Update on James O’Keefe

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, James O’Keefe (the young filmmaker who exposed ACORN corruption) and three associates were arrested inside the New Orleans offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu. O’Keefe and his buddies were posing as telephone repairmen when they were arrested, and were allegedly attempting to unlawfully gain access to the telephone system in Sen. Landrieu’s office.

After his release, O’Keefe published this explanation of his behavior:

I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that, “Our lines have been jammed for weeks.” I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for “weeks” because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.

On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building. The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator.

After this statement was released, Allahpundit noted that it is a federal crime to “attempt” or “conspire” to “willfully or maliciously” interfere with any public, private, or military communications system. Apparently O’Keefe foolishly risked federal criminal trespass and conspiracy charges in order to pull off a rather meaningless and juvenile stunt.

But was it really meaningless?

On Monday it was revealed that the Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and the top Federal prosecutor in the state of Louisiana, recused himself from the case a day after O’Keefe’s Jan. 25 arrest. No reason was given for the recusal, but O’Keefe’s “big boss,” blogger Andrew Breitbart, told Fox News:

“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 panty bomber on Christmas was given — you know, this guy’s from Al Qaeda, and he’s not even an American citizen, and he’s given access to an attorney right away,” Breitbart said. “I believe that this was a concerted effort, this is just my opinion, to allow for the media to frame the issue to put James O’Keefe in a very bad position.”

Breitbart said he though the U.S. attorney’s effort was part of a payback scheme against O’Keefe, who posed as a pimp and prostitute with another citizen journalist to enter ACORN offices around the country and ask advice on how to apply for federal housing grants for a brothel.

“It’s tied to the Justice Department. And we’ve been very aggressive in asking (Attorney General) Eric Holder to investigate what’s seen on these ACORN tapes and he’s ignored it,” Breitbart said.

The Politico’s Michael Calderone also reported that MSNBC led the “Watergate Jr.” charge, devoting 12% of its news coverage for the week of Jan. 25 – 31 to the O’Keefe arrest story. O’Keefe’s arrest also made the front page of the New York Times for Sunday Jan. 31.

Yet when O’Keefe’s undercover investigations into ACORN malfeasance first broke on September 10, 2009, it took the New York Times eight days to cover the story; they eventually published an article about O’Keefe (not the actual ACORN scandal) entitled “A Political Gadfly Lampoons the Left via YouTube” in the US section of the September 18 paper. And MSNBC waited five days to report on O’Keefe’s ACORN investigation, only briefly discussing it in an article entitled (no joke) “Republicans Try To Crush ACORN.”

Jim Treacher
thinks that Breitbart and O’Keefe are playing the Justice Department and the mainstream media for suckers, with an old-fashioned “rope a dope.” The night-and-day difference between the MSM’s virtually non-existent reporting of alleged ACORN wrongdoing, in contrast to their breathless trumpeting of O’Keefe’s own arrest, seems to support that theory pretty well.

When I originally wrote about O’Keefe’s arrest I wondered if this wasn’t actually part of something a whole lot bigger. I suspect we’ll find out what it is soon enough.

ADDED: More liberal dopes get roped — Big Government uncovers a laughable attempt to paint O’Keefe as a knuckle-dragging racist. You have to read it to believe it.

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