: Yes I did, angrycat—calloo! callay! for noticing.
posted by dogrose at 4:10 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, I suspect more like veritas.
posted by Flunkie at 4:11 PM on January 26, 2010


All he did was try and wiretap a building that houses a US Senator and a Secret Service office.

Not to mention others housed in the Hale Boggs Federal Complex: all U.S. agencies, as well as the IRS, the US Marshall, the Coast Guard and Federal Courthouses.
posted by ericb at 4:11 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh my god this is so funny.
posted by goneill at 4:12 PM on January 26, 2010


I'd be interested in finding out which one of these clowns had knowledge of what exactly they were going to do to the phone, and if so, where did he learn it, who taught him and who provided material support. I was handy at 24, but I remember where I picked up all of my skills.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:12 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, yes, I would be interested in knowing who else thought this was a good idea and had a hand in planning/funding it. That would seem to be very much of interest indeed.
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on January 26, 2010


[Nelson Muntz: Ha-ha]

Couldn't happen to a nicer douchebag, I'm sure. I hope there's some jail time involved.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:18 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh it would be ironic if they find a way to prosecute him with a Bush-era introduced anti-terrorism law. Ironic.... and sweet.
posted by PenDevil at 4:20 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


How do we know he said "veritas?" He could have said something much more interesting and/or hilarious.

Or he was just being a douche and trying to say "The Truth will set me free!" Way to selectively quote Jesus so that he's pro-trespassing.

Then again, God kind of is the ultimate wiretapper.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:26 PM on January 26, 2010


I'd be interested in finding out which one of these clowns had knowledge of what exactly they were going to do to the phone, and if so, where did he learn it...

"Stan Dai was the first Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity in D.C. Prior to that, he served as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program."
Me: Was conspirator DAI the one who likely trained FLANAGAN and BASEL how to tap a phone system from within the main office of the United States General Services Administration ("where they again represented themselves to be employees of the telephone company and stated that they needed to perform repair work in the telephone closet.")?

Magic 8-Ball: Signs point to yes.
posted by ericb at 4:26 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since O'Keefe is acting so weird, I'm guessing that he's probably the one who organized it. Brietbart probably was trying to keep him on a short leash post-ACORN lawsuits, but O'Keefe liked being on Beck. He loved the fame. He wanted to be a hero to Reaganites all over the world.

So, in his mania, he decided that he would wiretap a Democratic congressperson's phone. Why? Well, he believed his own propaganda. He now thinks all Democrats are racist socialists who want to legalize child prostitution. All he needed was to listen on some private phone calls. Who cares about laws? He'd be a folk hero afterwards, and no court could convict him as every jury would LOVE him.

That's the best explanation I can think of. Nobody of the "official" right wing machine would back this. It could only backfire. People hate people who get past federal security and/or the secret service. Look at the couple who party crashed the White House dinner party.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:31 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi: "I'd be interested in finding out which one of these clowns had knowledge of what exactly they were going to do to the phone, and if so, where did he learn it...."

Fist of Fury with Bruce Lee, I suspect.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That guy looks like a younger Tim Kreider and that makes me very angry on Kreider's behalf.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't schadenfreude, it is pure and naked hypocrisy.
posted by mek at 4:34 PM on January 26, 2010


Does this mean that this is now a conservative movie?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:35 PM on January 26, 2010


According to The Huffington Post:
A federal law enforcement official said one of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not part of an FBI affidavit that described the circumstances of the case.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:39 PM on January 26, 2010


Another question: have these idiots already succeeded in bugging other offices previously?
posted by PenDevil at 4:41 PM on January 26, 2010


This isn't schadenfreude, it is pure and naked hypocrisy.

yeah, fucking liberals get ANGRY when liberals get busted for wiretapping federal offices oh wait no that's stupid and ridiculous
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:44 PM on January 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Don;t you see that theis is exactly like when, um, er.... ???
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not schadenfreude? Are you kidding? This is a rich, tender cutlet of schadenfreude au jus.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:54 PM on January 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Countess Elena: "This is a rich, tender cutlet of schadenfreude au jus."

We got real au jus sauce!

Sorry. It's just that I so seldom have an opportunity to use that line.

You know what? Our dream of health care reform is dying an ugly death before our eyes. And the Supreme Court has just guaranteed than any future attempt will meet "Harry & Louise on steroids" - as someone put it.

It's been a realy shitty 2010s so far. I feel entitled to at least this bitter amusement.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:11 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


It will be difficult to be taken seriously as a "law and order" guy in the future if the DA doesn't negotiate an appropriately punitive disposition for this case.

Heh.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on January 26, 2010


That's the best explanation I can think of.

Even that is over-glorifying it. Here's the better one: he's a paranoid whackjob.

For fuck's sake, he already broke the law once and got away with it. He is being sued for his ACORN stunt by multiple people. It is illegal to do what he did, but he got away with it, partially because he attacked an incompetently-run organization that was incompetently run by black people trying to help black people, and partially because the outcry over what he doctored a video to "uncover" in the minds of a largely-racist and largely anti-Democrat noise machine overwhelmed that fact.

Our nation has a history of paranoid whackjobs, separated into two distinct columns of praise and ridicule solely by success. Linda Tripp got away with it. Nixon would have gotten away with it if his insane crimes actually revealed overwhelming dirt. And if a guy blew Obama's brains out claiming that Obama was secretly one of the aliens from "They Live"* and it turns out he was right, no one would care about his crime either. Crimes of the paranoid are simply a gamble. They pay off if you are right.

Regardless of his mindset, O'Keefe was clearly determined that he would uncover some massive, damning piece of evidence against Mary Landrieu. Had he done this, that would have been the news story, and I will laugh at anyone who tries to say otherwise.

But he didn't. He fucked up. That's it. That is the "explanation." He fucked up the way all the other paranoid whackjobs did.

* he is not please do not do this, duh. Jesus.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:47 PM on January 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


Here's the comments on Brietbart's video page. Brietbart's being a clam, but his fans are three parts disillusioned, two parts liberal trolls, and one part paranoid and apologetic.

Here's the BigGovernment.com comment page. For those who don't know, it's the site that was launched alongside the ACORN videos.

Meanwhile, on Fox, it's the classic Trolls vs. Patriots.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2010


"This is a Louisiana Watergate. Louisiana families are shocked and outraged that these men would break the law to carry out their political agenda with this Watergate-like break-in and attempted wiretapping. Given his ties to some of the players involved, Sen. Vitter should immediately denounce the actions of these four men and anyone who may have instigated, supported or assisted them."

"We call on U.S Attorney Jim Letten to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute any wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law."

posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:54 PM on January 26, 2010


Call me odd, but I probably would have left it for other people to do the Watergate comparisons.
posted by Artw at 5:56 PM on January 26, 2010


You know, I am of the firm belief that they will be proclaimed heroes by certain members of the right wing even if video footage of them raping kittens to death comes to light.

Indeed, I believe that Rush Limbaugh, for example, could say on the air "I think all of you listeners are moronic sheep that will swallow any line of bullshit I spew because you're incapable of thinking for yourselves" every day for a month and, as long as he also regularly said "or so the liberals would have you believe..." he'd be a bigger hero than ever amongst his followers.

Really, I don't hold out much hope for humanity at this point. The assholes won ten thousand years ago. They don't need to play Dungeons and Dragons because they already live in a fantasy world.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:56 PM on January 26, 2010


Joey, there are people who think McCarthy was a hero. There are always nuts out there to worship any figure, good or bad.

Pardon my Godwin, but see: NeoNazis.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:01 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, which organizations do you think are going to have their Federal funding stripped over this O'Keefe production?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:31 PM on January 26, 2010


Some local flavor- The US attorney around these parts is Jim Letten, a Republican appointee. But this guy is far from a political hack. Think Patrick Fitzgerald. He's honestly the most popular "politician" in the area. Very straight shooter. Both Vitter (R) and Landreiu (D) have recommended him to be renominated, though Obama hasn't said anything yet. We're all hoping its just a question of time. Since Katrina he's had several successful prosecutions for political corruption - black and white, city and parish, Dem and Repub. He doesn't fuck around. Since Katrina, one of the biggest efforts has been to clean up politics and he's been one of the biggest heroes. Oh, yeah, and her brother is about to become the Mayor.

These guys are going down.

(by the way, if you are at all interested in the best blog for New Orleans politics is American Zombie )
posted by superchris at 6:53 PM on January 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


yeah, fucking liberals get ANGRY when liberals get busted for wiretapping federal offices oh wait no that's stupid and ridiculous

When someone puts together a hit piece on a legitimate organization making them appear to break federal laws and then goes on to be caught breaking federal laws in the process of trying to put together another hit piece, well, yes, that's hypocrisy.

I don't care about the individuals involved: it's the role this O'Keefe guy was trying to play which is scary and dangerous and why we should be glad he's imploded so. This is sociopathy masquerading as social activism, and he'd no doubt be the next Beck or Limbaugh given another decade to ferment. That said, he's a young guy and allowed to make stupid mistakes and probably shouldn't go to jail for 10 years for this. We should be glad he has been caught now, not because he will suffer for it, but rather because we have a chance to rehabilitate him.

Of course, that's assuming the existence of a functional justice system, rather than the mindlessly retributive one we are currently stuck with. These guys will now probably end up leading some neo-nazi fringe militia that shows up with assault rifles at presidential rallies in 2024, and/or patrolling the border for illegal aliens. It should terrify us all that it went this far, and that this one criminal teabagger got a completely unconstitutional bill passed by the Senate all by himself.
posted by mek at 7:11 PM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fox News Devastated Over Arrest Of ACORN Pimp, Says The Story Probably Needs ‘A Lot Of Context’
posted by homunculus at 7:16 PM on January 26, 2010


Fox News Devastated Over Arrest Of ACORN Pimp, Says The Story Probably Needs ‘A Lot Of Context

Welcome to Fox News, please leave your sense of irony at the front door. Thank you.
posted by qvantamon at 7:19 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That said, he's a young guy and allowed to make stupid mistakes

You know I did some insanely dumb things in my 20's too ... but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is one of those weapons grade, A++ WOULD WIRETAP AGAIN ;), DumbShit 4.0 XP(tm), very-much-worthy-of-federal-charges-and-jail time 'stupid mistakes'.
posted by bhance at 7:25 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Good grief, can you imagine what kind of shit would be hitting the fan on Fox news right now if these four idiots happened to be Muslim liberals who did this to a Republican senator's office?

I mean, really, there would be no "waiting for context" at all. Glenn Beck would already be placing an emergency order of three cases of Vick's VapoRub for the upcoming spin-gasm.
posted by darkstar at 7:51 PM on January 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


I believe that Rush Limbaugh, for example, could say on the air "I think all of you listeners are moronic sheep that will swallow any line of bullshit I spew because you're incapable of thinking for yourselves" every day for a month and, as long as he also regularly said "or so the liberals would have you believe..." he'd be a bigger hero than ever amongst his followers.

How many megawatts is Limbaugh's broadcasting tower - any Mefites with a stronger pirate signal? Or know any Brazilians who know how to hack into re-broadcast satellites?

I'm personally interested in what treatment Dai will get; when I was doing my undergrad in Iowa I was picked up on a marijuana possession charge - everyone else I knew who had similar amounts was let off on a warning, I - being non-Caucasian and non-American (and non-Hispanic or African) - got the full max, less first-offence.

This little douche will probably end up benefiting more from being apprehended than I'm inconvenienced for being non-white and criminal.
posted by porpoise at 7:52 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Phone Booked
posted by porn in the woods at 8:02 PM on January 26, 2010


Luckily, doucheface is not related to Virginia O'Keeffe.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:16 PM on January 26, 2010


So Ashley Todd, James O'Keefe... When does RICO come into play?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:31 PM on January 26, 2010


Luckily, doucheface is not related to Virginia O'Keeffe.

I think you mean Tennessee O'Keeffe.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the deal with people complaining about schadenfreude? We're no longer allowed to take pleasure when really people get their just desserts by their own hands? At the very least, that would destroy a thousand years of theater.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:17 PM on January 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


"O'Keefe mouthed the word,veritas"

Perhaps he meant in vino veritas? Maybe it was a weeklong bender in the big easy that led to this failarity.
posted by mullingitover at 10:16 PM on January 26, 2010


I just assumed that he, like all Young Republicans, watched Boondock Saints a hundred times and thinks "Veritas" is a cool and badass word because he saw it on Sean Patrick Flannery's hand in that movie.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:27 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want to travel back in time and tell people that an "acorn pimp wiretapper" is going to receive massive media coverage a few years in the future.
posted by decagon at 11:08 PM on January 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just want to note here that despite sharing a last name (and the first initial of our first names), James O'Keefe and myself are not in any way that I am aware of (and we bloody well better not be) related. Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 11:31 PM on January 26, 2010


I just assumed that he, like all Young Republicans, watched Boondock Saints a hundred times and thinks "Veritas" is a cool and badass word because he saw it on Sean Patrick Flannery's hand in that movie.

I wonder if he's seen Overnight.
posted by Artw at 11:41 PM on January 26, 2010


I'll bet that's what you want us to think. Oh, yes, so much the easier to record the words we write, if we think you're a legit user. Well we're onto you now, missy, oh yes we are. As soon as we can reach a supermajority, we'll have a plan of action!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 PM on January 26, 2010


That would have made a lot more sense — well, a little — if Art hadn't horned in there.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 PM on January 26, 2010


I just saw this online and was about to post an FPP, before I checked for previous posted articles. I found this article about Joseph Basel and this article about Dai. Dai is a lot more interesting. He pretty much fucked up his entire future, since its obvious he wanted to work in the intelligence services when he grew up. That doesn't happen to felons. All of these idiots are screwed, I mean the kinds of jobs that go to people with high-power ivy-leauge degrees are also not the jobs that go to felons convicted of espionage. But especially dai. He would need a security clearance to do anything and he'll obviously never get one now.

Interesting O'Keefe, with one notch on his belt and a hero to the right is likely to end up with something like a careered after this is all said and done, the others will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) Who Sponsored Resolution Honoring O’Keefe Criticizes the Landrieu Sting

It wasn't a "Sting" they showed up, tried some social engineering techniques I that have been floating around "phreaker" bbses since the '80s and got arrested for trying to tap phones in front of everyone.

Veritas?

Okay with that lavender logo with a big "V" (upside down pink triangle) and slogan "The straight talking party" I instantly thought it was some ironic gay party.
posted by delmoi at 12:39 AM on January 27, 2010


That said, he's a young guy and allowed to make stupid mistakes and probably shouldn't go to jail for 10 years for this.

The guy was 24 and he tried to wiretap a senator's office.

OJ probably shouldn't have gone to jail for 10 years for robbing his ex-friends, but he did. Mostly because he murdered his wife and got away with it.

"Mistakes"? Come on, this is a pretty serious crime he was trying to commit here, one that could have had some pretty serious real world consequences if he'd found something that he could edit and dub to sound really terrible.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sure when they were booked, one of the FBI guys must've muttered, "You dumb asses. All you need to do is send a Post-it to AT&T."
posted by one_bean at 1:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Someone mentioned upthread that he went to Rutgers. He's roughly the same age as me, and I thought the name sounded familiar.

James O'Keefe, James O'Keefe...

Oh yes, the founder of The Centurion, the conservative student paper. Yeah, as the design editor of "The Rutgers Review" my senior year, the alternative / leftist paper, I've met him. We shared an office with them because we had to use the same computers to lay out our designs. They were sort-of our evil twins. He is all kinds of crazy.

You can read the inaugural issue of The Centurion here. It's got this ridiculous "letter from the editor" page where O'Keefe takes himself way too seriously.

I remember that every year they would hold Affirmative Action bake sales on MLK day. The paper also had all sorts of vaguely fascist imagery and was largely viewed as a joke on campus.
posted by Frankieist at 5:17 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just assumed that he, like all Young Republicans, watched Boondock Saints a hundred times and thinks "Veritas" is a cool and badass word because he saw it on Sean Patrick Flannery's hand in that movie.

Is there something inherently Republican about Boondoxk Saints? I hadn't thought about it that way, but I do know that I've never quite been able to put my finger on why I dislike that movie so much.
posted by naoko at 5:28 AM on January 27, 2010


he's a young guy and allowed to make stupid mistakes and probably shouldn't go to jail for 10 years for this.

No, fuck that. Dude is accused of espionage against the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee. Ten years is easy time. He should be thrown in a cell with John Walker Lindh if he's convicted.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:01 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Just wanted to share this comment from Ta-Nehisi Coats' blog:

Oh man, G. Gordon Liddy is spinning in his grave. Because he sleeps in a coffin.

That is all.
posted by cimbrog at 6:03 AM on January 27, 2010


Is there something inherently Republican about Boondoxk Saints? I hadn't thought about it that way, but I do know that I've never quite been able to put my finger on why I dislike that movie so much.

Trying to figure out exactly why you dislike Boondock Saints is like trying to figure out exactly why you're not enjoying your feces panini.
And I believe it appeals to Republicans because of the characters constantly looking at the camera and going "Why don't these people realize that the law of God trumps man's laws? Why won't they let me just go and shoot people I don't like? 'Due process'? What the fuck? Sigh."
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You folks really love to get your hate on. Look at that poor O'Keefe kid. Just LOOK at him, I say! And some of you think he should go to prison?! You should all be ashamed of yourselves for saying such things.

I think he should just come spend a few years in my dungeon. Well, I know I don't have one, but I can build one for the occasion. I don't think my partner would even be especially jealous.
posted by Goofyy at 6:08 AM on January 27, 2010


Is there something inherently Republican about Boondox Saints?

Not necessarily, no; but the movie's macho I'm-right-everyone-else-is-wrong vigilantism strongly appeals to a certain kind of young male for the same reasons that wing-nuttery (or Che worship) does.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:11 AM on January 27, 2010


from the local newspaper:

Salt Lake County Republicans are scrambling to line up a new keynote fundraising speaker after the arrest Tuesday of their scheduled first choice, filmmaker James O'Keefe, on charges of attempting to tamper with the phone system of a U.S. Senator.

"The allegations and arrest today certainly changes our plans," county GOP Chairman Thomas Wright said...

... His topic was to be "his national exposé of ACORN's unethical behavior, his changes in Congress and [how he will] inspire our Party's passion for a grassroots comeback." ...

"We're disappointed," he said of O'Keefe's arrest on felony charges. "He doesn't necessarily represent the Republican Party."

posted by Joe Beese at 6:39 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is there something inherently Republican about Boondoxk Saints? I hadn't thought about it that way, but I do know that I've never quite been able to put my finger on why I dislike that movie so much.

It's a racist vigilante story about how strong, hard men do what the sissified law can't. Of course Republicans love it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:52 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Goofyy, you may not know the psyche of the American prisoner, but wandering in a dungeon is exactly what they want. Prison is supposed to be a punishment.

If it weren't for the liberal founders of this nation, with their whole "no cruel and unusual punishment" BS, I'd push for an ironic punishment. Like having to do community service for ACORN. Or being the phone repairman in gay porn. Although he is a college republican, so he might like that one.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:35 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My anime nerd friend sent me this. Seems appropriate.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:38 AM on January 27, 2010


Regarding "veritas." I wonder if this has anything to do with his uttering the word:
"O'Keefe's biography on a Web site where he blogs says he works at VeritasVisuals.com, though that Web site does not currently work."
Here's their YouTube channel, featuring the ACORN videos.
posted by ericb at 7:44 AM on January 27, 2010


I just woke up, and so I had a moment of cognitive dissonance before I remembered that Boondock Saints is not Boondocks.
posted by box at 7:48 AM on January 27, 2010


Or he was just being a douche and trying to say "The Truth will set me free!" Way to selectively quote Jesus so that he's pro-trespassing.
When O'Keefe, Dai and Basel were released from the jail, reporters asked O'Keefe whether he wanted to comment. "Veritas," he replied, which is Latin for "truth."

O'Keefe's biography on the blog site www.BigGovernment.com says that he works at VeritasVisuals.com, although that Web site does not appear to be functioning.

While waiting for the cab, O'Keefe spent most of the time in the men's room off the jail's lobby. As he ran into the taxi's back seat, he called out to reporters: "The truth shall set me free." *
posted by ericb at 7:49 AM on January 27, 2010


It looks to me like Veritas is not from Boondock Saints, but instead in part from the motto of his college newspaper, the Centurion; in full, it's Veritas vos liberabit, the truth shall set you free.

It's also the motto of The California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Idaho State University, University of Portland, Ottawa University, Doshisha University, Lafayette College, Lebanon Valley College, and of St. Augustine's College (Raleigh), according to Wikipedia, and, in it's original form, the motto of Yonsei University and Southern Methodist University. It is also the motto of King's College of the University of Queensland. Also used by the Knights Hospitaller during the crusades.

This fellow dazzles with his originality.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:50 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's very good luck for this idiot that he's white. That's going to make a world of difference - though it really shouldn't.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:54 AM on January 27, 2010


More like "veritasiness." AMIRITE?
posted by ericb at 7:55 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


As mentioned above, O'Keefe was the founder of The Centurion. He likely was instrumental in choosing the motto (Veritas vos liberabit).
posted by ericb at 7:58 AM on January 27, 2010


The Rugers Student Newspaper comments page is going to be a treasure trove for conjecture on O'Keefe's character. I CAN'T WAIT!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:02 AM on January 27, 2010


O'Keefe's tweet from last night: "I am a journalist. The truth shall set me free."
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on January 27, 2010


ericb: "Regarding 'veritas'. I wonder if this has anything to do with his uttering the word: [[O'Keefe's biography on a Web site where he blogs says he works at VeritasVisuals.com, though that Web site does not currently work.]]"

These kids with their crazy viral marketing stunts.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:25 AM on January 27, 2010


What Were They Thinking?
"Last night I was reading various articles about this incident and looking at interviews O'Keefe did after the ACORN extravaganza. And my hunch is that O'Keefe's head got so spun by the ACORN blowout that he thought that if the stuff he got was good enough that it would trump and get him off the hook even for serious felonies. In a very adoring interview Chris Wallace did with O'Keefe last year, he asked O'Keefe about the fact that he appeared to have broken Maryland state law during one of his sting operations. O'Keefe's answer didn't sound like one you'd give if you were following any legal advice. And the gist of what he said was that he thought his 'get' should and would get him off the hook for any criminal violations he committed in the process of getting it. And he turned out to be right. I know ACORN is suing him. But as far as I know he hasn't faced any legal charges tied to the ACORN stories.

So for the moment, as crazy as it may seem, I'm working on the assumption that O'Keefe really thought he'd get away with a major felony if he got recordings that would sound good enough on Fox and Drudge. Indeed, his very limited public statements still suggest he's thinking in terms of a justification defense. I still have a hard time believing that myself. But it's the only explanation I can square with the facts as we currently know them."
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


@O'Keefe: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:29 AM on January 27, 2010


Shocking security camera footage from the sting
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:32 AM on January 27, 2010


From O'Keefe's first editor's note in the inaugural edition of The Centurion:
"Disguising truth has helped every blood-thirsty tyrant and dictator keep the shackles on humanity throughout history. Let us rock the foundations of academia and challenge the thrones that have for too long indoctrinated us about our world and the context in which we live. As the Journal of Conservative thought at Rutgers university THE CENTURION will try its hardest to serve to that end. Turn the page. You may read things you agree with and you may read things that you disagree with. But at least you’ll come closer to realizing your own truth, and in the words of Jesus Christ, 'The truth shall set you free.'"
posted by ericb at 8:33 AM on January 27, 2010


That said, he's a young guy and allowed to make stupid mistakes

Most of the time when people say this, "young" means "rich, white, and Republican." Knowing you I'm sure that's not what you meant. But I have no idea how else to interpret a cliche line as moronic as that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Breitbart admits paying activist who tried to bug Democratic senator.
posted by ericb at 8:39 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Agreed, X...Q... guy with name. Wiretapping is not just a felony, it's downright antisocial. Didn't his mother ever tell him it's creepy to listen in on people with a glass up to a door?

If you get to be 25 without learning that, you deserve to go to big boy prison. He tried to tamper with a senator and the secret service's phones! As has been said dozens of times, imagine if it were a Muslim college student. They'd be calling it terrorism!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:42 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man these guys are huge fans of their backup software. They can't seem to shut the **** up about it.
posted by bhance at 8:44 AM on January 27, 2010


Some observations:

-I think more charges will be forthcoming. They were charged on the most lock tight and obvious crimes.

-I think perhaps this was either the first part of a fuller operation or they needed some footage that O-'Keefe could use to put a voiceover on suggesting anything. Didn't matter much. It's not about the reality, but the perception, and the narrative is a malleable thing.

It's ratfucking 101.

O'Keefe could've made up any nonsense he wanted, given the tape to Breitbart and put a serious hole (or at least the death shot) into Health care reform and put the Obama WH completely on the defensive just on pure lies and some dinky footage of these idiots walking around Landrieu's office checking out the phones.

I really hope Breitbart is soiling his pants, because he should be, also he shouldn't be leaving town or anything. I want to see where the money trail leads. Andrew Breitbart definitely (he's admitted it) currently paying O'Keefe a salary.
posted by Skygazer at 8:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks to me like Veritas is not from Boondock Saints, but instead in part from the motto of his college newspaper, the Centurion; in full, it's Veritas vos liberabit, the truth shall set you free.

Why he would use a Latin translation of that instead of the original "Kai gnosesthe tain alaitheian, kai hai alaitheia eleutherosei humas*" boggles the mind. Or fits with the hypothesis that he is an asshat. Either way.

Not entirely joking: is he big traditionalist Catholic in love with the Vulgate or something?

*googled. I don't know koine.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2010


Latin makes you sound so much more pretentiously awesome than Greek.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


My Boondock Saints theory does relate, after all- he very clearly thinks that being awesome and doing awesome things exempts him from the rules.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2010


I am a journalist. The truth shall set me free.

As the winner of a Premack Award for Public Affairs Journalism, I think I'm in a position to say this:

I'm a journalist. You're a felon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 AM on January 27, 2010 [13 favorites]


I am a journalist.

No, he's not. Out of all this stupidity that is the one point I made before and need to emphasize repeatedly.

It's dangerous to journalism to let O'Keefe get away with calling what he did journalism and of all his actions that's truly the one that needs to be fought most vocally and viciously because it's the one that sets the most dangerous precedent.

Breaking the law, doctoring footage, tampering with sources, and manipulating your story for a preconceived conclusion are all examples of not being a journalist, or at the very least, a bad one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:32 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


He's a citizen journalist! It's the future!
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on January 27, 2010


one day i was trying to bug a senator's office when the ultimate hustler materialized from the phone jack and said "well well well if it ain't g. gordon luddy. nice disguise, cept ya hardhat still say playskool along the side" and as i was tackled by fbi agents he added "plus ya eyes so beady yo look a weeble with fragile X" and i was like damn
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:47 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Conservative Bloggers Scramble to Disown the ACORN Buster.
posted by ericb at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2010


Beck condemns O’Keefe’s operation: ‘If they were doing that — that’s Watergate. Insanely stupid and illegal.’.
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


O'Keefe previously said he was "willing to serve prison time" for his work
"An interesting tidbit came to mind following conservative activist James O'Keefe's arrest for allegedly participating in an attempt to tamper with phones at the New Orleans offices of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Let's go back a few months: After O'Keefe released a video of ACORN workers in Baltimore that was recorded without the workers' consent, some observers suggested that he and fellow activist Hannah Giles could face criminal charges for violating a Maryland law that requires the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. When Fox News' Glenn Beck asked O'Keefe about such a possibility, O'Keefe replied that he was 'willing to serve prison time for what I've found.'" [with embedded VIDEO].
posted by ericb at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2010


Some info on the Pelican Institute where O'Keefe spoke while in New Orleans. Robert Flanagan (co-conspirator defendant works there.
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on January 27, 2010


The O'Keefe Plot Thickens
"Conservatives defending O'Keefe's actions in Landrieu's office are saying that he wasn't trying to wiretap the phones, but rather to see whether the office had done something to the phones to make it hard for constituents to call her to complain about health care."
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on January 27, 2010


O'Keefe previously said he was "willing to serve prison time" for his work

Good, let's let him get right down to doing that. Preferably, pardon the Office Space reference, in federal you know what prison.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It appears that O'Keefe has been involved in another one of these scams against Planned Parenthood.
In fall 2006, when [Rose] was a UCLA freshman, she and fellow conservative activist James O'Keefe came up with the idea to infiltrate clinics.
....
O'Keefe, 24, said he and Rose have received criticism from some of their associates for using deception. "It's a pretty complicated ethical issue," he said, "but we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it's justified."
So, they have the dude on record advocating and planning these kind of scams even before the ACORN set-up.
posted by darkstar at 10:44 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's a pretty complicated ethical issue," he said, "but we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it's justified."

Yes, journalists deal with this sort of issue all the time: How can I commit illegal acts for the sake of creating hyperpatrisan smears? It's one of the thornier questions in journalism, along with other journalistic questions like "How do I sleep at night" and "Why am I such a tool?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:53 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm assuming full use is being made of search warrants.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on January 27, 2010


So basically he's trying to get a job as Lee Atwater. What a fucking scumbag.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2010


Let's see him go to prison and then tow the line on how modern prisons are soft on crime, and how Joe Arapio is the only Sheriff who knows how to hold inmates right.

If he doesn't, he won't fit in with the Reagan Unity Principle, and be stuck in the Neverland of RINOs.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2010


"My Penis Is Angry": A Conservative "Spy" Mocks Vagina Monologues
posted by homunculus at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2010


The O'Keefe Plot Thickens

You should have included the next sentence in the article, which begins with, "It has the ring of possibility..."

No, that's the aroma of bullshit.
posted by peeedro at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The O'Keefe Plot Thickens

Oh, fuck me; that's a link to Megan McArdle and it's just as brain-dead stupid as every other goddamned thing she's ever written:
"Conservatives defending O'Keefe's actions in Landrieu's office are saying that he wasn't trying to wiretap the phones, but rather to see whether the office had done something to the phones to make it hard for constituents to call her to complain about health care.

It has the ring of possibility, for two reasons ..."
Her "reasons," being, basically, that O'Keefe couldn't have been trying to tap a Senators phone because A) he couldn't be stupid enough to film himself trying to commit a felony and B) he was too stupid to know how to tap a phone. Of course, being McArdle, "trying to see if the office did something to the phones to make it hard for constituents to call her" (like what, disconnect them?) sounds like an explanation with "a ring of possibility."

Say what you will about Sullivan's spot at The Atlantic, at least he isn't a total gibbering idiot.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:19 PM on January 27, 2010


I honestly can't stop thinking about this. Jesus Christ. Did these guys think they wouldn't get busted? Look at the way O'Keefe dressed as a pimp. It looks like a motherfucking Halloween costume. I'm willing to bet his "telephone repairman" get-up was just as poorly thought-out. No forged identification badges, no inside contacts, no fake work orders. None of that. Fuck, man, I have to do like motherfucking biometric scans to meet people in midtown NYC buildings sometimes. And these dudes - who, let me remind you, are full-blown, no-shit, grown-ass men - thought they could wander into a Senator's office, gain access to some central hub, bug it, and get out?

This is a blessing in disguise for Stan Dai, actually. Because if that smug little turd tried his fun tricks as a real spy going after real bad guys, he would be dead. You listening, Stan? You would be shot in the head. Your body would rot in a barrel in some shit-torn country and no one would ever find you, and no one would ever be held responsible. Shit, you wouldn't even get a star at Langley. You'd be just another dead fuck-up.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


>"Conservatives defending O'Keefe's actions in Landrieu's office are saying that he wasn't trying to wiretap the phones, but rather to see whether the office had done something to the phones to make it hard for constituents to call her to complain about health care.

CONGRESSPERSON SCREENS CALLS, FILM AT 11.

My God, that's a stupid explanation and justification. That'd be like thinking Arby's doesn't actually slice their meat in store, so you then hold an armed robbery so that you can check in back if they have a slicer.

I bet you the kid could have stomped in, no costumes or anything, and said, "Word on the street is that you're diverting calls from conservatives somehow! I WANT THE SCOOP!"

Then, an aide politely would tell him that calls go to an aide, who then takes notes about the call, and then forwards them to the senator. Because she is a senator, and is wont to know what her constituents are thinking.

Meanwhile, in reality, we all know O'Keefe was a self-rightous asshole who thought he was above the law. He thought he'd find something so awful on Landiau's private lines that the court would forgive him. Disgusting little cretin. Apparently, the right to privacy only applies to some Americans.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


smug little turd

Given the following fine prose by Stan, I think that's a pretty good assessment if his gender politics are anything to go by.

MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!! You want to know what happened to my penis? Joan happened to my penis! There I was, sleeping peacefully when Joan stormed in and dragged me out for "an educational program." I thought was going to see Mr. Rogers! But nooooooo! It turned out to be the "Whine-gina Monologues!" There I sat, for not one, but two hours as woman after woman griped, moaned (in more than one context), bellyached, and ranted about vaginas! Pushing your problems in my face doesn't actually solve those problems! If anything, it just makes the world more miserable, is that the goal? [...] Look, I'm no misogynist, I like women, just not crazy, screaming, vagina-obsessed ones! They scare me!
posted by Monsters at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2010


ooops, I see Homunculus already posted the link to his Vagina Monologues piece. Sorry for the double.
posted by Monsters at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2010


Look at the way O'Keefe dressed as a pimp.

Did he ever enter ACORN offices wearing that outfit? I don't think there is any video of him in the offices, just B-roll of him walking outside with Hannah, etc.
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2010


Interesting tidbit: " Robert Flanagan, is the son of Acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan of the Western District of Louisiana. His nomination was opposed by Landrieu, and Flanagan has been highly critical of Landrieu's role in the healthcare bill."
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


REPORT: After obsessive coverage of O'Keefe's video, Fox largely ignored his arrest.

Fox News' Shawn: "[S]ources close to O'Keefe tell me" arrest was "not a case of wiretapping".
posted by ericb at 2:28 PM on January 27, 2010


At this point, I think O'Keefe is insane and wants to be a martyr, with a big tabloid trial to start off with a bang. I mean, saying, "The truth will set me free?"

I humbly propose that the FREE O'KEEFE t-shirts will be the new Three Wolf Moon.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Most of the time when people say this, "young" means "rich, white, and Republican." Knowing you I'm sure that's not what you meant. But I have no idea how else to interpret a cliche line as moronic as that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:35 AM on January 27


Valid. It's my Canadianism showing - I tend to believe we all deserve a second chance, and realistically a crime like this would result in a conditional sentence in Canada. Don't do it again, you won't even get a criminal record, let alone punished. It's a good approach, which discourages recidivism. In these cases where they are one-time offenders doing something truly stupid which is unlikely to be repeated. If it is repeated, then come down on them hard, by all means.

Just because racial minorities are unfairly punished in the USA, doesn't mean we should punish everyone equally unfairly. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.
posted by mek at 12:22 AM on January 28, 2010


Optimus Chyme: Look at the way O'Keefe dressed as a pimp. It looks like a motherfucking Halloween costume. I'm willing to bet his "telephone repairman" get-up was just as poorly thought-out. No forged identification badges, no inside contacts, no fake work orders. None of that. Fuck, man, I have to do like motherfucking biometric scans to meet people in midtown NYC

Yeah, this gives me pause as well, the Acorn thing is so goofy. The outfit, the act....the dumb questions he asks those people..it just doesn't seem like he's got any connection to reality and a good dose of almost fatal arrogance that makes him think most people are complete and utter morons. It's like he's bought into the right wing crap about ACORN so much that he basically expected to find people barely able to speak in full sentences and I guess that caper gave him the courage to try and pull this nonsense off in a Senator's office?

Weird.
posted by Skygazer at 3:10 AM on January 28, 2010


Word on the conservative blogs is that O'Keefe wanted to prove that her office was dropping calls or sending them to a busy signal, not because lines were full, but because she didn't want to hear her constituants. This explains the cell phone call thing, but not the bit where he wants into the phone closet. Plus, it makes no sense, as a senator wants to know what her constituants think. That's how you continue to be an incumbent.

Plus, if the detail about the car a block away with listening equipment is true, this kid definitely wanted to bug the phones. It makes more sense that he would want a damning private phone call, as she's voting for healthcare reform and her brother is running for mayor. If he wants to ruin those things, a derail involving a personal phone call makes more sense than her leaving a line off the hook.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:41 AM on January 28, 2010


Word on the conservative blogs is that O'Keefe wanted to prove that her office was dropping calls or sending them to a busy signal, not because lines were full, but because she didn't want to hear her constituants.

Yes, this is the explanation that McArdle thinks has "a ring of plausibility." It's nonsense. What were they looking for? Do they think that Landrieu's office needs some special not-taking-calls device installed on the phones to ignore the calls of her constituents? If a Senator wants to ignore her constituents all she needs to do is nothing at all.

The most plausible explanation is still that the Gang Who Couldn't Spy Straight wanted to tap Landrieu's office phones but were too stupid to realize that they were too stupid to get away with it.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:51 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Given the following fine prose by Stan

Now I know who Stan Dai reminds me of: famed dragon novelist and psycho dirtbag Kenneth Eng!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:21 AM on January 28, 2010


Apparently the Doucheface gang were trying to disable the phones to get the staff's reaction to broken phone lines.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:30 AM on January 28, 2010


Oh, so they were only trying to sabotage federal property. That's fine, then.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, now they're admitting to trying to vandalize federal property and disrupt a Senator's office? Sorry, guys; federal property crimes are still a felony (you should've just vandalized mailboxes; it's more your speed). But look on the bright side: you can be indicted on state and federal charges!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:58 AM on January 28, 2010


Sabotaging mailboxes at least would have made sense. They'd be taking the fight to commie public options that already exist.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2010


Ah, see, but it was a different crime, therefore they are innocent. MEDIA CASE CLOSED!
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on January 28, 2010


Sent home to mommy. Solidarity, basement-dwelling teabaggers!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh no! They think New Jersey can hold this alleged fellon? He's a master of disguise who tried to sabotage federal property! How can me, and my fellow New Jersians (I think the PC term is NinJas) sleep at night? He should be in Gitmo, or at least Supermax. NOBODY GET OUT OF YOUR CARS! EVEN TO PUMP GAS!

All I'm saying is, if private phone lines don't matter to him, do you?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:39 AM on January 28, 2010


The Daily Show weighs in. Plus, Jon apologizes for stoking the kid's ego.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:41 AM on January 28, 2010


James O'Keefe Tweets Info On Wiretapping Case, Violates Gag Order.
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2010


James O’Keefe and accomplices trained in conservative journalism.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2010


Sadly, No has damning video footage of Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe making a deal.
posted by NoMich at 5:30 PM on January 28, 2010


Statement from O'Keefe.
posted by Jahaza at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2010


Where does he get off calling himself a journalist? Am I a journalist? Seems to me I'm even more qualified than he is.

He's no journalist, he's just an asshole. FOAD, O'Keefe.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just in the store putting stuff in my pocket to see if it would fit!
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


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.

So his defense is "I don't know what words mean"?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:59 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting take from one of Idiot O'Keefe's other acquaintances, from a few months back:
Not everyone among Mr. O’Keefe’s acquaintances agrees. Liz Farkas, a Rutgers student who called Mr. O’Keefe “a nice guy and a loyal friend,” said she grew disillusioned after he asked her to help edit the script of a Planned Parenthood sting.

“It was snippets to make the Planned Parenthood nurse look bad,” Ms. Farkas said. “I said: ‘It has no context. You’re just cherry-picking the nurse’s answers.’ He said, ‘Okay’ — and then he just ran it.”

Asked whether the left-leaning documentaries of Michael Moore do not do the same, Ms. Farkas said: “Michael Moore goes after the rich and powerful. James isn’t doing that. He goes after low-level bureaucrats and people who are trying to help low-income people.”
posted by darkstar at 1:13 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Michael Moore is kind of annoying for the exact same reason though.
posted by Artw at 1:15 AM on January 30, 2010


Agreed, totally.
posted by darkstar at 1:19 AM on January 30, 2010


"As a philosophy major at Rutgers University, Mr. O’Keefe came to believe that conservative-leaning students were being force-fed a diet of academic liberalism. As he put it at the time, they were “drowned in relativism, concepts of distributive justice and redistribution of wealth.”"

The Rutgers philosophy department probably derides relativism more than most any other department in the US. Kid obviously paid no attention in class and is just parroting talking points.
posted by painquale at 9:12 PM on January 31, 2010


Umm... or he was paying attention in class and realizes that the University has more than one department?
posted by Jahaza at 9:24 PM on January 31, 2010


Oh, my.

O'Keefe: The Persecution of an American Patriot.
posted by ericb at 2:44 PM on February 2, 2010


O'Keefe Prosecutor Recuses Himself.
posted by ericb at 2:45 PM on February 2, 2010


"O'Keefe was 'framed' by the media and the U.S. attorney's office, Andrew Breitbart, publisher of BigGovernment.com, told Fox News."*
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on February 2, 2010


O'Keefe appears on Hannity Feb 1st.
posted by mek at 4:13 PM on February 2, 2010


"O'Keefe was 'framed' by the media and the U.S. attorney's office, Andrew Breitbart, publisher of BigGovernment.com, told Fox News."*

O'Keefe framed himself with his utter stupidity. And Breitbart is about a big a slimeball as there is. They're really trying to turn this about anything other than the actual reality.

Whine and bitch and moan: It's the media's fault...it's the government's fault...it's the democrats fault...

These people are so lacking in empathy or compasion for anyone outside their rightwing blogosphere, yet now they think they're owed something by someone. What happened to that famous right-wing Randian self reliance??

O'Keefe is definitely doing some time and there's a not insignificant chance, Andrew "fairweather friend (until he realized O'Keefe was going to sing like the fat lady at the end of a baseball game...) Breitbart pulled out all the stops to make O'Keefe some sort of modern day friggin' Nathan Hale or something.
posted by Skygazer at 11:09 PM on February 2, 2010


The Law and Order episode is going to be awesome.
posted by Artw at 11:22 PM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Salon.com: James O'Keefe's race problem, by Max Blumenthal.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:54 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Salon.com: James O'Keefe's race problem, by Max Blumenthal.

What a douchebag. And that's being fair to him.
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on February 3, 2010


James O’Keefe’s Gay Marriage Stunt Proves Why We Shouldn’t Legislate Love.
posted by ericb at 11:29 AM on February 3, 2010


"What did Breitbart and Fox News know and when did they know it?"
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on February 3, 2010


Wow. James O'Keefe is a maxi-douche. What a horrible person he is.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2010


James O'Keefe is a maxi-douche.

Oh, come on— There must be a more potent pairing of feminine hygiene products than that.

Example: James O'Keefe is a Secret Vagisil.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:54 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maxi, as in maximum. He has topped-out the scale of douchiness.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:13 PM on February 3, 2010


Why would anyone have thought there was a gag order in the O'Keefe case?
posted by mek at 3:17 AM on February 5, 2010


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