James O’Keefe Undercover ACORN Pimp BUSTED by FBI
January 26, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-ACORN, the community group for the poor targeted by right-wing activist James O’Keefe, said it “couldn’t have happened to a more deserving soul.” O’Keefe was arrested by the FBI on Monday in New Orleans, along with three other men, for his alleged role in a plot to wiretap Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office phones. O’Keefe, a conservative filmmaker, dressed as a pimp and descended upon ACORN offices over the summer and filmed exchanges with employees, which he claimed proved wrongdoing by the community group. O’Keefe, with the help and support of right-winger Andrew Brietbart and his BigGoverment website, published the heavily edited undercover videotapes online, which fueled a public campaign against ACORN by Republicans and Fox News.
O’Keefe has said that he considers liberals the “enemy” to his conservative causes. And on Monday, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu apparently became the new enemy of O’Keefe. According to an account in The Hill:
“FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O’Keefe aided and abetted Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office’s telephone system. Flanagan is the son of William J. Flanagan, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, a Democratic official said.”
According to the account by the Times-Picayune:
The FBI affidavit states that, “Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street about 11 a.m. Monday, dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th floor office, O’Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.”
A staffer in Landrieu’s office identified as Witness 1, “observed O’Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O’Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event”
When Flanagan and Basel tried to get access to the main phone system, after claiming that the office line wasn’t working, “a GSA employee asked for the mens’ credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.”
The U.S. Marshal’s Service took O’Keefe and the three other men into custody, soon thereafter.
The fourth alleged wiretapper Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four suspects, including O’Keefe were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.
(Update: “An official close to the investigation said one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator’s offices. He spoke on condition of anonymity because that information was not included in official arresting documents.”
(Additional Update: Sen. Landrieu released a statement calling the plot to bug her phones unsettling: “This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff,” Landrieu said in a statement Tuesday night. “The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward.”