Patterico's Pontifications

1/27/2010

Law Enforcement Official: No Wiretap Attempt by O’Keefe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 pm

Looks like law enforcement and James O’Keefe’s supporters agree: he did not intend to wiretap Mary Landrieu:

A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls.

The Washington Post, which this morning claimed otherwise, today had to retract that mistake — a grave error that Andrew Breitbart socked them for last night, and I socked them for this morning. Here is the relevant part of their embarrassing correction:

Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system. The headline incorrectly referred to a plot to bug the phone and a caption incorrectly referred to an alleged wiretap scheme.

That’s the second O’Keefe correction by the same reporter. Time to retire her from this story.

So there was no intent to wiretap. Let’s dispel that idea now. Nobody is claiming he was trying to bug Landrieu. Everyone who compared this to Watergate was wrong, wrong, wrong — and should be embarrassed. Period.

The only question now is what he and 3 other men did intend to do.

The Government position is that O’Keefe & Company wanted to shut down Landrieu’s phone system:

Instead, the official says, the men, led by conservative videomaker James O’Keefe, wanted to see how her local office staff would respond if the phones were inoperative. They were apparently motivated, the official says, by criticism that when Sen. Landrieu became a big player in the health care debate, people in Louisiana were having a hard time getting through on the phones to register their views.

That is, the official says, what led the four men to pull this stunt — to see how the local staffers would react if the phones went out. Would the staff just laugh it off, or would they express great concern that local folks couldn’t get through?

Nice theory. Let’s see if you can prove it.

Note that even the Government now believes that O’Keefe targeted Landrieu for the reason I previously highlighted — first last night (subtly, in UPDATE x4), and somewhat less subtly this morning — namely, her claim that phone lines were “jammed” when constituents tried to reprimand her for the Louisiana Purchase.

Always trust content from Patterico.

Me, I don’t buy the Government theory. I think Good Lt. has a much better theory. Playing off of my posts’ focus on the allegedly jammed phone lines, Good Lt. spun out a theory that I think makes more sense than anything I have seen:

I am postulating that the group was trying to document (with video camera) that Landrieu’s office had either disconnected or re-routed the phones to deflect incoming calls – hence, why they couldn’t get through. There have been anecdotal reports that Landrieu’s office has received complaints that it has been inaccessible by phone, particularly around the time when she was bought off by the Democrats for the now-infamous Louisiana Purchase.

I have a related theory that strikes me as even more likely: they came in to “fix” the “jammed” phone lines — expecting to be received by countless staffers saying: “What problem? We haven’t had any jammed phone lines. What are you talking about?”

Whatever theory turns out to be correct, I don’t think he was acting in a criminal fashion. I’ll reiterate what I said last night:

I’m sticking out my neck and declaring that I think this will prove to be a big nothing.

I just don’t believe this guy was wiretapping phones or trying to do so. I really don’t.

It might not even have been an attempt to show how easy it would be to bug phones. Maybe there is another explanation. But I don’t think he was acting in a criminal fashion. I don’t.

You can quote me.

That seemed crazy last night, didn’t it? It seems a little less crazy today, doesn’t it?

And it may seem even less crazy tomorrow.

Give it time. Hold your fire. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Don’t make assumptions. Be skeptical. Wait to hear his side.

Sensible suggestions, wouldn’t you say? So let’s follow them.

136 Responses to “Law Enforcement Official: No Wiretap Attempt by O’Keefe”

  1. So you’re making up your own theory because you don’t like the “theory” the investigator came up with? Great. Thanks for nothing.

    By the way, O’Keefe has already endorsed the official’s theory, essentially admitting he was attempting to tamper with the phones by shutting down their systems. Either way, even if he did none of those things, misrepresenting yourself in a federal office is a federal crime.

    O’Keefe, I believe, will get off with a slap on the wrist. But what he did here was irresponsible and poorly thought out. Stop coming up with your own “theories” to make him out to be better than he is.

    Anonymouse (01e754)

  2. O’keefe didn’t endorse this version of events. That’s just another lie.

    The democrat machine, including the WAPO, are lying. Wait and see. It’s not like Patterico doesn’t admit he’s speculating.

    Also, saying there was “no wiretap attempt” is actually exactly in line with the investigators.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  3. Always trust content from Patterico.

    Certainly more than the increasingly erroneous Washington Post, which within the past 30 years has traded places on the credibility scale with the National Enquirer.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  4. Patterico, I’m not attempting to defend O’Keefe – if he was involved in malicious mischief, then he should be prosecuted – but so far, it is looking to me like they went there to videotape some theatre and they’ve been overcharged.

    Anonymouse – Misrepresenting yourself in a federal office is a federal crime? Really? I’m looking forward to a citation for that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. “Either way, even if he did none of those things, misrepresenting yourself in a federal office is a federal crime.”

    Anonymouse – Can you point out exactly where O’Keefe misrepresented himself, please?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  6. All we have are the speculations of the investigator as revealed in the complaint.
    If the Government has a case, they will have to show what they know in an indictment.
    I question whether this will ever be referred to a Grand Jury.

    AD - RtR/OS! (8b1c67)

  7. “By the way, O’Keefe has already endorsed the official’s theory, essentially admitting he was attempting to tamper with the phones by shutting down their systems. Either way, even if he did none of those things, misrepresenting yourself in a federal office is a federal crime”

    That is bullshit. Either you’re a liar or you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Link or retract. And since you can’t link anything because it’s not true, retract.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  8. Patterico must be doing something right. We usually don’t have this many morons visiting the site unless it’s a Balko post.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  9. Note that the LA Times—which could not even be bothered to cover the expose of ACORN by O’Keefe and Breitbart until they simply could no longer ignore it—hoped right on this story.

    In fact, they even managed to listen to “conservative talk radio” (Beck) and read what “conservative” columnists (Malkin, Buchanan) wrote about this incident, and write a story.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-acorn-okeefe28-2010jan28,0,48390.story

    Gotta wonder why they could immediately get on top of this story, but studiously avoid the ACORN story for so long (sarcasm!!)

    Mike (e71888)

  10. The part that is bullshit: that O’Keefe admitted trying to shut down the phone system.

    Haven’t seen that anywhere and don’t believe it.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  11. “hopped” not “hoped” (although they were hoping for even more charges, I’m sure

    Mike (e71888)

  12. I assume that LT and Mikey are going to show up here an acknowledge that they were performing public asspulls and lying in their prior statements. Same with anonymouse.

    JD (3399c0)

  13. My first post was eaten! Patterico: I travel to a lot of sites and so far yours has been the closest to the truth and my thoughts, which are usually the same thing. The story about wiretapping was preposterous. The second one about damaging phone lines was just as preposterous. While others were distancing themselves from O’Keefe to cover their butts you took a stance. Kudos. Please keep us informed on this story. Thanks.

    ChicagoJedi (884039)

  14. Oh, not to worry, Patterico: when you confront these trolls, they will disappear and reappear later under a new name.

    They run away from real expertise like cockroaches from light.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  15. Just throwing a completely ignorant $0.02 in here…phone systems nowadays are (like a lot of other things) dedicated computer systems. If you have one and load in a “send all constituent calls to /dev/null” instruction, this could likely disappear with a reboot. So why not march into an office, record a few minutes of silence, do a reboot, and watch the phones go nuts?

    cthulhu (ca0fc5)

  16. It’s worse than that,
    Interfering with Federal Communications, US owned equipment, is sabotage.
    Even interfering with a privately owned exchange is sabotage.
    It’s on a BIG sign on just about every switch-room in the country.
    ‘Interfering’ includes tapping, includes chewing-gum.

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  17. I think your theory would be reasonable IF they had not gone to the other office to access the phone/comm closet. That area was in another part of the floor and not in Landrieu’s office.
    They continued to that area and tried (according to the affidavit) to gain access and saying they had forgotten their credentials.

    voiceofreason2 (ec9a68)

  18. cthulhu, that’s not how such phone system software works.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. CBS is bigger than the WAPO, can you go after them for retractions nowl

    Patterico, you rock!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6147509n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

    Steve (6bd10f)

  20. I think your theory would be reasonable IF they had not gone to the other office to access the phone/comm closet. That area was in another part of the floor and not in Landrieu’s office.

    And to get permission to go to that area, they had to . . . do what?

    Answer: get permission from the GSA office.

    So they go to the GSA office, and some guy there says: “Why? I haven’t heard about any problems with Sen. Landrieu’s phones.”

    “Oh. I heard they were jammed and needed fixing.”

    “No. If they did I would know about it.”

    That’s what I imagine they hoped to get on tape.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  21. [...] media fetish over technology ignore problems with the notoriously poor and biased reporting widespread among journalists. Even the new Web-only media outlets, for the most part, don’t [...]

    The iPad Won’t Save Media « NCTimes.com Blogs (3683b9)

  22. Tampering, attempt to shut down, recording, they are ALL forms of wiretapping. The very term “wiretapping” infers interfering in a transmission in any way.

    If this young man has the integrity that his father believes him to have, he should plead guilty of a felony and take his medicine.

    D.W. McCoy (8e8157)

  23. “So why not march into an office, record a few minutes of silence, do a reboot, and watch the phones go nuts?”

    Because that might be interfering with a phone system, and against the law.

    imdw (ae4236)

  24. Patterico: That’s a plausible theory. It’s the only one I’ve heard thus far that would explain why they were attempting to record their interactions with Landrieu’s office.

    Sean P (334463)

  25. Is it “tampering” or “wiretapping” if they were trying to get the phone system to work properly and route calls from the public to the senator’s office?

    Anonymous NYer (1dd84c)

  26. What they needed were simulataneous video/audio recordings of:
    1-someone phoning the Senator’s office and getting a busy signal; and
    2-evidence that the phones were not being used or ringing.
    Neither requires wiretaps, or the interference with communications, or the destruction of property, or intering with the staff’s duties.

    AD - RtR/OS! (8b1c67)

  27. Yep, I think this will be a big “NEVER MIND” next week. How do you ‘tap’ a phone with no equipment. How do you ‘tamper or interfere’ by just looking at a junction box? Or is the office staff aware of where to ‘throw the switch’ when they don’t want to receive any calls?

    GarandFan (d065c6)

  28. How do you ‘tamper or interfere’ by just looking at a junction box?

    None of the information available even hints that they know anything about telephone repair. Mess with this line mess with that line and before you know it you have cut service to dozens if not hundreds of people.
    Add the costs to get it fixed as well as services impacted, that tampering can start to get pretty expensive. That is why those areas usually have restricted access.

    voiceofreason2 (ec9a68)

  29. I think you’re gasping at straws here.
    He was going for another ‘exclusive’. He assumed he was dealing with ACORN, again.
    Kevin Mitnick wrote a hacker bible about social engineering. Talking your way past the gatekeepers.
    He really shouldn’t have tried it in a federal building.

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  30. None of the information available even hints that they know anything about telephone repair.

    None of the information available even hints they were going to do a thing to the telephones. Do we even know if any one of these people had so much a goddamned pair of wire cutters?

    Not a word in the affidavit about it, if they did.

    The assumptions are killing me. Stop with the assumptions.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  31. I’m thinking that O’Keefe is a young firebrand, with a definite agenda, who wanted to take his earlier success up a notch by showing the ineptitude — or deception — of a sitting government official.

    After all, he had success in exposing a quasi-governmental agency for what it is.

    With the inexperienced hubris of youth, and hearing the reverberating accolades of his supporters, he went too far.

    That’s how it appears to me.

    He deserves the full discourse of the U.S. legal system and should be prepared for the consequences if convicted as alleged by the government.

    As happened with the Chicago Seven. Heck, he’ll probably be a Congressman married to a movie star before I’m dead.

    That’s the curse of living too long: You see the same things happen again and again, but only the moment’s issues change.

    Ag80 (1592cc)

  32. If Garandfan is right, and O’Keefe is vindicated, there will still be a major story. Just because of O’Keefe’s powerful work exposing ACORN’s injustices, so many on the left decided to go way beyond the truth. They were goaded by professionals in the press and lots of bloggers and anonymous crooks in NOLA, and so many people treated O’Keefe with nothing short of viciousness.

    It’s clear now that no wiretap was attempted. So we know an investigator was trying to dig up some kind of scoop on a Senator. Even if that Senator is on your partisan side, what’s the big problem? They dressed up in disguise? So what? They entered the people’s buildings to see what the truth was behind closed doors? So what?

    Everyone universally condemning the wiretap act is one thing, but now, what is the left condemning? Would they condemn it if the NYT did this to Bush? Sure, O’Keefe still owes an explanation, but if it’s clear his goal was to investigate (and give me a break… it was), and he wasn’t leaving bugs, is there a reason to be so furious with him?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  33. While others were distancing themselves from O’Keefe to cover their butts you took a stance. Kudos.

    Thank you, ChicagoJedi. What felt last night like a risky stance feels more comfortable today. I obviously still don’t know what happened, but I’m a little pissed at all those stories about people distancing themselves from O’Keefe immediately.

    Nothing wrong with being principled and saying: hey, if he done wrong he’s gotta pay the piper.

    I say that myself.

    But we need not assume he done wrong.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  34. The assumptions are killing me. Stop with the assumptions.

    My reply was to #25 – I didn’t say they planned to do anything to the telephone.

    voiceofreason2 (ec9a68)

  35. I hope the 2nd WaPo correction from the same reporter would make this raw meat for a legal beagle, er, eagle.

    This could even be a 2 run hit. Taking down Landrieu and WaPo in one operation. O’Keefe is a genius.

    Born Free (b6da99)

  36. O’Keefe has already endorsed the official’s theory, essentially admitting he was attempting to tamper with the phones by shutting down their systems.

    You should get a job writing fiction, you have a real flair for it.

    Subotai (28f41d)

  37. Okay from someone who is actually from Louisiana here is what has been going on in the last month or so. Landrieu’s phones were ringing busy constantly and finally I could get through to an answering machine on the Monday of Christmas week. This is after trying to get through daily from Thanksgiving.

    In the meantime, a source of mine in Vitter’s office tells me that they were swamped with irate constituents complaining about not being able to get through to Landrieu.

    We are not talking about only her New Orleans office but also her offices in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and DC.

    There was suspicion in many areas of her constituency that something was very very wrong about this. It never got this bad during Shamnesty.

    Her “customer service” is being called into question in a very big way.

    Who is to say, at this point, that the “Quartet” didn’t already find something out in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and/or DC with New Orleans being their last stop? a la ACORN.

    Citizen K (acad80)

  38. [...] legitimate theory of why the guys were at Sen. Landrieu’s office: [...] The group was trying to document (with [...]

    ACORN Corruption Filmmaker Arrested For Trying To Interfere With Sen. Landrieu’s Phones « FRISK A LIBERAL (b4fd43)

  39. Comment by Citizen K — 1/27/2010 @ 9:40 pm

    We’ll just have to wait for the shoes to drop, and listen for the squeeling of the ones standing under them.

    AD - RtR/OS! (8b1c67)

  40. Look, I hope I’m wrong.
    But I did thirty years with the phone companies. Several of them.
    And I know how fast you can get in trouble by even repeating something you heard someone say in an office, while on the phone.
    (I understand they picked up the reception phone.
    That could be argued interference by itself.)
    It’s also unlawful to represent yourself fraudulently, as a utility employee in most states.
    Good luck James, but get some actual legal counseling, b4 trying this kind of stunt again…

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  41. Oh on another note it would be easy to see how local reporters could jump to the bugging conclusion. A bug was found in a local government office north of Baton Rouge recently and reported on Monday in Baton Rouge.

    Citizen K (acad80)

  42. If they were knowingly committing a crime, I doubt they’d be photographing it with a camera. They’re not as dumb and ignorant as the average liberal.

    My theory is that they had confederates phoning the office as they walked in and they wanted to show no activity on the switchboard, i.e., phone calls were rerouted or blocked.

    Morowbie Jukes (e2a3a9)

  43. So what gives him or anyone the right to walk into any one’s office and try to repair/touch/alter/shut off/manipulate/examine the phones when they are not an employee of the proper phone company??

    This constitutes investigative journalism??

    Kate (5e84bb)

  44. The fact that one of the “co-conspirators” is the son of a respected attorney brings up the question of why on earth they would be trying to record the thing if they were actually going to attempt something illegal. Added to the fact they had no actual equipment which could be used to tap or even gain access to the switching boxes themselves, this tends to make me think they were up to something else.

    Patterico’s theory seems at least as plausible as the law enforcement theory.

    Adjoran (1d9b07)

  45. what gives him or anyone the right to walk into any one’s office and try to repair/touch/alter/shut off/manipulate/examine the phones when they are not an employee of the proper phone company?

    This was brought to you by the school of “If you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it”.

    Subotai (28f41d)

  46. Added to the fact they had no actual equipment

    I don’t think it has been established one way or the other yet.

    voiceofreason2 (ec9a68)

  47. In the “manipulation” allegation, didn’t the office worker hand the handset to one of the “tricksters”?
    If so, they didn’t just walk in and grab the phone; and, it wasn’t a private office, but the reception area that is open to the public.

    AD - RtR/OS! (8b1c67)

  48. BTW, Kate.
    Did you get Neil’s message from Peter?

    AD - RtR/OS! (8b1c67)

  49. “I don’t think it has been established one way or the other yet.

    Comment by voiceofreason2 —”

    True, but a leak pointed to a receiver in a car. Why wouldn’t that leaker mention the juicier stuff, like wire cutters? They mention the hard hats and vests, and not anything actually dangerous to the phones?

    But you’re right. We shall find out if they inexplicably left out mention of some tools.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  50. “Open to the public”, again, a United States Government owned phone system. (They’re lucky they didn’t get shot.)

    Also, just for the record. You cannot reroute, forward, crypt or decrypt phone calls from the closet.

    The ONLY thing you can do, be it glass or wire, the only thing you can do from the closet is Break it. Or bug it.

    Clear?

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  51. “The ONLY thing you can do, be it glass or wire, the only thing you can do from the closet is Break it. Or bug it.

    Clear?

    Comment by Docjohn52 ”

    Damn, you’re completely wrong on this.

    You could take a picture, or also get information about whether or not the people around the office really thought the phones were down, by trying to access this thing.

    It’s totally unrealistic to see these people pulling wires out. We know for a fact they didn’t have any bugs.

    CLEAR?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  52. So what gives him or anyone the right to walk into any one’s office and try to repair/touch/alter/shut off/manipulate/examine the phones

    Objection. Compound question.

    He didn’t try to do most of that stuff.

    Also, just for the record. You cannot reroute, forward, crypt or decrypt phone calls from the closet.

    The ONLY thing you can do, be it glass or wire, the only thing you can do from the closet is Break it. Or bug it.

    Smashing. Good thing he didn’t go into the closet. As I have said more than once, I doubt he actually wanted to go there.

    Clear?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  53. What I find odd is that the affidavit is written out by FBI Agent Rayes who is part of the Violent Crime Squad. You would think that the NOLA field office would have at least one agent who deals with wiretapping and related crimes. So why Rayes? I think the answer, and my crazy conspiracy theory of the day, is found in the affidavit. Rayes states that one of his main duties as part of the Violent Crime Squad is fugitive retrieval. Some have already speculated a vengeful DOJ was having O’Keefe followed. Who better to follow him than an FBI-trained manhunter. A little lot far-fetched but something about this story is not adding up.

    ChicagoJedi (884039)

  54. I could be STANDING in that closet and not have anyway of telling that the calls were redirected.
    CAN ONLY HAPPEN AT HE SWITCH. Not the closet. And I have thirty years in, not a reporter.
    Clear?

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  55. So when Sarah Palin’s email was hacked, it was “boys will be boys”, but O’Keefe just appearing in an office is a federal offense? Explain, pls.

    Chris (c7c0c6)

  56. I could be STANDING in that closet and not have anyway of telling that the calls were redirected.
    CAN ONLY HAPPEN AT HE SWITCH. Not the closet. And I have thirty years in, not a reporter.
    Clear?

    Comment by Docjohn5

    Nope. I don’t think you understand. There are more possibilities than some redirection being discovered. For one, someone could refuse access to the closet, noting that the phones aren’t relaly jammed.

    But the idea that they could only get into this closet to screw with communication is asinine. Not saying you mean that (though it looked like it in part), but that’s silly. They didn’t come up there to video themselves fiddling in there.

    Also, you don’t know that this system is the kind you think it is. You’re assuming a lot. In fact, I don’t think you are clear.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  57. I said before, “I hope I’m wrong.”
    The only thing they could do in that closet, absent bugs, is break it.
    Maybe film themselves on there to own the govrnmt phone system???
    I’m an actual constitutional conservative.
    I loved the work he did on ACORN.
    I’m just worried this is a misguided attempt to get another 15 minutes.
    Sorry Patterico, I didn’t mean to step on toes.
    Enjoy your blog.
    I’m gone.

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  58. “this system is the kind you think it is”
    Yeah I do.

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  59. I could be STANDING in that closet and not have anyway of telling that the calls were redirected.
    CAN ONLY HAPPEN AT HE SWITCH. Not the closet. And I have thirty years in, not a reporter.
    Clear?

    You’re not listening to me. I’m done talking to you because you’re only interested in talking and not in listening.

    Clear?

    For the rest of you, re-read what I have said several times about why I think he asked to go to the phone closet.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  60. “Enjoy your blog.
    I’m gone.

    Comment by Docjohn52 ”

    For God’s sake… do you see how many people come on the blog to disagree with patterico? It’s not the end of the world that one of your ideas didn’t make a lot of sense.

    Whether you like it or not, it’s absurd to think they were going to try to break or “own” the phone system. Just absurd. Some think they didn’t even want to get in there, I think it’s conceivable they would have taken a picture of it (some say that might be helpful… I have no clue).

    But you’re assuming way more than is fair, and you’re being called on it. Saying “Sorry, I am totally a concerned conservative, but I am gone” is just weird.

    Most of us have had to adjust our beliefs of this case as people have argued with us or we’ve looked at the facts more carefully. One of the important ones is that these people wanted the world to know what they were doing. They taped it. They weren’t going to break anything. That’s just spin. We’ve gone from wiretapping to ‘they probably wanted to just screw things up in some secret dumb way’.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  61. This dr is very concerned.
    so okeefe was doing something or other shady in a senators office. Fine him, X hours of community service, a nice angry lecture, depending on the level of shadiness. Which is apparently not that much. If this were the 60s and he was trying to weasel his way into some draft office to steal documents “proving” the draft was racist hed be a hero to bertha lewis.

    chaos (7c068a)

  62. Where are Mikey and LT ? Are they going to admit how wrong wrong wrong they were ?

    JD (3399c0)

  63. Saying “he asked to go to the phone closet but he probably didn’t really even want to go there” is just as much of a leap of faith as the liberals conspiracy theories that you are reprimanding.

    The fact of the matter is that he asked for access to the closet (a restricted location at which significant tampering would have been possible) and was denied. You can try to argue that he might not have done anything had he gotten access, but ultimately that is just wishful thinking; a failed attempt to tamper is still an attempt to tamper.

    Dan (2e1f88)

  64. Dan, you’re asserting he failed in his attempt to “tamper”, when you could just say he asked for access to a closet.

    You’re right, it’s speculation that they didn’t want to see inside. It’s also speculation that they wanted to tamper.

    It seems like you’re wrong to say they are equal leaps of faith. The only liberal claims really being reprimanded are the wiretap ones, which aren’t leaps of faith so much as simply wrong.

    But the leap of faith that they were just trying to get information is a shorter skip compared to the enormous bound required to believe they wanted to tape themselves tampering with phones. We know that they wouldn’t have been able to plant a wiretap, so if they were going to get in that closet and screw up the phones, it would have simply been for mayhem.

    That’s far fetched. I think he’s a boogeyman to some, and these people will believe anything about him. There’s plenty to criticize without leaping to ‘it’s just as likely he was going to destroy their phones as investigate them’.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. Ok guys… I like this theory… saw in MMalkin

    He went in specifically to GET ARRESTED … now he will get DISCOVERY and the right to defend him self and prove that the system was already been manipulated by HER office… they knew they would be arrested and I guess are willing to take it like men to prove the point… it will be interesting to see how this pans out… the truth may not set him free… but they knew they would blow this wide open in court… The key is intent… they did not intend to do anything except get arrested…

    D

    Dean (844b98)

  66. Okay,

    I’m back for the keyboard lashing. And sorry, I was replying to posts…

    I’m a moron from Ace.

    The link, took me to the beginning of the comments. I didn’t read the article above it.
    I read the comments down until ‘I had to post on the tech of it.’

    The tech of it says:

    The closet:

    PBX: they have a small pbx, wired or copper, again no redirection, switch only.

    Remote Switch: Small switch hosted at the big switch, again, fiber only, redirected at the switch not the closet.

    FULL blown switch: Redirectable at the closet, provided someone has the maintenance or admin passwords and logins.

    There are no level of photos that would help, period (unless some hot chick was provided.)

    (there’s NO-CHANCE any of these idiots could have done ANY redirection, or probably bugging in the closet. Breaking it maybe… the switches are designed with redundancy and diversity, right down to the battery plant. “Diversity” is routing fiber in and out of the building in two different trenches to prevent a backhoe from stopping redundancy.)

    Tell me you all haven’t learned a little tech.

    I sincerely hope they get away with this because I truly loved what they did to ACORN, and I am a true conservative-constitutionalist. (Do away with the NEA, – both of them. Please.)

    I was just worried this was a misguided attempt at another 15 minutes of fame.

    My .02, your mileage may vary. (I’ll be back when the bandwidth doesn’t want to dip my nether-regions in other than pudding.)

    Patterico,

    I should have spent more time reading than posting, my bad..

    but, my tech is correct, and I have a badge, I can fly down there and take all the pictures you want.

    John

    Docjohn52 (f8b397)

  67. Dustin, when you make an effort to access a restricted phone closet under false pretenses, that is an “attempt to tamper.” I’m not sure what else there is to say on that point.

    You can speculate over what his ultimate intent was (it seems clear that he did not have the equipment to wiretap), but the attempt to access the restricted closet in a federal building under false pretenses is, in and of itself, a federal crime (a felony, if I’m not mistaken).

    “Investigative journalism” that involves committing a federal crime is all well and good… unless you get caught. Then you deserve to go to jail for being an inept investigative journalist.

    Dan (2e1f88)

  68. “Dustin, when you make an effort to access a restricted phone closet under false pretenses, that is an “attempt to tamper.” I’m not sure what else there is to say on that point.

    You can speculate over what his ultimate intent was (it seems clear that he did not have the equipment to wiretap), but the attempt to access the restricted closet in a federal building under false pretenses is, in and of itself, a federal crime (a felony, if I’m not mistaken).”

    Dan – The above is called making it up as you go, if I’m not mistaken. Do you have citations for your legal interpretations above? They sound like plain vanilla asspulls to me.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  69. The Good Lt and I are on the same page, I think. I posted a similar theory last night, while also suggesting that this was part of an entrapment operation.

    Apparently it had nothing to do with a wiretap attempt, but was some other kind of operation, possibly involving showing that calls were never routed to the office but were going elsewhere. Stupid yes, but this has an appearance of political theater treated as crime.

    In any event the whole thing smacks of an entrapment operation

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  70. They were wearing some utility look alike clothes BUT NOT IDENTIFIED THEM AS BEING FROM ATT OR SOMETHING

    So they did some social engineering playing on the believe of the others they were utility repair people.

    no false statement here if they came in to help repair the phone system that everyone said was not working:

    If my phone line is not working in my house and I get my screw driver and repair whatever is broken, I am the repair person. period.

    Huntingmoose (a21df8)

  71. IANAL, but the affidavit itself states:

    “Based on the above information, your Affiant believes there is probable cause to believe that FLANAGAN and BASEL by false and fraudulent pretense attempted to enter, and did in fact enter, real property belonging to the United States for the purpose of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States of America. Your Affiant further believes that FLANAGAN and BASEL were aided and abetted by O’KEEFE and DAI to commit the entry for the purpose of interfering with the telephone system on January 25, 2010; all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1036, 1362, and 2.”

    If you want to object to the use of the word “tamper” instead of “interfere,” fine. But it’s still a felony, and they are all being charged with it (as per the cited sections).

    The relevant sections of U.S. Code can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/ycugtlk
    http://tinyurl.com/y8hoqd8
    http://tinyurl.com/yavojnl

    I mean, since you asked.

    Dan (2e1f88)

  72. Kevin: look at #113, 115 & 117 on the same thread…..

    GMTA!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  73. hey Dan (#71) “willfully and maliciously interfering” might be real hard to prove… how exactly did they interfere? they dialed the number, and an office employee said they could pick up the phone handset….

    i sense a really pissed off Senator and her office that, having been exposed, leaned on everyone within reach to crush the interlopers.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  74. redc1c4, as I understand it, it’s not the phone dialing that’s in question; it’s the request for access to the restricted phone closet.

    As for how hard it is to prove, ultimately that will be up to a jury to decide. However, given that the Senator in question has a (D) after her name, it might be fairly difficult to convince a jury that this group (and in particular, O’Keefe) were attempting to access a restricted phone closet (under false pretenses) just to leave Landrieu some fan mail.

    Dan (2e1f88)

  75. [...] bloggers & journalists) had to come clean today when facts surfaced that James O’Keefe never was actually accused of attempting to “bug” Senator Mary [...]

    Updates: O’Keefe & Tebow « Marybeth868’s Blog (fb05f5)

  76. #76: they requested access, but evidently never got it, ergo, it’s easy to argue they never had the purpose of “willfully..etc.” there are holes in this you can drive trucks through, and i don;t even play a lawyer on the internet…..

    the simple solution is that her office felt threatened and laid on the pressure to make them go away.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  77. [...] Law Enforcement Official: No Wiretap Attempt by O’Keefe Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Miscellany of items Jan 20, 2010azure/gecko: A Miscellany Showcase of Items for SaleTraveling Bistro Brunch Menus for Dec & JanClub Penguin Style Catalog January 2010 Item Spoiler! [...]

    Miscellany of items January 28, 2010 « Ramparts 360 (c5085e)

  78. Has it occurred to anyone that they went to the office for the purpose of repairing what appeared to be jammed lines from the outside, which were not being used at all on the inside? In other words, their purpose may have been to try to fix something that seemed to be wrong, a service to the public, rather than to indulge in some sort of mischief.
    Just a theory, but the problem seems to have existed. Constituents could not get through to this public office.

    Daniel (985a5c)

  79. Just pointing out that I was one of the first to say that there is NO proof of “intent to wiretap”.

    Icy Texan (3ae7ac)

  80. Does it occur to anyone that this is part of the plan ?
    Civil Disobedience actions are planned with the knowledge that you may be arrested during them.
    The arrest might have been planned, with the advice of a lawyer, in order to gain info on the problems with the phone system.
    I’m not a lawyer or a phone repair person but I would think the government would have to show that the phone system was working in order to prove that O’Keefe disrupted or planned to disrupt it.

    I think they planned to get “caught”.

    CokeFueledRage (6c5113)

  81. If it is illegal to misrepresent yourself in a Federal office, then all of Congress, Millions of Illegal Immigrants-Aliens, President Obama, and his entire staff, and so many other Federal employees, individuals, etc., must be arrested, tried, convicted, and incarcerated BEFORE O’Keefe.

    William (bc6e78)

  82. Speaking of Felonies,

    President William Jefferson Clinton committed a felony, suborner to perjury, and got a big fat pass on a crime that was listed higher on the level of severity on Janet Reno’s Judice Department than Extortion, battery, including wife beating, and other severe, violent crimes.

    Furthermore, the Police in the city we moved out of NEVER made an arrest in a case in which our car was stolen and I, investigating it myself, because it turned out the police lied and did NOT check out the case, found the car, found proof in the form of falsified documents which made the thief’s girlfriend the “Owner” of the car, predating the theft by three days, including a falsified Owner’s document, and a falsified Insurance document from an auto-tags messenger service.

    After finding the vehicle the police had NOT idea what to do, and it took several hours for the police to even place an officer to watch the vehicle, then tow the vehicle to the nearest police impound lot, where it, surprise, virtually disappeared, a lot which, it turned out, was also used in a police and city tow truck theft ring, in which police officers involved would place an “Abandoned” sticker on a person’s vehicle, vehicles which were often parked on the street in front of the owner’s home, then the officer would call for a tow truck in which the driver and/or service was part of the theft ring.

    The care would be towed the one of the main impound lots in the city where the impound lot operators-supervisors were also involved in the theft ring.

    The owners were NEVER informed of the theft of their car. The participants in the theft would split the profits from selling the cars or selling the parts of the cars.

    Also, often the victim of car theft was given a bill for impounding their stolen car.

    This all took place in clear violation of Federal, State, and Local laws, yet my wife and I were NEVER compensated in any way. The detectives who pretended to be working on the case changed their story. Had the thieves arrived at the impound lot before the police finally released the car to us, the proper owners, the impound lot would have given the thieves the car, again, as if it were THERE car.

    Yes, you can guess, and you’d be correct, I am pissed off at this phony outrage over “Felonies” when the Felony in this case, to our knowledge at this time, did not include theft, violence, vandalism, assault and battery, extortion, etc. is nothing more than someone who is clearly trying to find out what Mary Landrieu’s office and staff are up to, and trying to find if they Did answer their telephones, if they intentionally avoided dealing with constituents calling in, outraged at her accepting a bribe for her vote, and why the staff did not answer their telephones.

    Get the small fry, leave the REAL criminals, the Big Fish, free as birds!

    William (bc6e78)

  83. “But you’re right. We shall find out if they inexplicably left out mention of some tools.”

    The affidavit mentioned each wearing a “tool belt.” Do you think this meant just the belt and no tools?

    “In other words, their purpose may have been to try to fix something that seemed to be wrong, a service to the public, rather than to indulge in some sort of mischief.”

    That would probably be illegal.

    imdw (9004a2)

  84. [...] Reader Maryann sends this, which suggests the story might be less embarrassing for O’Keefe than the first reports [...]

    ProWomanProLife » Hum, that doesn’t look good (204d9e)

  85. Responding to comment by imdw — 1/28/2010 @ 5:08 am

    quoting another commenter: “In other words, their purpose may have been to try to fix something that seemed to be wrong, a service to the public, rather than to indulge in some sort of mischief.”

    imdw said: “That would probably be illegal.”

    imdw,

    Whether what O’Keefe and his associates engaged in is illegal or not, if Landrieu or any other congress person actually avoids answering telephones paid for by US taxpayers, then, as paid, and hired “servants” of the people, those congresspersons and their staff who are involved in such fraud, must be subjected to legal ramifications, including loss of their job, fines, and/or incarceration for their act of intentionally failing to perform the job they were assigned to and of stealing from the taxpayer-constituents-citizens.

    A congress person must NEVER be allowed to intentionally flip off the citizens in such a case.

    William (bc6e78)

  86. Comment by William — 1/28/2010 @ 5:32 am

    What laws apply to your assertions (intentionally failing… stealing..) that not answering the phones subjects them to some kind of prosecution?

    voiceofreason2 (c9795e)

  87. [...] From Patterico: Looks like law enforcement and James O’Keefe’s supporters agree: he did not intend to wiretap Mary Landrieu: A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls. [...]

    GayPatriot » Was James O’Keefe Victimized By Tyrannical Government Police? (b83a82)

  88. “Whether what O’Keefe and his associates engaged in is illegal or not, ”

    I was responding to this hypothethical: “In other words, their purpose may have been to try to fix something that seemed to be wrong, a service to the public, rather than to indulge in some sort of mischief”

    I think that would qualify the statute that prohibits unauthorized people from messing with the phones. Now this:

    “if Landrieu or any other congress person actually avoids answering telephones paid for by US taxpayers, then, as paid, and hired “servants” of the people, those congresspersons and their staff who are involved in such fraud, must be subjected to legal ramifications, including loss of their job, fines, and/or incarceration for their act of intentionally failing to perform the job they were assigned to and of stealing from the taxpayer-constituents-citizens.”

    I just find ridiculous posturing that aims to use the criminal law for the political accountability that our system already has.

    imdw (95345e)

  89. funny thing is that the fbi arrested him(them), they cannot get a plane bomber, but they were there to arrest this people, maybe is the fbi ‘listening’ to what they wanted to do? did they have a warrant for that? har

    kilroy (71d55a)

  90. You have received at least two instalaunches over the last couple of days, but even so, I am surprised by the number of comments. I think the story has legs and your take on it seems close to the truth. Your analysis is better than anything in the MSM.

    I think eventually charges will be dropped. Still, O’Keefe showed poor judgement involving himself in this. Write it off to youth and inexperience.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

    Doug Santo (17ce09)

  91. 91, imd-dummy, You are what the Red Foreman character from That 70′s Show always called people.

    One of these days, imd-dummy, you are going to drown in all that DNC Kool-aid you drink.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  92. “You are what the Red Foreman character from That 70’s Show always called people.”

    I have tried watching this show. It sucked. The kind of suckitude that will rot your brain. Thus I do not know what you are talking about, but do advise you to find something better to do than watching this show.

    imdw (490521)

  93. I strongly suspect that Patterico is correct regarding O’Keefe et al’s subjective intent. According to the affidavit, they “represented that they were employees of the telephone company and needed access to the telephone closet to perform repair work.” Again, according to the affidavit, the GSA employee asked them for their credentials, and they told the employee they had left them in their vehicle.

    Regardless of their subjective intent, if those facts in the affidavit hold up, I predict a plea to some misdemeanor charge at some point. Assuming the GSA employee testifies to that at a trial, a jury would be easily able to infer an intent to access the telephone closet (they said they needed to access it). The telephone closet is not open to the general public, so that’s a very different situation than simply pretending to be somebody else in a Senator’s office. I’d have to search more closely, but I’m willing to bet that somewhere in the US Code it’s a misdemeanor, at least, to access or attempt to access any restricted US Government property under false pretenses.

    Now, perhaps those facts won’t hold up. The FBI affidavit does not quote any of the witnesses, so perhaps they all assumed that O’Keefe et al were telephone repairmen simply because of how they were dressed, with no verbal misrepresentation on their part. Maybe they actually simply asked where the telephone closet was, and the GSA employee improperly inferred that they were saying they “needed access” to it. No way to know for sure at this point.

    I do agree that the affidavit doesn’t contain any facts which would support a conviction on the FBI’s allegation that they were attempting to access the phone closet for the purpose of interfering with the telecommunications.

    PatHMV (95883f)

  94. I strongly suspect that Patterico is correct regarding O’Keefe et al’s subjective intent, but I’m not sure that will save them from all criminal charges, in the end. According to the affidavit, they “represented that they were employees of the telephone company and needed access to the telephone closet to perform repair work.” Again, according to the affidavit, the GSA employee asked them for their credentials, and they told the employee they had left them in their vehicle.

    Regardless of their subjective intent, if those facts in the affidavit hold up, I predict a plea to some misdemeanor charge at some point. Assuming the GSA employee testifies to that at a trial, a jury would be easily able to infer an intent to access the telephone closet (they said they needed to access it). The telephone closet is not open to the general public, so that’s a very different situation than simply pretending to be somebody else in a Senator’s office. I’d have to search more closely, but I’m willing to bet that somewhere in the US Code it’s a misdemeanor, at least, to access or attempt to access any restricted US Government property under false pretenses.

    Now, perhaps those facts won’t hold up. The FBI affidavit does not quote any of the witnesses, so perhaps they all assumed that O’Keefe et al were telephone repairmen simply because of how they were dressed, with no verbal misrepresentation on their part. Maybe they actually simply asked where the telephone closet was, and the GSA employee improperly inferred that they were saying they “needed access” to it. No way to know for sure at this point.

    I do agree that the affidavit doesn’t contain any facts which would support a conviction on the FBI’s allegation that they were attempting to access the phone closet for the purpose of interfering with the telecommunications.

    PatHMV (95883f)

  95. Sorry for the double post. (a moderator is welcome to delete the first one)

    Let me add one more clarification, that criminal charges very well may hinge on exactly what the trio said to the Landrieu staffer and the GSA employee. It’s not clear to me whether they were still recording on their cell phones or otherwise when they went to talk to the GSA employee, so I don’t know whether video and audio exist of that portion of the conversation or not.

    PatHMV (95883f)

  96. This episode reminds me of the libtard’s reactions to their fondest wish of seeing Rove “Frog – Marched” up the stairs. Delusional fantasies are their stock in trade, and the presumption of innocence never enters their minds if it’s from someone on the wrong side of the ledger.

    Dmac (539341)

  97. “The FBI affidavit does not quote any of the witnesses, so perhaps they all assumed that O’Keefe et al were telephone repairmen simply because of how they were dressed, with no verbal misrepresentation on their part.”

    Wouldn’t “false pretenses” capture the use of costumes without verbal misrepresentations?

    imdw (819924)

  98. imdw… not necessarily. If they had an actual phone company uniform on, perhaps. But if they had on overalls and a yellow vest anybody can buy at Walmart, then no, I don’t see any inherent misrepresentation in allowing people to jump to unwarranted conclusions. There’s no law prohibiting people from dressing like repair people and going about dressed like that every day, if they want to. If they added patches and that sort of thing, however, then, to make it look more officially phone-company like, then that might start cutting it close even without a verbal misrepresentation.

    PatHMV (95883f)

  99. [...] I noted last night, the Washington Post yesterday retracted its claim that the feds are charging James O’Keefe [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » CBS News and the L.A. Times Owe O’Keefe Corrections and Clarifications (e4ab32)

  100. I have tried watching this show

    I think it is a great show. Just about every character on it reminded me of someone I knew in the 70′s. Unfortunately my kids tell me they think I was like Kelso!

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  101. but I’m willing to bet that somewhere in the US Code it’s a misdemeanor

    I think you are right – similar to protesters who cross the 3 foot wide white line outside US base entry points. Handed over to local authorities and hit with a misdemeanor related to trespassing.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  102. Comment by Docjohn52 — 1/27/2010 @ 9:46 pm

    You forget, James O’Keefe can claim media exception. And you’d be surprised at how many in media would back him.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  103. “But if they had on overalls and a yellow vest anybody can buy at Walmart, then no, I don’t see any inherent misrepresentation in allowing people to jump to unwarranted conclusions.”

    I guess the idea is “why were these young conservative media activists dressed like that.” And a jury could conclude “to make people think they were telephone repairmen from the phone company.” As opposed to “because they are in a music group with these costumes” or “because they are looking for union construction work” other reasons why someone would wear these outfits and walk into a senate office and ask to play with the phones and for access to phone equipment.

    Putting all those facts together makes it pretty hard to say that the outfits are not for the purpose of making people more likely to think these guys are authorized phone company repair types.

    imdw (4aaa82)

  104. If I walked in to a Senator’s office, wearing a three-piece suit and a $1000 watch and carrying a briefcase, would I be guilty of criminal misrepresentation since I live and work in jeans and a t-shirt?

    And all this “you can’t see or do” surrounding the “closet” is bunk to me. Was it VOR2 who gave that link to a photo of a “closet” on the other thread? Open the closet, take a picture of the system, point out those blue wires that were dangling instead of plugged in.

    And I don’t think you can “interfere” with something that isn’t working.

    John Hitchcock (c87fd9)

  105. Is there ANY topic that imdw will not be mendoucheouse about? ANY?

    JD (3399c0)

  106. Open the closet, take a picture of the system, point out those blue wires that were dangling instead of plugged in.
    Comment by John Hitchcock — 1/28/2010 @ 7:38 am

    Exactly what I thought when someone upthread said the only reason to get access to the closet was to break or bug.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  107. And there it is… since the media didn’t get the story right the first time, OBVIOUSLY the feds need to drop the charges.

    Nice try.

    AtlasMugged (8e0778)

  108. 95, imd-dumbass, you are proving you have no brain and are narcissistic elitist like your god Obama.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  109. I see we have another troll that just likes to make stuff up. This topic is like flypaper for mendoucheous twatwaffles.

    JD (3399c0)

  110. “If I walked in to a Senator’s office, wearing a three-piece suit and a $1000 watch and carrying a briefcase, would I be guilty of criminal misrepresentation since I live and work in jeans and a t-shirt?”

    You wanted to dress nice. That’s not a false pretense.

    “And I don’t think you can “interfere” with something that isn’t working.”

    Sure you can. If I unplug my phone and you come in and plug it back in you’ve interfered.

    imdw (f7b257)

  111. “95, imd-dumbass, you are proving you have no brain and are narcissistic elitist like your god Obama.”

    There’s a lot of shit TV I do like. Like The Soup, Flavor of Love, Cheaters, Jersey Shore, that “worst chef” show, Rock of Love, Tool Academy, etc…

    Having some taste ain’t something to be worried about my friend. Stay off the sitcoms. It’ll be good for your head.

    imdw (cd4b7a)

  112. OBVIOUSLY the feds need to drop the charges.

    Atlas Pwned

    No question about it, when you see the argument framed in ALL CAPS, you know you’re playing a winning hand. Brilliant.

    Dmac (539341)

  113. “If I walked in to a Senator’s office, wearing a three-piece suit and a $1000 watch and carrying a briefcase, would I be guilty of criminal misrepresentation since I live and work in jeans and a t-shirt?” (quoting me)

    You wanted to dress nice. That’s not a false pretense.

    If I walked in to a Senator’s office, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, would I be guilty of criminal misrepresentation since I live my life in $5000 Italian suits and $700 shoes?

    John Hitchcock (c87fd9)

  114. “And I don’t think you can “interfere” with something that isn’t working.” (quoting me)

    Sure you can. If I unplug my phone and you come in and plug it back in you’ve interfered.

    If you unplug your phone in your reception area and a member of your staff lets me into your reception area and allows me access to your phone and I note to your staff-member that “there’s your problem, it’s unplugged” I have not interfered. I pointed it out but I didn’t do anything about it.

    O’Keefe is known for putting on an act in order to point things out. He is not known for putting on an act in order to “do” anything. Pointing to his well-known MO and his history will add credence to the suggestion they weren’t planning on “doing” anything. And that adds “reasonable doubt” in my mind.

    John Hitchcock (c87fd9)

  115. #108
    Getting access to the closet could result in someone breaking something even if it wasn’t their intent – that is why those areas often have a restricted/controlled access warning on the door.
    #106
    I doubt that anyone, even highly experienced techs, could pick out which lines on the block belonged to a particular office at a glance.

    In any event, the GSA person did their job by denying access so the charges are related to “intent” — a much harder thing to prove.
    Patterico’s theory seems pretty plausible.

    voiceofreason2 (c9795e)

  116. I doubt that anyone, even highly experienced techs, could pick out which lines on the block belonged to a particular office at a glance.

    If someone in the building says something’s wrong with their phones and a quick glance at the “closet” shows “plug-n-play” wires unplugged, it adds a lot of questions. It also adds to a credibility gap. And that would be the point of such a pic or vid.

    And I do agree the denial of access came from someone doing their job as they should. Without a work-order and without credentials, nobody should be granted access. Even credentials without a work-order, access should be denied on general principle and security reasons.

    John Hitchcock (c87fd9)

  117. “If I walked in to a Senator’s office, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, would I be guilty of criminal misrepresentation since I live my life in $5000 Italian suits and $700 shoes?”

    Why would dressing like a slob be a “false pretense”?

    Maybe you’re not understanding how the representation comes from a totality of facts. Asking to see and fix the phones while dressed like a telephone repairman is more of a representation that one is a repairman than if one were dressed in a UPS outfit, or a suit. What’s so hard to get about this?

    “O’Keefe is known for putting on an act in order to point things out. He is not known for putting on an act in order to “do” anything.”

    The question of what O’keefe is “known” to is a different one than whether it is possible to
    “interfere” with a telecommunications system that has some features that are turned off.

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    imdw (a8a894)

  118. John is exactly right. While this conflicts with Patterico’s plausible idea of them asking to see the closet in order to provoke a confession that the phones are not actually malfunctioning, there are explanations for looking in there that make sense too.

    Just a snapshot or a glance could have been informative. Or not informative but a natural action by the curious.

    I’ve looked in these closet things before. Just out of curiosity. Just want to see what’s inside. If the phones were down and there were liars in the building, I might want to see if something obvious had happened in the closet.

    anyway, since I’ve looked in these closets and had no interest in tampering or bugging anything, I know how silly the notion that they must have been there to damage stuff really is.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  119. Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system.

    Even that walkback is dishonest. The charges were not “related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system”. Basically they were busted for lying about who they were in a federal office.

    Subotai (bb0f92)

  120. John/Dustin,

    I understand your points. My point is there are hundreds of wires and not all are connected for legitimate reasons.
    I don’t think it conflicts with what Patterico said but I do think it showed that the group didn’t understand enough about comm to ask the right kind of question to elicit the type of response they were looking for.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  121. Can we all agree that describing the actions as bugging or wiretapping is aggressively dishonest?

    JD (431886)

  122. Sure JD – I agree with that

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  123. the attempt to access the restricted closet in a federal building under false pretenses is, in and of itself, a federal crime (a felony, if I’m not mistaken).

    Then you should have no problem in identifying the specific statute under which “attempting to access a restricted closet” is a federal crime. The FBI inexplicably failed to do so.

    Subotai (bb0f92)

  124. Let me pretend to be a legal beagle (and fail miserably). The DA has to narrow the focus of the jury onto a very specific line of reasoning and events, or perhaps a secondary or tertiary line of reasoning and events. The defense can throw spaghetti on the wall in their defense work.

    Perhaps they wanted to ask and be denied and show that as they show the phones not ringing off the hook (while people are complaining about not getting through).

    Perhaps they wanted to vid the closet with unplugged blue wires.

    Perhaps they wanted to show the ease of access people with better training than a bunch of barely-adults with no training had. And this would present all sorts of security problems.

    All sorts of “perhaps” thoughts that could add to “reasonable doubt” in this issue.

    The spaghetti plan works for the defense here because there’s too much unknown. But the unvarnished truth can work here as well, depending on that unvarnished truth of course. If the prosecution has the unvarnished truth on its side, it doesn’t matter how much spaghetti the defense throws; none of it will stick.

    John Hitchcock (c87fd9)

  125. Well said. We need to learn two lessons from the Left. First, don’t apologize. Apologizing just gives your opponent more room to attack you.

    Second, defend your teammates. The left defends their criminals in Congress all the time. They defended Bill Clinton, even making up a new standard of “sexual relations”. They defend Obama’s record, and his past relationships. We’re too eager to cut ties to anyone who gets accused of anything.

    lightduty (d0ff7d)

  126. Only to discover, in the end, that if we did that we’d be no better than they are, lightduty? We certainly shouldn’t cut ties with somebody based on mere allegations, particularly when they are fairly flimsy, as these are (in terms of any serious crime; I stand by my prediction that there will be some sort of misdemeanor plea). But we shouldn’t do so reflexively and regardless of the truth. If one of our side does wrong, it is our obligation to hold them accountable for doing so.

    PatHMV (95883f)

  127. [...] Pontifications, CBS News and the L.A. Times Owe O’Keefe Corrections and Clarifications: As I noted last night, the Washington Post yesterday retracted its claim that the feds are charging James O’Keefe with [...]

    No Bugs, No Wiretapping Devices: Media’s LA Exposé of James O’Keefe Mired in Speculations & False Reporting (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  128. [...] In which Breitbart gets grilled about journalistic ethics by a guy who was reprimanded by his own network this very morning for “inappropriately” jumping to conclusions about O’Keefe and whose career highlights include telling the Olby faithful that he was “convinced” an indictment of Karl Rove in Plamegate was on the way. A question from AmSpec’s Philip Klein: If, as Shuster suggests, it’s not appropriate to accuse someone of criminal behavior until formal charges have been filed, how come the left feels so chill about calling Bush and Rumsfeld war criminals? Food for thought as you watch. In Shuster’s semi-defense, he does grudgingly retract his own hasty accusations about O’Keefe — which, as of this writing, is more than can be said for CBS and the LA Times. [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Comedy gold: Breitbart and Shuster yell at each other over James O’Keefe (e2f069)

  129. #124: If you think that the FBI failed to identify the statute that O’Keefe et al. violated, then you didn’t read the affidavit (or my earlier post #71).

    United States Code Title 18 Section 1036 covers entering (or attempting to enter) federal property under false pretenses. This alone is a misdemeanor, unless it is done in the process of committing a felony, in which case it also becomes a felony.

    Title 18 Section 1362 covers interfering (or attempting to interfere) with federal communications systems. The (thwarted) attempt to access the restricted phone closet is the basis for this charge. This crime is a felony, which would make the accompanying charge (entry under false pretenses) also a felony.

    It is all quite clearly identified.

    Dan (954933)

  130. Title 18 Section 1362 covers interfering (or attempting to interfere) with federal communications systems. The (thwarted) attempt to access the restricted phone closet is the basis for this charge.

    Attempting to access a closet is not a crime under 1362.

    “Whoever willfully or maliciously injures or destroys any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States, or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or willfully or maliciously interferes in any way with the working or use of any such line, or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

    There was no “interference”, no “delays”, no “obstruction”, no “injury”, no “destruction”. No nothing.

    Subotai (bb0f92)

  131. #131: You seem to have forgotten to bold the last part of that quote… the part that says “or attempts or conspires to do such an act”.

    Attempting to access a restricted phone closet can be reasonably interpreted as an endeavor to interfere with the system, in the same sense that attempting to access a bank vault can be reasonably interpreted as an endeavor to steal something inside.

    Now, if you want to speculate that they tried to get in but they wouldn’t have done anything, that’s your prerogative. Ultimately, a jury will decide the issue. But the plain and simple fact is that the FBI’s affidavit was quite clear in explaining what they were charged with and why they are being charged.

    Dan (2e1f88)

  132. I love asshats that put on airs, claim some kind of superiority, and assert their assulls as the Gospel truth.

    JD (c15e93)

  133. I’m sorry, folks, but when imdw actually writes that he enjoys “…Tool Academy…”, well, that has a whole new level of surreal humor.

    Eric Blair (20b3a8)

  134. [...] that O’Keefe was not trying to wiretap Landrieu’s phone, and numerous news outlets have issued retractions of their initial claims of attempted [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Ben Stein: Free James O’Keefe (e2f069)


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