Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ACORN Busters Face Federal Charges

From Michelle Malkin:

"Alleging a plot to tamper with phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans, the FBI arrested four people Monday, including James O’Keefe, 25, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group’s credibility.

Also arrested were Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24. Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. All four men were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

So, what exactly went down in Louisiana:

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street on Monday about 11 a.m., 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.

When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affidavit, 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.

After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.

They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and Flanagan and Basel went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials. They said they left them in their vehicle.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter."

This is not just disgraceful, it is criminal. These young men have taken a strange turn in the world of investigative reporting, to understate the case. It's one thing to go into ACORN offices and record bad behavior on the part of office workers there. It's quite another thing to go to the federal office of a U.S. Senator and try to wiretap the phones. What were they thinking?

Does the word "Watergate" ring a bell?

I am pleased by the reactions of conservative commentators. I have not read anyone trying to justify the actions of these four. Unlike when the ACORN workers were exposed and the left made excuse after excuse, this stunt deserves to be harshly shunned by serious people. Shame on these guys. Think of how their parents must feel tonight. One of them is the son of a U.S. Attorney. Good grief.

Righteous activism is laudable. Stupidity is not the next leap. And, now they will no longer hold any credentials in their field of endeavor.

Let's hope they have learned a lesson - albeit the hard way. Stop with the youthful overreach. Time to grow up. And, stop with the stupid looking costumes already.

1 comment:

nicholas said...

Well, let us say that O'Keefe et al are alleged to have entered a Federal building with intent to commit a felony, but still...

Is this another case of fame being so intoxicatiing that people are reluctant to let it go?

Let it go.