Friday, September 21, 2007

FBI Recorded Stevens' Calls

The FBI taped Ted Stevens' calls. The headline sounds bad, but you won't know much until you get the answers to two other questions:

  1. Were these 'fishing expeditions,' or was the FBI going after something specific; and,
  2. What did they get?
The answer to the first question is clear. Their informant participated in taping the calls, so they must have been after something specific:
AP reports: "Allen, a wealthy businessman and Stevens' political patron, agreed to the taping last year after authorities confronted him with evidence he had bribed Alaska lawmakers. He pleaded guilty to bribery and is a key witness against Alaska legislators. He also has told prosecutors he paid his employees to renovate the senator's house..."

The AP added: "Beyond the calls Allen made while cooperating, prosecutors also have thousands of conversations the FBI recorded while secretly wiretapping phones belonging to Allen and fellow VECO executive Rick Smith. Agents also secretly videotaped meetings between contractors and state politicians at a hotel suite in Juneau, Alaska's capital."
The answer to the second question -- what Stevens may or may not have said on the tape -- will undoubtedly be revealed with time.

Either way, it looks like Ted Stevens' re-election bid is now officially in Dire Straits.

Idle thought: I wonder if the court decision upholding the immunity of Congress from office searches has led/will lead the FBI to be more aggressive in sting operations against elected officials, such as this one.

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