PHREAKS: wiretapping plot at the New Orleans office of Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu


Jan 25, 2010
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Alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu?s office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans, the FBI arrested four people Monday, including James O?Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group?s credibility.
Also arrested were Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, all 24. Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, who is the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, the office confirmed. All four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.
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.
When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affadavit, observed O?Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O?Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event.
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 both went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men?s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle.
The U.S. Marshal?s Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter.

:prof01:Michelle Makin is covering the story as it evolves on

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