James O'Keefe, the conservative activist and filmmaker, who gained attention for last years undercover ACORN videos, was arrested by the FBI for posing as a telephone company employee with a couple of accomplices in an attempt to wiretap the office of Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in downtown New Orleans. His accomplices were Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport, were also arrested.
This recent arrest is only further evidence of the lengths, sometimes illegal, in which conservative activists are willing to take to undermine this administration, and yet the so-called right-wing media, who exist as a response to the so-called liberal media, will most likely keep their lips shut on this matter, mainly because O'Keefe was hailed by the likes of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck as the savior of the conservative movement and one of the new faces of the young Republicans. I for one am excited of his arrest, and while I know this will not damage his credibility with the far-right, I do hope that this dampers his plans in creating and propagating his own media.
Big Government, the website associated with James O'Keefe, which debuted with his ACORN videos and has worked closely with the activist to release further videos had quickly released a 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.According to Robert Flanagan's lawyer, Garrison Jordan, “It was poor judgment,” he said in a brief interview outside the courthouse. “I don’t think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime.” For a group of conservative activists, one who had already been involved in secretly taping ACORN, potentially violating state laws, the idea that these group of activists were only attempting to wiretap a Senator's phone, disguised as telephone company employees, "just cause," seems to be an inadequate excuse.
According to witnesses, O'Keefe and his accomplices entered the office of the senator dressed in blue jeans, blue shirt, a green fluorescent vest, and a white hard hat, stating that they needed to perform work on the telephone systems. O'Keefe, then positioned himself to film the others with his cellular phone. When asked for their credentials, the group said they left their identification in their vehicle.
In the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel admitted to federal agents to entering the building under false pretenses and O'Keefe and Dai admitted in planning, coordinating, and preparing for the operation. O'Keefe admitted filming the operation.
If the group admitted to federal agents that they had planned and attempted to carry out an act against the United States, tampering with phone systems owned and operated by the Federal Government, then how can what Flanagan's lawyer say hold any water? They intended to commit an act, and their previous actions spell out a motive of trying to uncover perceived wrongdoing on the part of the Democratic Senator. I hope the government throws the book at these clowns.
Already, there are cries from the right claiming that O'Keefe and his buddies were framed by the federal government and that Eric Holder is out for blood. There are also questions into his attempted wiretapping, but what other reason would this group of activists have for getting into the telephone closet? There have also been claims that this was somewhat related to the ACORN lawsuits against O'Keefe and his accomplice Hannah Giles, but that is a completely different case. Taking O'Keefe's history and writings into account, I wouldn't put it past him to use this situation to either divert media attention away from the ACORN matter or for some other reason that has yet to be revealed. One thing is for sure, and that is to not trust anything coming out of the right-wing media until all the facts have been uncovered, and even then, don't trust them.
The Republicans are already distancing themselves from their poster boy, but what bothers me is that they see this recent illegal activity differently from the last. Republican Rep. Pete Olson from Texas introduced a bill with 31 co-sponsors praising O'Keefe for his ACORN actions, but when questioned regarding this recent event, Olson stated that he would not condone any illegal activity performed by O'Keefe, even though what O'Keefe did to get his initial praise may have violated state laws.
I think I may have figured out why O'Keefe targeted Landrieu's office in the first place. In his ACORN videos, O'Keefe played the part of a pimp. Landrieu was targeted months ago by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, with Beck calling her a "high-class prostitute" and Limbaugh saying she "may be the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitution," all because she lobbied the Senate for expanded Medicaid coverage for Louisiana and had voted for the health reform bill to go to the Senate floor for debate. O'Keefe must have been scouting for a new prostitute in his brothel to accompany Hannah Giles to some more ACORN offices.