So, asks J.P. Freire, in a must-read piece (for those following the O’Keefe kerfuffle) on the Washington Examiner:
While it certainly invites criticism to enter a federal building supposedly “under false pretenses,” putting on a particular kind of outfit and enter a federal property that is open to the public is not itself a crime (especially if you provide all identification asked of you and don’t lie to security). And is misrepresenting onesself to a Senate staffer really a crime? Picking up a phone (which is federal property) with permission given based on false pretenses might be a problem, but if no harm was done or intended to the equipment, this also seems unlikely to be prosecuted.
Freire cites several statutes which help exculpate the young investigative journalist. And has some questions for O’Keefe:
Why were four people necessary to pull this stunt off? Did O’Keefe and his colleagues misrepresent themselves to security staff of a federal building? Is it illegal to use federal property, a telephone in this instance, under false pretenses? (If it were a computer and O’Keefe were viewing material, that would be one thing. But merely looking at a phone?)
This case is far from closed.