There’s a real irony in James O’Keefe’s latest explanation for why he committed an alleged felony in an attempt to embarrass Mary Landrieu. He is now calling for the FBI to release the tapes that he and his accomplices made while in Landrieu’s office.
We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I’m eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.
As you recall, one of the reasons why O’Keefe managed to impugn ACORN even though they had not engaged in any illegal activity is because he edited his videos significantly. He has refused, repeatedly, to release that raw video.
The unedited videos have never been made public. The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O’Keefe’s and Ms.Giles’s comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.
Experienced forensic investigators would be able to determine the extent to which the released videos have been manipulated to distort, rather than merely shape, the facts and the conversations, as ACORN alleges.
So when O’Keefe wants to rebut the FBI’s affidavit alleging that he “by false and fraudulent pretense … did in fact enter  real property belonging to the United States for the purpose of willfully and maliciously interfering with a telephone system operated and controlled by the United States,” he’s in favor of releasing his video tapes. But when O’Keefe seeks to sustain an inaccurate narrative about ACORN’s alleged corruption, he refuses to release his tapes.
Once again, this reveals O’Keefe’s attempt to limit the damage of his alleged crime. Here’s the part of his statement that doesn’t attack the MSM, with my interjections.
The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.
Note the careful wordplay here. O’Keefe claims that the government agrees that “nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines.” But that’s not quite the same as having the intent of “maliciously interfering” with her phone lines, which the FBI did allege. Now, for starters, given that Landrieu’s staffer stated that “BASEL [took] the handset of the phone and maipulate[d] it,” Basel did do something with the main phone in the office. Moreover, since the TeaBuggers never got to the phone cabinet, where they might be able to “cut or shut down” her phone lines, it may well be that the TeaBuggers never had a chance to do so, even assuming they’d be competent to do so. Sure, they didn’t try to do so. They were arrested before they got a chance to.
As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN. For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.
Note here how O’Keefe’s entire excuse depends on the veracity of the claim that he “revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN.” But of course he didn’t. He revealed that a couple of volunteers, part-timers, or other employees that ACORN didn’t directly control were way too credulous. He didn’t reveal anyone breaking the law (because no ACORN employee did anything in response to O’Keefe’s stunt). And O’Keefe specifically chose not to reveal that a number of other ACORN employees called the cops to report him and his accomplice.
In other words, central to O’Keefe’s excuse is a lie, a lie meant to obscure what he has and hasn’t “exposed.”
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.
While I’m sure this kind of fiction works for many of O’Keefe’s biggest fans, it is a lovely example of the extent to which O’Keefe was framing Landrieu, rather than “exposing” anything about her conduct. First, even assuming the TeaBaggers who were having trouble getting through on Landrieu’s line were actually Landrieu’s constituents (of the TeaBuggers, only Flanagan is a Landrieu constituent), the belief that she, personally, was taking millions of federal dollars for her vote on the healthcare bill is backed by no evidence. Rather, the TeaBaggers were mischaracterizing the Louisiana Purchase, which actually involved Landrieu getting millions for her constituents.
And then, similarly, O’Keefe takes Landrieu’s explanation that her “lines have been jammed for weeks” (which was actually true of a great many members of Congress during this time frame) to mean that “her phones were broken.” Another false leap in logic designed, even after having been caught in a potential felony, to frame Landrieu inaccurately.
And then my favorite part of this whole explanation: “we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.” First, I repeat my question: if the phones that–TeaBaggers had alleged–were jammed were in Baton Rouge, then why go to her NOLA office?
And nowhere in the FBI affidavit does it record the TeaBuggers “ask[ing] the staff if their phones were working.” Instead, it describes the TeaBuggers telling Landrieu’s staffer that they were there to fix something: “FLANAGAN and BASEL represented to her that they were repair technicians from the telephone company and were there to fix problems with the telephone system.” In other words, they never asked if something was broken. They simply asserted something was–and then “manipulated” the phone. Of course the entire clown outfit get-up would make no sense if they intended to “ask” if the phones weren’t working. Key to the narrative O’Keefe was spinning, then, was the claim that the phones weren’t working.
And if you were just asking if the phones were broken, why go to the telephone closet? And why have Dai on call with his walkie-talkie, in a car rather than Flanagan’s office practically next door? If you were just asking if the phones were broken, why delete all your friends on FaceBook after you get busted?
No, it’s clear that, at best, O’Keefe intended to pretend the phone was broken to film Landrieu’s staffers’ response.
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. We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I’m eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.
Once again, if your sole purpose was to “determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents,” it would involve no more than a question. Heck, you could even film the receptionist answering the damn phone to see how she was responding to real constituents. That would be a way to expose the truth, whatever that might be. But to do what O’Keefe and his accomplices did–even accepting the parts of his statement that aren’t obvious lies as reasonably accurate–necessarily involved the depiction of false narratives rather than the truth.
Just like his ACORN tapes did.
Which is why O’Keefe only wants select tapes released.