ACORN ‘pimp’ charged with trying to wiretap Louisiana senator
Son of acting US Attorney also said involved
The conservative activist who created a nightmare for the community organizing group ACORN and the son of an acting US Attorney were arrested Monday and charged with trying to wiretap Louisiana’s Democratic senator, Mary Landrieu.
Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone. O’Keefe was the notorious faux pimp who tried to get ACORN employees to confess to untoward activities.
Once inside the reception area, Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport, and Basel asked for access to the main phone at the reception desk. (Flanagan is serving as an interim US Attorney for western Louisiana; Obama tapped a Shreveport attorney as replacement last week, who has yet to be confirmed.)
After handling the phone, “Flanagan and Basel next requested access to the telephone closet because they needed to perform work on the main telephone system,” Letten’s office said.
The men were directed to another office in the building; they’re accused of again misrepresenting themselves as telephone repairmen.
Andrew Breitbart, who made the ACORN ‘pimp’ famous, came up blank when called about the story by Talking Points Memo.
“I need to find information on this,” Breitbart reportedly said. “I’m out of the loop on this. I will make my determination then on when to comment.”
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “Robert Flanagan’s attorney, J. Garrison Jordan, said he believes his client works for the Pelican Institute. Asked the motivation for the alleged wiretap plot, he said: ‘I think it was poor judgment. I don’t think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime.'”
They were arrested later by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Details of the arrest were not available. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested, but Letten’s office said only that he assisted the others in planning, coordinating and preparing the operation.
According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street about 11 a.m. Monday, dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts, and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu’s 10th floor office, O’Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive…
After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.
They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and Flanagan and Basel went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.