Breitbart's anti-ACORN activist/videographer arrested with U.S. Attorney's son, two others, attempting to bug U.S. Senator's office...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2010, 2:27pm PT  

[Updated numerous times at bottom of article.]

James O'Keefe, the rightwing operative, hero [update: and paid employee of faux journalist Andrew Breitbart] is already being sued and investigated for the illegal secret video taping of employees at ACORN offices in at least two different states. And now, he's been arrested and charged in an apparently botched scheme to bug the office of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). One of his three cohorts was the son of Louisiana's acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan.

According to the affidavit from FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes today:

On January 25, 2010, individuals entered and attempted to gain entrance to the office and telephone system of United States Senator Mary Landrieu, located in the Hale Boggs Federal Building, Room 1005, 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 for the purpose of interfering with the office's telephone system. The individuals did so by falsely and fraudulently representing that the [sic] were employees of a telephone company. Witnesses in and around the office identified the individuals as JOSEPH BASEL and ROBERT FLANAGAN. Subsequent investigation determined that JAMES O'KEEFE and STAN DAI aided and abetted FLANAGAN and BASEL in the execution of the plan.

But it's not illegal phone bugging, or even shades of Watergate! It's "journalism", right Mr. Beck? Mr. O'Reilly? Mr. Breitbart?

Reached for comment today, O'Keefe's actual pimp, the wingnut and similarly fake "journalist" Andrew Breitbart --- who recently tweeted out a death threat to The BRAD BLOG --- had, uncharacteristically, little to say. He did, however, go out of his way to try to distance himself from O'Keefe, who he helped make famous, and has long hailed as a hero, by hemming and hawing to TPMmuckracker [emphasis added]: "I need to find information on this. I'm out of the loop on this. I will make my determination then on when to comment."

Update: However, Media Matter reports that Breitbart has previously revealed, on a rightwing radio show, that he pays O'Keefe a "fair salary" for whatever is that O'Keefe does.

While the previous Breitbart/O'Keefe ACORN sting scheme received much publicity from Fox "News" and friends, the highly edited videos apparently revealed no illegalities according to two separate independent reports, other than O'Keefe's apparently illegal secret videotaping. On the other hand, if the Rule of Law still applies in either Louisiana or the U.S. --- even for the son of an Acting U.S. Attorney --- it would appear that O'Keefe, who spent last night in jail and is free on bail today, is likely in big big trouble.

Golly, we hope he doesn't become a convicted felon and lose his right to vote!

The BRAD BLOG has, for years, covered the GOP's continuing attempts to discredit ACORN, for little more than the fact that the community group has registered millions of legal low and middle-income voters to vote across the country. Our coverage of the most recent 2008 push to falsely discredit the group was documented on this special coverage page.

UPDATE 4:43pm PT: Predictably, Twitter is, um, all atwitter with today's news. Some of our favorites so far...

@tomtomorrow we should not jump to conclusions. who HASN'T been arrested by the FBI for attempting to tap a US senator's phone?
@tomtomorrow and of course we should not jump to conclusions. who HASN'T been arrested by the FBI for attempting to tap a US senator's phone?
@EricBoehlert I blame George Soros.
@TPCarney: Silly O'Keefe, warrantless wiretaps are for Feds.
@jeremyscahill Glenn Beck to host "Hope for Haters" Telethon. All proceeds go to James O'Keefe's commissary. #superspy
@daveweigel "Y'know, a criminal record can make it tough to find a job. Is there some community group that could help O'Keefe out? Oh."
@Casual_Obs "Thank You, James O'Keefe, It's been a rough couple of weeks until your story came along."

UPDATE: 7:38pm PT: A few other noteworthy late updates for now.

1) One of the alleged perps, Stan Dai, seems to have some sort of ties to the CIA, according to Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise.

2) Media Matters reports that O'Keefe is actually a paid employee of Breitbart who pays him a "fair salary" according to an admission on a rightwing radio show.

3) Will the 31 House Republicans who cosponsored Pete Olson (R-TX)'s resolution lauding O'Keefe and declaring that he was "owed a debt of gratitude by the people of the United States", after he appeared to have broken the law with his ACORN videos, be co-sponsoring a resolution to condemn him now that it looks as though his is likely to soon be a convicted felon for participating in the attempting wire-tapping of one of their colleagues?

Here are the names of those 31 House Republicans who co-sponsored Olson's resolution if you care to call them to find out:

Todd Akin [R-MO2]
Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD6]
Joe Barton [R-TX6]
Rob Bishop [R-UT1]
Jo Bonner [R-AL1]
John Boozman [R-AR3]
Paul Broun [R-GA10]
Henry Brown [R-SC1]
John Campbell [R-CA48]
John Carter [R-TX31]
Howard Coble [R-NC6]
Tom Cole [R-OK4]
Michael Conaway [R-TX11]
John Culberson [R-TX7]
Mary Fallin [R-OK5]
Trent Franks [R-AZ2]
Louis Gohmert [R-TX1]
Kay Granger [R-TX12]
Ralph Hall [R-TX4]
Jim Jordan [R-OH4]
Steve King [R-IA5]
John Kline [R-MN2]
Doug Lamborn [R-CO5]
Blaine Luetkemeyer [R-MO9]
Daniel Lungren [R-CA3]
Kenny Marchant [R-TX24]
Joseph Pitts [R-PA16]
Bill Posey [R-FL15]
Phil Roe [R-TN1]
Jean Schmidt [R-OH2]
John Shadegg [R-AZ3]

UPDATE 9:05pm PT: And then there's this, perhaps the most unsurprising news of the day:

Although they repeatedly promoted ACORN videos made by filmmaker James O'Keefe on their shows and complained about the lack of media coverage of the videos, neither Glenn Beck nor Sean Hannity mentioned O'Keefe's arrest Monday for an alleged plot to wiretap Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone. Fox News has reported on the story, but neither Beck nor Hannity had any comment on it.

UPDATE 1/27/10, 3:29pm PT: In his interview with fellow wingnut/propagandist, Hugh Hewitt, Breitbart slits his own throat by discrediting his years of ACORN hit-jobs. Details now here: "Andrew Breitbart a Criminal, According to Andrew Breitbart's Own GOP Operative Logic"...

UPDATE 1/27/10, 4:26pm PT: Updated reporting describes what had previously been reported as an attempt to bug the phones of Landrieu's office, as a plot to "tamper with phones" instead. Not certain of the distinction, nor why Breitbart seems to feel it's an important one, according to his silly tweetage today, but here are the details at TPM...

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