NPR logo Reports: Filmmaker Who Did ACORN Videos Arrested; Wiretap Plot Alleged


Reports: Filmmaker Who Did ACORN Videos Arrested; Wiretap Plot Alleged

"The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans, arrested four people Monday, including James O'Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the the advocacy group's credibility," the Times-Picayune reports.

The Associated Press says that:

An FBI affidavit says four people were arrested Monday. At least two of them were dressed in work clothes and construction hats and claimed they were technicians for a telephone company.

It's not clear from the affidavit why they might have been trying to interfere with the system.

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET. The AP now reports that:

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.

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.

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. 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.

For background on the videos O'Keefe made at ACORN offices, click here.

Update at 3:32 p.m. ET. The Times-Picayune adds that:

O'Keefe on Thursday gave a speech to Libertarian Pelican Institute in New Orleans. ... The New Orleans event was promoted with this glowing statement about O'Keefe by the Pelican Institute: "James has been a pioneer in the use of new media to drive these kinds of important stories. He will discuss the role of new media and show examples of effective investigative reporting."