FBI Arrests James O'Keefe At Landrieu's Office

James O'Keefe, the conservative filmmaker who posed as a pimp in video stings at ACORN field offices, has been arrested by the FBI at Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office in downtown New Orleans, in connection to what appears to be an attempt to wiretap the offiice [UPDATE: law enforcement official says that's not the case--see bottom of post], NOLA.com reports:

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O'Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office's telephone system.

A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

O'Keefe gained notoriety for his secretly filmed ACORN videos, which caused a firestorm of media intrigue surrounding ACORN after O'Keefe posted them on the Andrew-Brietbart-owned blog Big Government last year.

UPDATE: Here is an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes. joseph basel et al.pdf


According to Rayes, O'Keefe and another man, Stan Dai, have admitted to federal agents that he helping plan, coordinate, and prepare for the attempted infiltration and wiretapping, and  the two men who allegedly posed as telephone company workers have admitted to entering Landrieu's office under false pretenses.

O'Keefe entered Landrieu's office and told a staffer there that he was waiting for someone to arrive, according to the affidavit. Special Agent Rayes states that two men, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, then entered the office wearing blue denim work pants, blue work shirts, flourescent vests, tool belts, and carrying hard hats, and claimed to be workers for a telephone company.

O'Keefe then recorded them with his cell phone (which the staffer noticed) as Basel asked to see the office phone, "manipulated" the handset, and tried to call it with his cell phone, Rayes states. Basel and Flanagan said they needed access to the phone system, at which point the staffer directed them to the GSA office in the building, according to the affidavit. They went there, were asked for credentials, and said they had left their credentials in their vehicle; neither of them actually work for a phone company, according to the affidavit.

UPDATE II:
The Swamp's Mark Silva reports that Flanagan, 24, is the son of the acting U.S. attorney in Shreveport, William Flanagan.

UPDATE III: According to several news outlets, a law enforcement official says O'Keefe wasn't trying to bug Landrieu's office, but rather to see how staffers would react if phones weren't working.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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