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January 28, 2010

Has the FBI seized the computers of the New Orleans 4?

Defenders of the operatives who tried to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu's phones point out that the men have not been formally accused of wiretapping. They have been accused of intending to maliciously tamper with the a federally owned phone system.

Wiretapping is one type of malicious tampering. It's also a much more serious and politically explosive charge than mere vandalism. So, as you'd expect, the suspects' lawyers are working overtime to counter suspicions of bugging or wiretapping.

Since the alleged tamperers were stopped before they reached the main phone cabinet, prosecutors are going to have to infer their intentions from other evidence. If you wanted to figure out whether someone intended to tap a phone or place a bug in an office, what would you look for?

The first step would be to analyze the equipment that the suspects brought with them. According to the affidavit that the two fake "repairmen" were wearing tool belts. So far, authorities haven't said what kind of tools they were carrying. It would also be nice to know more about that listening equipment that Stan Dai supposedly had with him in his car when he was arrested.

Perhaps the most revealing piece of evidence, in this day and age, would be the computers of the suspects. If you were going to bug someone's phone, you'd probably start Googling, or sourcing tools online. A sensible person might hesitate to do those searches on his or her own computer. But so far, these guys have proven themselves to be anything but sensible.

All four guys have been bailed out of jail. Let's hope the FBI has taken care to secure their home and work computers. Otherwise, they're probably home wiping their hard drives right now.


Lindsay, we're talking a federal building here. Presumably every tenant in the upper floors of the building are Federal. And the GSA would be responsible for the operation, care and maintenance of every phone in the building.

I'm guessing by asking for access to the "phone cabinet" the "repairmen" would have access to not just the Landrieu circuits, but to other federal circuits on that floor as well. Unless of course they use an IP phone system, in which case we're probably talking an entirely different type of technology.

And, on top of that, someone from GSA would presumably have to point out the Landrieu circuits in the "phone cabinet" to differentiate from the other lines belonging to other federal entities on that floor (or in the building). If they had not, then everyone's phones would have gone out.

And, on top of that, GSA would probably know the identities of the phone contractors coming in to work on the phones, since GSA is responsible for all phone maintenance.

There are many possibilities - maybe they were trying to take down all phone communications in the building. Maybe they were naieve to think that Landrieu would have her own circuits separate. Maybe they didn't know. ???

I'm just wondering how Code Pink or whoever would be treated if they tried to fake their way in to mess with the phone lines of a Republican Senator, and then offered an 'excuse' that they just wanted to see what would happen if they disabled the phone lines / system.

So this was their intent?

S 145.20 Criminal tampering in the first degree.
A person is guilty of criminal tampering in the first degree when,
with intent to cause a substantial interruption or impairment of a
service rendered to the public, and having no right to do so nor any
reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages or
tampers with property of a gas, electric, sewer, steam or water-works
corporation, telephone or telegraph corporation, common carrier, or
public utility operated by a municipality or district, and thereby
causes such substantial interruption or impairment of service.
Criminal tampering in the first degree is a class D felony.

That was New York's. Wrong one... Sorry...

Here's the Federal one. It's a class B Felony instead of a class D.

634:2 Criminal Mischief. –
I. A person is guilty of criminal mischief who, having no right to do so nor any reasonable basis for belief of having such a right, purposely or recklessly damages property of another.
II. Criminal mischief is a class B felony if the actor purposely causes or attempts to cause:
(a) Pecuniary loss in excess of $1,000; or
(b) A substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power or other public service; or
(c) Discharge of a firearm at an occupied structure, as defined in RSA 635:1, III; or
(d) Damage to private or public property, real or personal, when the actor knows that the property has historical, cultural, or sentimental value that cannot be restored by repair or replacement.

There's another angle to this:

"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"

There was a belief that the Senator had disabled her phones to avoid disgruntled constituents and what these jokers were up to was to document that.

In any case the jump to WIRE TAPPING!! was a mistake and maybe vandalism also.

So, as you'd expect, the suspects' lawyers are working overtime to counter suspicions of bugging or wiretapping.

What is the possibility that the suspects' lawyers encouraged the wiretapping interpretation precisely so they could repeatedly clutch their pearls and lament all of these unfair assumptions in the liberal media?

It would be a pretty sophisticated ratfuck-bankshot, true; but have you seen Orly Breitbart's performance on MSNBC today?

After the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in OK City and the events of 9/11/01 this sort of shit is no longer funny. I assume there is some sort of statute regarding misrepresentation when entering federal buildings that applies in this case. They should get the book thrown at them for that, if for nothing else. The innocent Nixon years of jolly Republican “ratfucking” pranks (google Donald Segretti) are over.

they've been charged with a felony. It could be that the FBI is holding back on some charges because a deal is being cut.

Because they are popular Republicans, they'll get special treatment. Look at Rush Limbaugh and how he financed a drug ring, yet never served time. Or Tom Delay, convicted of multiple felonies and never sentenced.

Soon these young men will be starring on 'Dancing with the Stars'.

Weaseldog -

Tom DeLay was indicted, but his case hasn't gone to trial.

Thank you Eric. I stand corrected.

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