Over at the blog of fabulist Brad Friedman, we see a post titled: FBI: O’Keefe DID Plan a ‘Wiretap Plot’ to Secretly Record Employees of U.S. Senator:
Remember the disingenuous snit fits that Rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz were on about when the original reports broke of “a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans” by Republican dirty trickster James O’Keefe and his band of co-conspirators?
They were outraged — outraged — that the “liberal media” had included the word “wiretap” in their reports about the felony arrests of the operatives, since the FBI’s arrest affidavit didn’t specifically mention an attempt to wiretap or bug the phones in her office. In a desperate attempt to distract from the actual story and find some way to support their friends’ charged with serious federal felonies, the Tea Bag Boyz demanded that a number of media outlets issue immediate retractions for the claim, and, of course, the “liberal media” outlets complied — as instructed — as usual.
The notion of calling the federal criminals “TeaBuggers” just drove Andy’s boys — particularly the shamelessly pseudonymous wingnut blogger & L.A. County Dep. District Attorney, Patrick “Patterico” Frey — to embarrassingly self-righteous (and inaccurate) distraction!
Friedman’s conclusion: we were all wrong, because O’Keefe really did engage in a “wiretap plot.” His proof? A new “FBI announcement” (actually a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the Eastern District of Louisiana) shows that O’Keefe intended to secretly record Landrieu’s employees in a video sting. You know: like he did at ACORN — which Brad claims violates “wiretap laws” and disingenuously labels “wiretapping.”
This is a fucking lie, and Brad Friedman is a fucking liar. A “wiretap” is defined as “a concealed listening or recording device connected to a communications circuit.” That definition does not apply to a simple undercover video sting — and Brad Friedman knows it.
We all knew O’Keefe intended to do an undercover sting and videotape it. This is not news. Calling that a “wiretap plot” is, in my view, defamatory.
As Larry O’Connor put it: “Who knew @aplusk [Ashton Kutcher] was WIRETAPPING all those people on Punk’d?” Kurt Schlichter identified the problem more directly: “Maybe I’m hypertechnical but doesn’t wiretapping traditionally involve wiretapping?”
No, Kurt, you’re not hypertechnical . . . you’re just honest. Unlike Brad Friedman.
I hope O’Keefe demands a correction. I hope Friedman refuses. And I hope O’Keefe sues him for it.
P.S. That press release has a rather curious and significant omission. Consider that a teaser. Full story in the morning.
P.P.S. Here is Brad tweeting Steve Cooley to try to get me in trouble with my job for calling him a liar.
TheBradBlog @SteveCooley4AG U cool w ur Dep DAs tweeting this 2 constnts/media? RT @Patterico @TheBradBlog that’s a fucking lie & u are a fucking liar.
Intimidation FAIL. Trying to intimidate me at my workplace didn’t work when Jeff Goldstein did it to me from the right, and it won’t work when Brad Friedman does it to me from the left.
@TheBradBlog I’m pretty sure @SteveCooley4AG is cool with me calling liars like you what they are. But thanks for asking! #intimidationFAIL
I don’t live my life cowering from turds like you, Friedman.
P.P.P.S. As a bit of comedy gold to punctuate the post, allow me to present to you the following caveat at the head of Brad Friedman’s Wikipedia entry:
This article may contain wording that promotes the subject through exaggeration of unnoteworthy facts. Please remove or replace such wording.
You know, I —
*wipes tears from eyes*
You know, I think that would be a good tagline for bradblog.com. What do you think?
UPDATE: Friedman responds by claiming that I selectively quoted the definition of “wiretap.” He quotes one definition for the verb (actually, he used it as an attributive noun, but why quibble?) as follows: “To install a concealed listening or recording device or use it to monitor communications.”
Which, of course, also doesn’t apply. O’Keefe neither “installed” the device in Landrieu’s office, nor did he use it to “monitor” communications, but rather simply record conversations taking place in his presence.
Swing and a miss.
Friedman also links to this set of Penal Code sections, which he claims is the “California wiretap act,” to argue that undercover videos are somehow actually wiretaps. (I think it is actually known as the Invasion of Privacy Act, but don’t take my word for it; contrary to Friedman’s suggestions, I am not a wiretap violations prosecutor but a gang murder prosecutor, speaking in my private capacity as I always do on this blog.)
I have looked at these sections and I don’t see where they define what O’Keefe did as “wiretapping.” Indeed, I don’t see the word “wiretap” or any variant thereof in the law. If there is a section that defines in-person covert taping as “wiretapping” then I’d ask Friedman to kindly quote it for me.
In short: what “wire” did he “tap,” Friedman?