February 1, 2010

O'Keefe on Hannity.

Explaining the Landrieu incident.

The link goes to Gawker, which strains to make every little thing sound awful, but the video is there. I thought Jim O'Keefe did a good job justifying himself while showing some remorse related to security issues. He admitted that he needed to think more carefully in the future about how he does his exposés, but he defended the practice of tricking people to do an investigation. I note that the government tricks people when it does undercover investigations, so how wrong is it to pretend to be someone you are not to try to find out something valuable?

ADDED: This seems important:
O'Keefe... was "framed" by the media and the U.S. attorney's office, Andrew Breitbart, publisher of BigGovernment.com, told Fox News Monday.

Hours later, Jim Letten, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, recused himself from the case....

"James O'Keefe sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney, while the U.S. attorney leaked the information about his arrest, helping the media frame it as 'Watergate Junior,'" Breitbart said.
The charge against O'Keefe is entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony. What felony does the government say they intended to commit?

58 comments:

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

"The same day the man who first published James O’Keefe’s explosive videos exposing wrongdoing at community organizer ACORN came to his defense Monday, claiming the conservative filmmaker “sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney” while the prosecutor made his case to the media, the U.S. attorney involved stepped down. Jim Letten, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, recused himself from the case." via Hot Air.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

In some circumstances, the government is also allowed to kill people, too - "the government does it" is not a great justification for this deception. It sure looks like the O'Keefe thing got blown way out of proportion by hostile media and partisan hacks, but that doesn't necessarily absolve him and his colleagues of criminal culpability.

Chip Ahoy said...

Half a point for the use of agoniste. Minus five points for teabugger. The comments there pretty much reaffirm why I stopped visiting that pathetic pit.

Peter V. Bella said...

Journalists- so called- do investigations all the time. They use the eleventh commandment; thou shalt not get caught.

Mark O said...

Is Landrieu a Democrat? Was O'Keefe attempting to make her look like a liar? Had she heard of him? If her office calls the FBI, what will they do? If her office calls a friend in the US Attorney's office, will they do what she asks?

Score yourself: If you answered no to any of these questions, you have no clue.

Lem said...

And in answer to the question literally more than eight people must be wondering..

Fox dominates all the cable news networks in prime time.

Its as if this was not the case. Some kind of alternative reality.

Mark O said...

OK You can object to one of the questions as vague.

Pogo said...

Thanks again to Crack Emcee for the waitaminnit caution.

Right as rain, he was.

Mark said...

If this whole thing comes back as a coup for Breitbart and O'Keefe, well, I want to work for Breitbart.

Hell, I want to BE Breitbart. I'm too old to be O'Keefe.

Mark said...

I'm wondering now if a FOI request would tell who had appointments to see Landrieu that day.

It all comes back to SEIU and ACORN, I think.

Lem said...

..so how wrong is it to pretend to be someone you are not to try to find out something valuable?

As long as no laws are broken, pretend away.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Why is Althouse asking a question I think she already knows the answer to? While I only looked at the first two gov't docs, the PDF described how they wanted to "interfere" with gov't communications.

See my summary of the way this was handled. Think of this case as a drill at which all the "employees" (save me of course) ran around in circles when they weren't running the wrong way. It's time for new "employees".

Lem said...

I'm thinking of MTV 'Punked' where its about pretending on pretenders.

Bruce Hayden said...

As long as no laws are broken, pretend away.

It is almost always possible to find a law to indict someone under. And, in this case, they should at least be able to show trespass on federal property. More? I think less and less likely.

jimspice said...

" I note that the government tricks people when it does undercover investigations, so how wrong is it to pretend to be someone you are not to try to find out something valuable?"

The govt also waterboards. Thus...

Justin said...

Paterico has a good post up concerning the various federal statutes the government could use to charge O'Keefe.

http://patterico.com/2010/01/28/a-federal-prosecutor-explains-the-statutes-relevant-to-the-james-okeefe-case/

Mark said...

"Why is Althouse asking a question I think she already knows the answer to?"

We're probably thinking along the same lines: the first rule of courtroom law (as I understand it) is NEVER ask a question when you don't already know the answer.

I bet the only think O'Keefe et. al. did was get past security by telling a lie.

Now, I don't want to downplay that too much; for one thing, if this means security makes life hell for real infrastructure maintenance folks, well, what did the phone guys ever do to anyone except make their lives easier?

OTOH, if some guy whiter and nerdier than me can get by security that lax then someone needs to talk to the actual security people. (You see O'Keefe, and you wonder why anyone thinks he can work a torque wrench, let alone a mink stole.)

This will be an interesting two weeks. My money is provisionally on "charges dropped, everything down the memory hole" with a side bet on "oh, crap, Landrieu resigns to spend more time with family."

john said...

Bruce said It is almost always possible to find a law to indict someone under.

Well, exactly. Sometime today, you and I probably committed a felony, perhaps even three felonies.

JAL said...

What felony does the government say they intended to commit?

Still thinking thinking thinking.

And yes, both Crack Emcee and Lonewacko pointed out this was not a done deal when it was announced. And horribly misreported by The Professional News Journalist and Media.

(Did we ever see the word "alleged" anywhere that first day or two or three?)

former law student said...

Shipwrecked does not talk about how Flanagan and Basel's request to enter the telephone wiring closet satisfies the "attempt" part of 1362.

If I showed up at a bank claiming to be an alarm maintenance tech, and asked to be let into the vault, once inside all I'd have to do is start filling my pockets.

Mark said...

FLS, have you ever been in a bank vault?

Oddly enough, there are still keys and things to deal with. (Most of the vault is taken up by safety deposit boxes. I've not actually seen any gold and booty.)

Jim said...

fls -

Did you really attend a law school? If so, someone should see about getting their accreditation revoked.

Merely asking to see the telephone closet doesn't constitute a crime any more than asking to see the inside of a bank vault constitutes a crime, and it's beyond moronic to even think that it does.

If I ask to see the Oval Office, am I automatically guilty of stealing something from the office or attempting to assassinate the president? According to your logic, the answer is obviously yes I am.

According to reality and sanity, it's meaningless. I would ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING CRIMINAL once there.

You're so tied up in your talking points that you embarrassing yourself with your pretzel logic.

Just stop.

El Pollo Real said...

Adrian Chen pulls our finger with "teabugger". I couldn't get past it. Really. Stopped reading.

Why didn't he/she regale us with something ticklishly rude like Jim O'Queef?

wv: "PhonyGate"

reader_iam said...

So far, my original online comment (and its repeat at Althouse) stands, and I stand by it: O'Keefe seems a poster child for young people w/a singular passion but immature ethics who is 2 quickly encouraged,a/o/t mentored,by elders.

Lem said...

immature ethics ?!?!

Pardon me

reader_iam said...

(I've reproduced that quote of myself exactly, as I did the first time here, despite my utter loathing for my own initial bad boiling-down to tweet-character length my reaction to the O'Keefe story when it first broke--meaning, specifically, that when I boiled it down, I blew changing that (in current form) execrable "is" to the "are" it ought be.)

reader_iam said...

Lem: Yes. He demonstrates a tendency not to think things all the way through, especially with regard to implementation and potential implications thereafter (which, by the way, he has himself since acknowledged). But if you read what I said more closely and think about it, I suspect you might see that my critique--as initially stated and specifically repeated exactly--is not primarily directed at him. That's because what he did, in my opinion, is a symptom.

And no, I haven't yet clicked on your link. I will do so after posting this comment, but probably won't read it until tomorrow morning, since bedtime is overdue and I'm trying to be more strict about schedules.

former law student said...

According to reality and sanity, it's meaningless. I would ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING CRIMINAL once there.

Jim -- come back once you've read up on the law of attempt.

If I ask to see the Oval Office, am I automatically guilty of stealing something from the office or attempting to assassinate the president?

See above.

But, are you pretending to be something you're not, like Flanagan and Basel?

Realize you can't get anywhere near the Oval Office without a background check, so Flanagan's and Basel's dress-up game wouldn't work to get them into the Oval Office.

18 U.S.C. § 1752. Restricted building or grounds
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons—
(1) willfully and knowingly to enter or remain in any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting;

Lem said...

its only 30 secs.

Beth said...

I'm going to trust in Jim Letten's ethics and integrity over anything Breitbart and O'Keefe insinuate. He's a pro, and they're all about theater.

former law student said...

I'm going to trust in Jim Letten's ethics and integrity

Speaking of which: Letten may know Flanagan's father well and recused himself for that reason, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Letten is the USA for the Eastern District; Flanagan is the Acting USA for the Western District

Just me said...

Ann, you said "This seems important" that Mr. Letton has asked to be recused from the case.

Given that Mr. Letton's boss - William Flanagan - is also the father of one of the defendants wouldn't it be right to relieve oneself of this case?

If he DIDN'T ask to be recused that would be a story. The fact that he did seems to be a given. Can we really be non-judgmental when trying the boss's kid?

CrankyProfessor said...

FLS says: Realize you can't get anywhere near the Oval Office without a background check....

I'm not sure how close the formal entertainment rooms are to the Oval Office, but we've learned its possible to get into those without an invitation, let alone a background check.

kentuckyliz said...

I'm not a lawyer, but don't they have to charge you with something when they arrest you? So why the chit-chat speculating about charges?

I think they were trying to check to see if the public phone line (for incoming calls) was disconnected; or to pose as telephone repairment to claim to fix it to elicit a damning response from a staffer that no, don't fix that, we don't want calls from the public right now.

Probably the latter.

People are complaining they can't get a call through to complain about the Louisiana Purchase and health care reform and likely (LA being an energy state) cap n tax.

kentuckyliz said...

Can journalists do stuff like this?

Just curious.

edutcher said...

Fox has a piece (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/01/breitbart-defends-okeefe/) alleging that O'Keefe & Co. were going to pull an ACORN on Mrs. Landrieu. If so, and if he goes to jail, every Lefty news hack who ever "spoke truth to power" in some sort of journo-sting, should go with him. This is sounding less like "Seven Days In May" and more like "Cool Hand Luke" with every turn.

Mark said...

If this whole thing comes back as a coup for Breitbart and O'Keefe, well, I want to work for Breitbart.

Hell, I want to BE Breitbart. I'm too old to be O'Keefe.


No, you just want a shot at Hannah Giles.

Pogo said...

"I note that the government tricks people when it does undercover investigations, so how wrong is it to pretend to be someone you are not to try to find out something valuable?"

Governments reserve the right to commit violence on citizens (whether physical or legal), and jealously guard this capacity from competition.

And since we US citizens are now all potential felons, it only matters whose toes we step on, whom we displease, or that we are part of some political campaigner's efforts to gain notoriety as to whether we will or will not be charged today.

The Soviets mastered this method, where it is impossible not to be guilty of something, so compliance with bullying by the state becomes terribly easy.

Dave said...

>>Jim -- come back once you've read up on the law of attempt.

A polite thing to do would be to point to a link where this law might be found. As a FLS, and from your words, you would could provide it easily. This would also help everyone else interested in this case.

Beth:
Isn't most of the press (Fox, MSNBC, etc.) interested in theater?

Too many jims said...

What felony does the government say they intended to commit?

The charging affidavit (if that is the correct term) suggests that O'Keefe's co-defendants entered under false pretenses "for the purpose of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States of America." This tracks the language of 18 USC 1362 which is not a reference to wiretapping but I believe it is a felony. I have no idea if the charges have been amended or modified by subsequent activity in the proceedings.

Dave said...

I don't understand why it's theatre and not leapt. Superman leaped over the theater OR Superman leapt over the theatre. Why older style for one and not the other?

Treacle said...

So basically, this guy is Borat?

Mark said...

What felony does the government say they intended to commit?

Well, if they had any wood in their possession without the proper certification, they can be charged with violating the <a href="http://classicalvalues.com/archives/2009/10/where_were_you_2.html>the Lacey Act</a>.

Apparently wood is now in the same category as elephant skulls in that the Gummint can lock you up if you have it and your parers are not in order.

TosaGuy said...

So O'Keefe is denied a lawyer for 28 hours while the pantybomber is mirandized in 50 minutes.

Glad Uncle Sam has its priorities straight.

Popville said...

So, are Sen Landrieu's constituents' calls now answered by her office? Can they reach her by phone now? Wasn't that the ultimate goal here, to shame them into answering the damn phone?

C'mon journalists, citizen or professional, give us an answer!

richard mcenroe said...

So what did O'Keefe do that NBC-CBS- ABC News, and your local all-action-TV consumer reporter don't do?

richard mcenroe said...

That US Attorney folded faster than President Obama on healthcare. Man could at least have sent out a press release trying to defend his conduct...

TW: entlesse: "Hey, where's my Tolkien collection?"

dave1310 said...

He lied to security? Sorry, I must still be in the fifties or the Twilight Zone or something. When did it become the business of security what you are doing in a Government office building? I can see that maybe they are needed to search for (Gasp) weapons, or at least that there are enough people who do believe security is needed for that, but now they are social and business secretaries and advisors as well? ("well, ma'm. If you want a resolution on your refund for services not provided under section 12021.417.32 Paragraph 103,c,4, you need to see the folks in account reconciliation over in building c-32-176, not their field office here. Oh, no, Ma'm. Pleased to be able to help. That's what we highly qualified, pleasant, well-trained building security specialists are here for. Oh. No, M'am. I only do brain surgury on my days off.)
Gimme a break! Check the ID (though I do wonder why), and walk through the scanner.
Have we really gotten to the point that anyone can make a determination for you that you don't need to see your Senator's office, or drop in on the IRS or just stop to chat with the lonely guys in the Government Quality Assurance office?

Dave said...

'I note that the government tricks people when it does undercover investigations, so how wrong is it to pretend to be someone you are not to try to find out something valuable?'

Is that a serious question, Ann?

The government is given the authority to do so. The Government does so (typically)when they are attempting to charge a suspected criminal, capture a suspected criminal, etc.

What crime was Landrieu committing?

former law student said...

I'm not sure how close the formal entertainment rooms are to the Oval Office, but we've learned its possible to get into those without an invitation, let alone a background check.

Access to the entire West Wing is strictly controlled, while anyone can visit the "formal entertainment rooms" with just a ticket from their Congressman:

http://www.visitingdc.com/white-house/virtual-tour-white-house.htm

Full disclosure: I took a leak in the West Wing once.

AJ Lynch said...

FLS:

I can top that.

I took a leak in the West Wing while I was standing in the East Wing!

Beth said...

Given that Mr. Letton's boss - William Flanagan - is also the father of one of the defendants wouldn't it be right to relieve oneself of this case?

Flanagan is Letten's counterpart in the other region of the state. He's not Letten's boss.

Arturius said...

It's refreshing to see so many on the left becoming hawks on security and observing the laws regarding illegal trespass. If only they would apply the same consistency to our southern borders.

Beth said...

So, are Sen Landrieu's constituents' calls now answered by her office?

The only reference I've seen to complaints about not getting through came from a Baton Rouge Advocate story on Dec. 23. Why people assume her phones are busy weeks after that, after the health care debate is on hold and nothing else is going on on Capitol Hill, is beyond me.

It's easy enough to check: call her office and find out for yourself.

SH said...

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

"In some circumstances, the government is also allowed to kill people, too - "the government does it" is not a great justification for this deception."

In some circumstances, so can we... so, this is not a great point.

Anyway, I think O'Keefe should get a couple months in jail to cool his heels and think about what he did. But 10 years and making him a felon is way way over the line into fascism... He is just a protester / dissident type who went too far with a street theater stunt... If Mike Moore were about to be thrown in prison for something like this (for 10 years) the left would loose it.

JorgXMcKie said...

I meant to ask this question the other day, after fls' rabid defense of Obama as a "former constitutional law professor", but . . .
Do former law students then become former constitutional law professors by demonstrating a huge lack of understanding of both the law and the Constitution?

From Inwood said...

Guys

I don’t want to make this about failed law student’s constant attempts at lecturing us on what he thinks is the law & quoting snippets of statutes. (Or, now, how easy it must be to get into a bank vault like those PIs do on TV!)

But I will say there’s really no sense in your challenging fls’ understanding of his legal bona fides since he has none, even though he pretends to by stating that he was once a law student. (Take that you readers of this blog. I am failed student, hear me roar.) I had a friend who dropped out of law school in the first month. Never pretends that this gave him any legal expertise.

One of the things a number of folks who have some knowledge of a subject do is pontificate on a blog. Apropos of self-proclaimed scholars & experts, there are those who always wanted to be a scientist, lawyer, etc., but studying was hard & so they decided to pontificate on blogs. Funny, in many instances, blog peer review is harder & in fact they’re being reviewed by their betters.

Let me establish my science qualifications: I took HS Physics & there was that college philosophical psychology course, so I can quote from, say, Richard Feynman’s iconic lecture, or make some seemingly authoritative quote from Freud on any subject, or for that matter, repeat one of Nostradamus’ words of wisdom which supposedly predicted that the invention of steroids would lead to increased BB HRs. You know, I can fake my science creds on, say, AGW by calling myself “Former Science Student”.

Or since I came from a family of electricians & pulled wire thru the walls & connected it in outlets, I can call myself “Former Electrical Student”.

And since I picked up John Jameson’s from the Hoboken pier (I coudda been a cuntenda, Charlie), I can opine on Sen. Scott Brown’s truckin’.

But, a little learning is a dangerous thing & in-expertise will out.

Hey, perhaps the US Attorney’s office need to call fls since it can’t seem to do anything positive at the moment re O’Keefe’s conduct.

My wife wisely prevented my responding, in an insulting manner, to a friend who quoted “law” about Bush being a War Criminal & reminded all that her son was a law student.

I was going to tell her that if one of her relatives called #1 son in the middle of the night & told him that her (the relative's, that is) favorite child was being held in “The System” somewhere in lower Manhattan “for drugs”, that said son really, reaaaally should not, repeat not, go there as the alleged perp’s representative & argue with some functionary about the rights of an accused under Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence. I would suggest in such case that the perp immediately get a real lawyer, even one without the intellectual vision of # 1 son, particularly a lawyer who knows the intricacies of the system, or the poor woman’s kid would probably wind up in Rikers with a sore a**hole, being there because of the inadequacies of his related a**hole, # 1 son.

JamTheCat said...

Typical. It's okay to do anything you want if you're a Republican. If you're even perceived to be a liberal, you're wrong, wrong, wrong.

Tell me, did you ever bother to note that the videos this clown made of Acorn supposedly helping him be a pimp were doctored and dubbed? That, in fact, Acorn did nothing wrong and even called the cops when they learned of underage prostitution? Just wondering.