Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anti-Acorn filmmaker arrested for bugging Senator Mary Landrieu’s office

This is just...wow! From the Politico.com:

Federal authorities have arrested four men on felony charges for attempting to infiltrate Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office, including one filmmaker who targeted the community group ACORN last year in undercover videos.

Among those arrested was 25-year-old James O’Keefe, the conservative filmmaker, along with Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan and Stan Dai, all 24. They were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses and attempting to gain access to the Democrat’s office by posing as telephone repairmen, according to a copy of an FBI affidavit unsealed Tuesday.

The complaint said that Flanagan and Basel each entered the premises, wearing light green fluorescent vests, denim paints and blue work shirts, tool belts and hard-hats. They informed a member of Landrieu’s staff that they were telephone repairmen and requested access to the main telephone at the reception desk.

At that point, the two men allegedly attempted to manipulate telephones and accessed the telephone closet, saying they needed to work on the entire system. The men, who said they left their credentials in their vehicles, were arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Service soon afterward.

According to the FBI, the four men could each face up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000 if they are convicted.

O’Keefe made waves last year when he posed as a pimp and taped ACORN employees discussing a prostitution ring, embarrassing the group and forcing many of its supporters to spurn its ties with it.

Do I see shades of Watergate rearing its head again?

I'll admit that the ACORN controversy became big news story for the conservative media, and bloggers. My thinking here is that O'Keefe got a little cocky with his successful "gotcha journalism" against ACORN, that he thought he could get away with wiretapping Landrieu's Senate office. What was O'Keefe thinking he could get from bugging Landrieu's office? Any publishing of taped phone conversations would still get O'Keefe arrested on wiretapping charges. Or was O'Keefe hoping to gather dirt on Landrieu to give to other GOP operatives intent on politically taking Landrieu out? O'Keefe was stupid for attempting to break the law for political gain, and he should be prosecuted to the fullest intent. Then again, I also have to wonder how many other GOP or conservative political operatives are also breaking the law for political gain?

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