The arrest of James O’Keefe (UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATION)

Posted by: ST on January 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

I can’t really add much more to what Michelle Malkin has said about the arrest of James O’Keefe, one half of the ACORN-exposing tag team, who – along with three other alleged “conservative activists” – was arrested yesterday on charges of attempting to wiretap [NOTE: See clarification below] Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

I fully believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty, but the case against O’Keefe is pretty damning and all around it’s just a sad, disappointing story. Not only is it (obviously) wrong to try and wiretap someone’s office (that is, unless you’re an Islamofascist with known ties to terrorist outfits hell-bent on killing westerners), but of course the left and the MSM will try and probably be successful at using this story to detract from the real issues O’Keefe’s stings of the various ACORN offices brought to light. Nevermind the fact that we have a sitting Democrat US Congressman who proudly admitted to leaking a private, taped 1996 telephone call between then-Congressman Newt Gingrich and other House leaders to MSM reporters. That story was barely a blip on the radar. This one has already made national headlines because it involves conservatives targeting a Democrat office and that, apparently, is the only time a story on wiretapping a politician is worthy of wall to wall, round the clock coverage.

That said, it doesn’t change the substance and seriousness of both the story and the charges themselves. If these conservative activists are truly guilty for what they are charged, let justice be served.

Update – 10:56 AM: Multiple readers have emailed to point out that O’Keefe and the others who were arrested haven’t been charged with “attempting to wiretap” but rather entering the office “for the purpose of interfering with the office’s telephone system” – as Andrew Breitbart points out here. Still doesn’t sound good, but the actual charges are now noted for the record.

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12 Responses to “The arrest of James O’Keefe (UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATION)”

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  1. Ralph Kramden says:

    Just because this guy was caught this time doesn’t mean he hasn’t already successfully bugged other government officials.

    There is also the question of – who was supposed to get the intelligence gathered by this tap? Who is this guy’s sponsor? Is it possibly a foreign power?

    I think he needs to be forcefully interrogated to get to the bottom of his activities, which potentially endanger the security of the country.

  2. Severian says:

    While the MSM is pushing it as a wiretap charge, that’s untrue, and deliberately so I believe. They were charged with entering the office under false pretenses to attempt to disrupt the phone system…a far cry from wiretapping. If they had been able to charge them with that they would undoubtedly have done so.

    I suspect there is more here than meets the eye, and far more than the MSM will willingly admit unless forced to. While it appears a stupid overreach on O’Keefe’s part, I am interested in seeing what this develops into.

  3. Tom TB says:

    Severian, I agree. It is not anymore illegal to dress as a utility repairman, then it is to dress as a pimp. If they presented fake I.D. that is another matter.

  4. JerryS says:

    Severian and TB –

    You’re both wrong. It’s a felony to even ATTEMPT to INTERFERE with any Federal telephone line. You don’t need to wiretap.

    Additionally, it’s a felony to enter a Federal Building under false pretenses with the intention of tampering with any Federal telephone, fax, internet or communication line.

    Look it up. These guys are hosed.

  5. I.B. Wright says:

    If he has already wiretapped other liberal offices, I’d be very interested in what he’s heard on their phones. Very, very interested.

    Of course what’s on illegally gotten tapes would be treated very differently by the msm, as in newt’s case, but who gives a rat’s behind what the msm says anywho?

    I just would like to know what those liberals have been scheming about over their phones. Wouldn’t you?

  6. Tex says:

    Probably not a smart thing O’Keefe tried to do if he was in fact trying to bug Landrieu’s office. However, I’ll bet he had some information that Landrieu was up to something really dirty and wanted to catch her in the act. Still, not a smart move on his part to make it so easy for her to silence him.

    Along those lines, why is it O.K. for the New York Times to obtain top secret U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement documents from their “sources” and publish them for all the world to read … including the very enemies which the top secret information is directed toward combating and who intend to destroy us? Who knows how they “obtain” this stuff.

    O’Keefe’s big mistake – trying to shine light on the Liberals – it’s a very dangerous occupation. He should have just stolen some top secret documents from the Defense Department and published them for our enemies to read…then he might have been able to get a Pulitzer Prize instead of jail time.

  7. Hmmm.... says:

    He had to go undercover to get the goods on ACORN. Is it surprising that he needed a disguise to get into Landrieu’s office? But his target was more alert to security issues and (let’s face it) probably much smarter than the ACORN crew.

    The idea seems to have been to film something in the office and phones were a ruse to get in. Too bad he didn’t choose the plumbing — no one wants to talk to plumbers working on a toilet.

  8. Ralph Kramden says:

    A lot of people are asking “what was he thinking?” Even if he succeeded in tapping Landrieu, going public with actual tapes proving it would be evidence of illegality.

    For that reason, this sounds more Watergate-y than ACORN-y. He (or those who employ him) might have wanted to use the information gathered without going public with actual tapes.

  9. memomachine says:

    Hmmmm.

    Well let’s all come together and rejoice that a great deal of ignorance about a subject doesn’t preclude opining about it.

    Wiretapping?

    Amazing you folks still believe everything you read.

  10. democratsarefascists says:

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I will condemn O’Keefe on the day that ACORN is prosecuted and permanently defunded.

    The same day the New Black Panther Party is prosecuted.

    You know, that day that never arrives when you have a fascist President?

  11. Dishman says:

    He wasn’t trying to install a wiretap,
    or even to interfere with its operation…

    He was attempting to show that it was actually functioning properly, contrary Landrieu’s assertions.