O'Keefe releases his version of phone case
James O'Keefe, who was arrested along with a former University of Minnesota, Morris student and two other men on federal charges this week, released a statement Friday morning regarding the incident.
O'Keefe, who gained attention last year by videotaping alleged instances of fraud and corruption in the ACORN organization, was charged along with UMM graduate Joe Basel and two other men with entering the New Orleans office of Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the intent of committing a felony.
Based on the charges, the men could face 10 years in prison and fines.
Basel has said he is unable to comment on the case. Here is O'Keefe's unedited statement as posted on the Web site, bigjournalism.com:
"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 perpetuated 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.
"On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building. The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator. We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I'm eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.
"It has been amazing to witness the journalistic malpractice committed by many of the organizations covering this story. MSNBC falsely claimed that I violated a non-existent "gag order." The Associated Press incorrectly reported that I "broke in" to an office which is open to the public. The Washington Post has now had to print corrections in two stories on me. And these are just a few examples of inaccurate and false reporting. The public will judge whether reporters who can't get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist."