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85 posts categorized "Crime"

January 30, 2010

Ladies, meet your new gender diversity coordinator, Mr. Angry Penis

Stan Dai, one of the four Republican operatives arrested this week for allegedly plotting to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu's telephones, is a bit of a self-styled spook, at least in his own mind. His resume features some relatively junior administrative gigs with programs sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Defense. He also liked to publicly hold forth on terrorism, intelligence, and surveillance in videos and in before the Junior Statesmen of America.

You can rest easy, Laura Rozen was able to confirm that Dai never worked directly for a U.S. intelligence agency. Rather, he worked for programs supported by grants from these organizations. As far as we know, he never claimed otherwise. But he certainly got a lot of mileage out of his job titles including Assistant Director for the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University and Operations Officer for a DOD fellowship on irregular warfare. Dai's resume also lists him as having been an undergraduate fellow at the right wing Center for the Defense of Democracies. I called the Center to confirm this claim. A spokeswoman explained that the fellowship was a summer enrichment program for college students, which Dai completed in 2004. 

So, what is an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence? Mark Hosenball of Newsweek reports that the ODNI gives grants to universities to attract more women and minority students to intelligence work. 

Stan Dai, as you will recall is the author of the Penis Monologues, a satire of the Vagina Monologues in which Dai's penis reacts with fury at being invited to a performance of the VM. (Quoth Dai: "MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!! You want to know what happened to my penis? Joan [the 5-foot-tall hairy vagina] happened to my penis!")

The irony is not lost on Marcy Wheeler: "As Hosenball points out, it’s ironic that a movement conservative like Dai was involved in what was basically a program to encourage diversity. But I’m a little more shocked that ODNI, under Mike McConnell, was funding Mr. Angry Penis to help recruit women into the field of intelligence."

January 27, 2010

Wiretapping and/or covert recording at Landrieu's office

Defenders of the four men who admit they scammed their way into Sen. Mary Landrieu's office and tried to tamper with her telephone are claiming that the guys were just checking her phone system to make sure that she hadn't "done something" to her telephones to make it easier for her to ignore constituents who were calling to complain about her stance on health care reform. This technology does exist. We call it voicemail.

The affidavit doesn't specify exactly what James O'Keefe, Robert Flanagan, Joseph Basel, and Stan Dai intended to do with Mary Landrieu's federally-owned phone system. It just alleges that they planned on "maliciously interfering" with it. Bugging is a time honored way of interfering with the phones of politicians.

Robert Flanagan's lawyer swears up and down that his client wasn't trying to wiretap the phone. That's nice. He can say whatever he wants to the press. Let's see what he says in court. O'Keefe's lawyer won't say why his client was at the office, or whether he was working for someone else.

The affidavit is just the first step. It's a summary of the evidence the feds needed to arrest these guys. It's not even an indictment. The state's allegations will probably come into sharper focus later on.

When they first arrived, "repairmen" Basel and Flanagan played with the phone at the reception desk for a bit while O'Keefe filmed them on his cell phone. Basel called--or pretended to call--the reception phone with his cell. He announced that it didn't work.

Up until this point it seems like the guys might have been trying to expose Mary Landrieu's purportedly scandalous voicemail system. Riveting teevee for the over-80 set, I'm sure.

The phony repairmen headed for the main telephone cabinet, but they were stopped by a GSA employee who refused to believe the old "left our credentials in the truck" excuse.

What on earth were they looking for in the main cabinet? Anyone who could diagnose how Landrieu screens her calls by glancing in the main cabinet presumably knows enough about phones to place a wiretap.

A federal law enforcement official told the AP that Stan Dai was arrested in a car near Landrieu's office with electronic listening equipment. That equipment isn't mentioned in the affidavit. I called the US Attorney's office to ask why not, but they said they couldn't offer any further comment because the case is ongoing. 

Maybe the accused perps are the only ones who know what they intended to do with Landrieu's telephones. The thing is, they were busted before they could do much of anything.

The FBI agent already had more than enough evidence to charge the men: based on eyewitness accounts and their confessions. The affidavit was sworn just hours after the incident. You can't say more in an affidavit than you can swear to under oath. When the special agent signed the affidavit, law enforcement officials may not have examined the equipment closely enough to draw firm conclusions about how the suspects intended to use it.

Besides which, these four wouldn't be the first privileged, well-connected individuals to be charged with lesser crimes than the evidence against them would appear to support. Robert Flanagan's father is an acting U.S. Attorney in Shreveport. It would be much more politically embarrassing for him if his son was implicated in an attempted wiretapping of a Louisiana senator's office, as opposed to a dumbass right wing video stunt.

The affidavit indicates that the suspects confessed immediately. (Somehow, I doubt enhanced interrogation techniques were necessary.) The authorities may have rewarded them for their ready cooperation by not digging too deeply into their motives for spelunking in Landrieu's phone cabinet.

Just because the affidavit doesn't use the word "wiretapping" doesn't mean that the men aren't suspected of wiretapping. They're innocent of everything until proven guilty. But wiretapping seems like a more plausible motive for trying to get into the main phone cabinet than exposing suspicious call waiting practices.

January 26, 2010

Little (would-be) bugger Flanagan interned for Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Mary Fallin

One of the four men arrested for allegedly trying to bug Mary Landrieu's office interned for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. The following year, Robert Flanagan worked as a paid intern for Republican Rep. Mary Fallin of OK. His duties included "brief[ing] legislative staff on issues of national security and international relations." In the summer of 2008, Flanagan volunteered for Chris Gorman's campaign in Shreveport, LA.

As you may have read, Robert's father, William, is an acting U.S. Attorney based in Shreveport.

Like his co-accused James O'Keefe, Stan Dai, and Joseph Basel, Flanagan appears to be a well-connected movement conservative.

I'm reposting Robert Flanagan's LinkedIn profile below the fold.

(Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.]

Continue reading "Little (would-be) bugger Flanagan interned for Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Mary Fallin" »

Is this the same Stan Dai arrested for trying to bug Mary Landrieu's office?

Stan Dai is one of the four men arrested with a failed attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.

I did some research. Ten bucks says this is the little (would-be) bugger:

STAN DAI, Lisle, Ill., attends The George Washington University majoring in Political Science. He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America’s Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW’s Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life. He was a 2003 Honorable Mention in the U.S. Institute of Peace Essay Contest.

One Stan Dai was listed as the Assistant Director of the The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) at Trinity (Washington) University. The ICCAE says it prepares young people for careers in intelligence.

(Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Update: Welcome, Politico readers. Many thanks to Laura Rozen for the link.

Continue reading "Is this the same Stan Dai arrested for trying to bug Mary Landrieu's office? " »

ACORN pimp's co-accused is the son of an acting U.S. Attorney (updated)

This just gets better and better. Main Justice reports that one of the men arrested along with conservative activist/pimp impersonator James O'Keefe in connection with the attempted bugging of Sen. Mary Landrieu's office is the son of an acting U.S. Attorney:

The son of acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana William J. Flanagan was arrested and charged with trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans.

Robert Flanagan, 24, along with conservative activist James O’Keefe, 25, and Joseph Basel, 24, and Stan Dai, 24 were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony.

According to the Associated Press and The Hill, Flanagan is the son of William J. Flanagan, who is the acting head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport. O’Keefe was in the news last year for his part in making secret videos in several offices of the community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

Update: Beltway Confidential republished the affidavit of an FBI agent summarizing the evidence against Flanagan, Basel, O'Keefe, and Dai.

Update II: An unnamed federal official told the Associated Press that one of the suspects was picked up in a car full of listening equipment:

A federal law enforcement official said one of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not part of an FBI affidavit that described the circumstances of the case.

Anti-ACORN "pimp" O'Keefe arrested in attempted bugging of senator's office

James O'Keefe, the conservative filmmaker who dressed as a pimp to sting the activist group ACORN, has been arrested for allegedly assisting in the attempted wiretapping of the office of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu:

The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans, 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.

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O'Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office's telephone system. [Times-Picayune]

January 14, 2010

UN: Guatemalan lawyer orchestrated own contract killing to frame president

UN human rights investigators have determined that a Guatemalan lawyer to predicted his own assassination on video orchestrated his own murder to frame president Alvaro Colom. And it would have worked, too, if it hadn't been for those pesky kids at the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

September 11, 2009

Anti-abortion protester shot dead in Michigan

A 63-year-old anti-abortion activist was shot and killed this morning while protesting outside a high school:

(Michigan Radio) - A 63-year old anti-abortion protester was gunned down this morning as he staged a protest across the street from Owosso High School in Shiawassee County.

Owosso Police Chief Michael Campeau says James Pouillon was shot to death by the driver of a passing vehicle. He says a witness saw the vehicle's license plate, and a suspect was arrested about an hour later.

Police believe the 33-year old suspect also killed a second man this morning. 61-year old Mike Fuoss was found shot to death in the office of a gravel pit that he owned.

Police believe the victims were targeted but have not released a motive.

My condolences to the families of the victims of this brutal crime.

We don't know whether the killing had anything to do with Pouillon's political views, but anti-choice sites are already calling him a martyr and spiritual vampire Randall Terry has swooped in to feed on the reflected glory.

Update: Fuoss’s brother-in-law, Glen Merkel says that the suspect is the son of one of Fuoss's former employees.

Update: More details from the Detroit News: The shooter is believed to have targeted a third person, who wasn't harmed. Police haven't released that person's name. Glen Merkel speculates that the shooter killed his brother-in-law because Fuoss owed the shooter money. There is no indication that Fuoss and Pouillon knew each other.

Update: Prosecutors told the New York Times the 33-year-old suspect targeted Pouillon for protesting, but killed Fuoss for some unrelated reason.

Update 6:38pm: Alleged shooter Harlan "Hale"  Drake has been arraigned on two counts of first degree murder. Authorities say Drake had a third man on his hit list, a local realtor; but that Drake was arrested before he could carry out his plan. Drake was licensed to carry a concealed weapon. His motives are still murky. Drake reportedly told police that he killed Pouillon because he disapproved of the victim's habit of holding up large pictures of dead fetuses around school children. Authorities say the Pouillon killing may be prosecuted as a hate crime.

September 04, 2009

No charges for cop who shot fire chief in back, in court

A police officer in Jericho, AR shot the town's fire chief in court. The fire chief was complaining to the judge about the ticket-happy ways of the Jericho PD. A scuffle ensued and one of the seven police officers at the hearing shot the fire chief from behind. Amazingly, the prosecutor says the shooter won't be charged, but the victim might be:

Martin declined to name the officer who shot Payne. It's unclear if the officer has been disciplined.

Prosecutor Lindsey Fairley said Thursday that he didn't plan to file any felony charges against the officer or Payne. Fairley, reached at his home, said Payne could face a misdemeanor charge stemming from the scuffle, but that would be up to the city's judge. He said he didn't remember the name of the officer who fired the shot.

Payne remains in good condition at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He referred questions to his lawyer.

"I know that he was unarmed and I know he was shot," Fishman said. "None of that sounds too good for the city to me."

After the shooting, Martin said police chief Willie Frazier told the sheriff's department he was disbanding the police force "until things calm down." The sheriff's department has been patrolling the town in the meantime. [AP]

Via boing boing.

August 05, 2009

Mission Eminently Possible: Expose L Ron Hubbard

Vendetta, originally uploaded by MacGBeing [offline - back soon].

Dominic Kennedy has a terrific story in the The Times Online about how a group of British diplomats unmasked L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, as a purveyor of phony diplomas:

The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was exposed as a fraud 30 years ago by British diplomats who were investigating his qualifications.

The science-fiction writer, who invented a religion now followed by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, awarded himself a PhD from a sham “diploma mill” college that he had acquired, the diplomats found

Such was the climate of fear and paranoia surrounding Scientology that the US believed the sect had sent bogus doctors to declare a high-ranking legal investigator mad and then taken his papers relating to the case

Read the rest.