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.
As you may know, Bruce and I have had different reactions to the James O’Keefe situation. Bruce has quickly rallied to his defense, while I have been more skeptical, choosing pretty much to steer clear of the fracas in the blogsophere.
All that said, as the facts drip out, O’Keefe is looking less and less guilty and may well be completely exonerated before this even gets to trial. Newspapers have had to retract “many glaring errors in their gleeful coverage of the O’Keefe story.” So, in this one case where Bruce and I differ, the more we learn, the more justified Bruce becomes in his initial defense of this investigative journalist for the age of youtube.
So, let’s get some more facts out there. And at Bruce’s request, I post O’Keefe’s statement in its entirety:
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.
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.
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. (more…)
While it may not have been sonicfrog’s purpose to explain the difficulties the Democrats are currently facing, I do think his latest reflection gets at the problems of the majority party:
Conservatives are united behind a few simple ideas, and liberals are a group of divergent people united behind a few simple ideals. The former is much easier to craft into policy than the latter.
There is a huge difference between ideas and ideals.
I know I have more to say on this, but just caught it before bed, so thought I’d put it out there for debate and discussion.