James O’Keefe: Phone Sting Was Staged to See Whether Sen. Landrieu Was ‘Trying to Avoid Constituents’

By
Friday, January 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

James O’Keefe has issued a statement on his arrest in Louisiana, portraying himself as a maligned investigative journalist who was merely trying to see whether the phones worked in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) office.

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 (sic) 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.  In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.

I noted an error in the statement — the controversy is not over whether Landrieu is “taking millions of federal dollars,” but why the Senate added $300 million in Medicaid subsidies that stood to benefit Louisiana. That’s a legitimate issue — O’Keefe, trying to clear the air, bends it into a bribery smear. That, and his use of the statement to demand retractions from “reporters who can’t get their facts straight,” indicate that he’s going to fight this out.

The full statement:

The government has now confirmed what has always been clear:  No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office.  Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines.  Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.

As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN.  For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.

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.  In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.

On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building.  The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator.  We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I’m eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.

It has been amazing to witness the journalistic malpractice committed by many of the organizations covering this story.  MSNBC falsely claimed that I violated a non-existent “gag order.”  The Associated Press incorrectly reported that I “broke in” to an office which is open to the public.  The Washington Post has now had to print corrections in two stories on me.  And these are just a few examples of inaccurate and false reporting.  The public will judge whether reporters who can’t get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist.

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Comments

43 Comments

antsydrew
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 11:47 am

And why shouldn't he fight it? He's a dishonest twerp, but in this case, his critics went way way overboard. More red meat for Breitbart to chew on.

And, in the end, however loathsome an investigator is, I don't think people should be against challenging the claims public officials. Maybe his tactics were over the line… but I'm not even 100% sure on that at this point.

So, basically, hate the player, but not the game.


z
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

“The public will judge whether reporters who can’t get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist.”

Dressing up like the village people and imagining it would fool security at a Federal building is what brought his integrity as a journalist into question.

Q: Why did his accomplices ask to go to the building's telephone closet if they just wanted to see whether or not Landrieu was telling the truth about her phones ringing off the hook and make some sort of Michael Moore-ish parody video?


Andrew Blartbart
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

Little d-bag pretends there's a difference between “jammed” and broken phone lines.

In any event, fucker broke the law and he should be going to prison.


republicanstupidity
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

SEND THE LITTLE FAGGOT TO JAIL PERIOD! IF THIS WAS A DEMOCRATIC OP THE REICHWING MEDIA WOULD NEVER STOP GET THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT GET THIS GET THAT……….PHUCK EM ALL SEND THIER ASSES TO JAIL PERIOD


CTSadler
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

I wonder how his big vocabulary will help him in prison? He'll have a swastika tattooed on his ass by next year.


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

He's a dishonest twerp, but in this case, his critics went way way overboard.

How did they go overboard? By initially being mistaken in that he was not charged with bugging the phones, but with tampering with the phones? Yeah, that's so far overboard; it's just crazy talk!

And, in the end, however loathsome an investigator is, I don't think people should be against challenging the claims public officials.

Who is against that? That man you're fighting, he's made of straw.

Maybe his tactics were over the line… but I'm not even 100% sure on that at this point.

Really? What would convince you? If what the idiot says is true (not very likely, but whatever), he and his friends broke multiple laws in order to prove that a senator's phones don't work. You're not 100% sure that is over the line?

So, basically, hate the player, but not the game.

I'll hate the game, thank you very much.


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

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.

He's lying. Who doesn't know that phones being “jammed” means a heavy load of calls is tying up the lines, and not that the phone system is broken?


antsydrew
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

Come on: people were calling this another Watergate, alleging all sorts of things, making claims about wiretapping and then having to retract them. That's the very definition of overboard.

And no, depending on the truth of what they did, I'm not entirely sure what they did should be against the law (separate from whether or not what they did fit some criminal statute). I AM sort of in favor of private citizens being able to pull stings and challenge elected officials. That's the side of the line I want to be on.


Jon H
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

Gee, why didn't he just test their phone system by calling it? He could even dial the number while in the office, to see if it rang.

What a moron.


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

Come on: people were calling this another Watergate, alleging all sorts of things, making claims about wiretapping and then having to retract them. That's the very definition of overboard.

The Watergate plumbers tapped the phones of the DNC office. O'Keefe and his pals are alleged to have been “tampering” with the phones in a federal building, after gaining admittance under false pretenses. You don't see the similarities? Are you blind?

And no, depending on the truth of what they did, I'm not entirely sure what they did should be against the law (separate from whether or not what they did fit some criminal statute).

If they violated a criminal statute, what they did was against the law. You cannot separate one from the other; they are one and the same.

I AM sort of in favor of private citizens being able to pull stings and challenge elected officials. That's the side of the line I want to be on.

So basically, you believe private citizens should be immune from criminal laws, as long as they are breaking them to “challenge elected officials.” Wow.


antsydrew
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

“You don't see the similarities? Are you blind?”

But even the tampering charge looks weak. So, no. This looks like Michael Moorish-style stunt.

“If they violated a criminal statute, what they did was against the law. You cannot separate one from the other; they are one and the same.”

I can't have an opinion about what should or should not be against the law? Yes, if there is some criminal statute that fits, and the state can make the case, they'll get convicted.

“So basically, you believe private citizens should be immune from criminal laws, as long as they are breaking them to “challenge elected officials.” Wow.”

No, I'm in favor of stings not being against the law in the first place. Laws designed to protect elected officials from scrutiny and embarrassment are bad. Note that the same laws that protect government officials you like also protect those you don't like.


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

But even the tampering charge looks weak. So, no. This looks like Michael Moorish-style stunt.

They tried to access the central telephone system. For what, if not tampering? The charge doesn't look the slightest bit weak.

I can't have an opinion about what should or should not be against the law?

You can have all the opinions you want, but as far as prosecution, it doesn't matter what laws you or I think are just. Breaking the law is breaking the law.

Yes, if there is some criminal statute that fits, and the state can make the case, they'll get convicted.

Correction: They should be convicted. Don't you agree?

No, I'm in favor of stings not being against the law in the first place. Laws designed to protect elected officials from scrutiny and embarrassment are bad.

The laws pimp boy and his pals broke are not designed to protect elected officials from scrutiny and embarrassment, they are designed to keep dangerous criminals and foreign agents from committing crimes in a damned federal building. If you had it your way, China, Russia, and Iran could tap–er, excuse me–tamper with every senator's phone, not to mention the White House, the CIA, the FBI, etc. and it wouldn't be against the law. Are you seriously advocating this?

. Note that the same laws that protect government officials you like also protect those you don't like.

Yeah, I know. I consider that a good thing.


chrisjay
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

“even the tampering charges look weak”
They look weak to you because you are trying to rationalize this whole thing away—O'Keefe's explanation is beyond laughable and you are willingly credulous—-not at all the critical thinking I'd expect from the real Nancy Drew.
He's looking at federal charges which could bring upwards of ten years, as those of us in the real world would recognize


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antsydrew
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

Ok, believe that if you want. We'll see.

“They look weak to you because you are trying to rationalize this whole thing away—O'Keefe's explanation is beyond laughable”

His explanation is the one that looked most likely from the start. Why would they film a wiretapping or tampering attempt?


chrisjay
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

You're right about one thing:
—-we'll see


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

His explanation is the one that looked most likely from the start.

No it didn't. His explanation is that they were there to prove that the senator's phones were broken by filming themselves calling them and not getting through. If that was true why did they a) dress in disguise and misrepresent themselves as telephone repairmen, and b) request access to the central phone system? They would not need to do either of those things to show the senator's phones weren't working. Hell, O'Keefe was already in the office, not dressed in disguise, and ready to get video of their activity. If he just wanted to show, on video, that the senator's office phones were not receiving calls, he could have done so right there with no deception involved. And there is absolutely no reason why they would need to access the central system, if O'Keefe's explanation of their intent were to be believed. No, it seems abundantly clear, to any rational observer, that the fact that they misrepresented themselves and tried to gain access to the central system indicates they were trying to tamper with that system in some way. It's possible this is not the case, but very unlikely.


mikeflagg
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

This dickweed calls himself a journalist? Since when?


nathanhj
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

I'm sorry, what massive corruption and fraud did he expose at ACORN by showing that some people were willing to talk for a long time about how to help a woman escape from a violent and brutal pimp?


antsydrew
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

You're going to have to explain to me what the point of “tampering” with the phones was, exactly, let alone FILMING themselves doing it. They clearly wanted to find out if there was something funky going on with the phones: it had been a hot right-wing angle for the last few weeks. If there were some evidence that they were going to try and disable the phones or something, you'd think that would be in the original affidavit. Instead, there's nothing to that effect.

I would say that if the government can show that they did intend to tamper or disable the lines, they're going down, and rightly. But if not, I would guess that the charge either isn't going to hold up, or will be a misdemeanor (under 1036 b,2).


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

You're going to have to explain to me what the point of “tampering” with the phones was

I have no idea, but that doesn't mean they weren't trying. Don't ask me, ask the feds. Here's a little bit from their affidavit:

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 purposes of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States…Flanagan and Basel were aided and abetted by O'Keefe and Dai to commit the entry for the purposes of interfering with the telephone system

let alone FILMING themselves doing it.

From what I understand, O'Keefe was filming in the office, as the fake telephone repairmen committed their fraudulent activities, but he was not with them when they attempted to gain access to the central system. But again, I don't know why they were filming their own crimes, but I can only assume it's because they are total fucking morons.

They clearly wanted to find out if there was something funky going on with the phones

Maybe, but why did they need to pose as telephone repairmen and break several laws doing so?

it had been a hot right-wing angle for the last few weeks.

Obama's birth certificate is a “hot right-wing angle” too. Does that mean wingnuts should be allowed to break into the White House?

If there were some evidence that they were going to try and disable the phones or something, you'd think that would be in the original affidavit. Instead, there's nothing to that effect.

Again, from the affidavit:

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 purposes of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States…Flanagan and Basel were aided and abetted by O'Keefe and Dai to commit the entry for the purposes of interfering with the telephone system

It's right in front of your face. Learn to read. Or do you think “willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States” doesn't count?


piniella
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

O'keefe is trying to fool the rubes: “Jammed” doesn't not mean “broken”


24AheadDotCom
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

This is one of those rare instances where Dave Weigel wasn't lying through his teeth. Apparently there were so many other people lying about the facts of this matter that he decided he didn't need to join in.

P.S. I tweeted about what the government was actually saying around 3pm Pacific on Tuesday, a few hours after the story broke. Please see my discussion of why this is an important issue here.


mantis
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

No one is interested in your crazy birther website. Stop trollling for clicks, spambot.


Name
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

Only part of the event he didn't mention-the part where he was ARRESTED for a possible FELONY and TAKEN AWAY IN HANDCUFFS.


24AheadDotCom
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

Please stop following me around here like a stalker. I've repeatedly asked you and other sockpuppets to find even one specific thing I've gotten wrong, and you and the other sockpuppets were unable to comply. If you find any post at my site – there are almost 10,000 of them – that's false, misleading, or illogical, post the link, the excerpt, and what you think is wrong about it. The fact that no one is able to do that shows you for what you are.


rnews
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

@sshole. “On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation…” really? why not try thinking through your tactics BEFORE you implement them. that way your attempts at obtaining “gotcha” moments on video, what you seem to believe is investigative journalism, won't be confiscated by the cops when you are arrested. supreme @sshole.


whistlerblue
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

If ACORN had done what he claims he was doing, I wonder what O'Keefe would say.


urabonehead
Comment posted January 29, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

Alternative possibility #1 – no-one can be bothered to understand your ramblings on your site.

Alternative possibility #2 – your inability to post a reference to anything except your own site is like watching someone masturbate, so most people avert their eyes.

Alternative possibility #3 – no-one actually bothers to go to your site unless they like watching you masturbate. I am thinkin' it's a pretty small crew that are into that.


monkey99
Comment posted January 30, 2010 @ 2:01 am

“Mommy, it wasn't as bad as the principal said it was”….Sure, Jimmy, tell that to the Judge. See how much play it gets.


monkey99
Comment posted January 30, 2010 @ 2:53 am

No one is stalking you….It's all in your imagination, like the Kenyan BC or the long form….


The Tim Channel
Comment posted January 30, 2010 @ 7:00 am

It's not like he tortured the testicles of innocent toddlers in an attempt to persuade their Iraqi parents to give up information on the whereabouts of Saddam's imaginary WMD's. If he had done that, we'd all be forced to turn our gaze to the future and he could go on Sunday TV and brag about all the terrorism he saved the country from.

I'm not saying what he did wasn't a crime. It just wasn't a big enough crime to elicit a 'get out of jail free' card. Next time he'll be wise to commit a crime 'too big to prosecute'.

Enjoy.


uberVU - social comments
Trackback posted January 30, 2010 @ 9:15 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by daveweigel: Classy of James O’Keefe to accuse Landrieu of “taking millions of federal dollars.” Libelous little twerp. http://bit.ly/9Tdm9w...


Chuck
Comment posted January 30, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

In evaluating O’Keefe’s credibility and his explanation for this excapade, take note of his claim that his punking ONE Acorn office staffed by idiots constitutes revealing “massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by Acorn.”


monkey100
Comment posted January 30, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

So much for innocent until proven guilty. Oh wait, it's honest and good journalism if you end up in jail for breaking the rules in an attempt to expose corruption…unless they vote differently than you.


Ogami Itto
Comment posted January 31, 2010 @ 8:34 am

He'll probably have “parking in rear” tattooed on his ass, too.


Ogami Itto
Comment posted January 31, 2010 @ 8:38 am

Or “Too Big to Jail” as it were. ;-)


mantis
Comment posted January 31, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

I don't respond to requests from spambots.


WilyArmadilla
Comment posted February 1, 2010 @ 9:44 am

I notice that the little weasel didn't bother to admit that Landrieu's people WEREN'T 'avoiding' calls by anti-healthcare constituents.

Nor does he bother to distinguish between the Senator's phones being jammed, (perhaps by a high volume of calls from her constituents?), and her phones being 'broken'. I didn't see anywhere that Landrieu's office said their phone system was broken, simply that their phones were jammed.

I hope O'Keefe gets a good hard slap-down for this.


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adcbeast
Comment posted February 3, 2010 @ 11:43 am

There was ZERO reason for O'Keefe and his criminal cohorts to misrepresent themselves to the Senators office.

They could have had a camera out in the open film O'Keefe call the office and see what happens.

O'Keefe admitted to the initial crime of misrepresentation in a federal building. In his interrogation and on Hannity's show.

There would be no reason to look at the phone closet unless you were going to do something to the phones in the office.

O'Keefe found out that the law applies to privileged people too.

He better entertain the idea that he is going to federal pound me in the [] prison.


adcbeast
Comment posted February 3, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

There was ZERO reason for O'Keefe and his criminal cohorts to misrepresent themselves to the Senators office.

They could have had a camera out in the open film O'Keefe call the office and see what happens.

O'Keefe admitted to the initial crime of misrepresentation in a federal building. In his interrogation and on Hannity's show.

There would be no reason to look at the phone closet unless you were going to do something to the phones in the office.

O'Keefe found out that the law applies to privileged people too.

He better entertain the idea that he is going to federal pound me in the [] prison.


joe
Comment posted October 3, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

O'Keefe and gang are scum. Note the recent CNN thing. What trash. And, it confirms what most of us knew on the ACORN story. Just a ruse, a setup, a sick and twisted way of screwing those who help the poor.

He should be in jail.


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