January 28, 2010
James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot to Bug Senator's Phones
By Lindsay Beyerstein
Earlier this week, four young men were arrested for allegedly scamming
their way into the New Orleans offices of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu,
D-La., and trying to tamper with the office telephones.
All four were criminally charged with entering a federal building
under false pretenses to commit a felony.
Their defenders hypothesize they were just "checking" on the senator's
phone lines to make sure that constituent calls weren't being blocked.
Some conservative groups have complained bitterly in recent weeks that
they couldn't get through to Landrieu.
Certain paranoid elements of the right speculated that Landrieu had
"done something" to her phones to make it easier to ignore their
(A rather pervasive and simpler technology for that does exist; it's
James O'Keefe, one of those arrested, is a videographer who became
famous for dressing like a pimp in a purported sting in which he
quizzed low-level ACORN employees about how to exploit underage girls.
In his latest caper, perhaps O'Keefe was interested in exposing
Landrieu's allegedly scandalous telephone system.
But if that's all he and his comrades were after, why did they recruit
Stan Dai, a "freelance consultant" with ties to the intelligence
community, to aid in their quest?
The circumstances of Dai's arrest are difficult to square any theory
that the men were just checking the protocols of Landrieu's phone
A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that one
of the four suspects was arrested a few blocks away in a car with "a
listening device that could pick up transmissions."
Another anonymous official told MSNBC that the man in the car was Stan
It's unclear why the listening device wasn't mentioned in the
The U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Louisiana
declined my request for further comment.
In 2008, Dai served as associate director of the Intelligence
Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington
The ICCAE is funded by the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence and charged with recruiting the next generation of
A university official assured Laura Rozen of Politico that Dai was a
civilian whose job with the university ended in 2008 when the grant
money ran out.
Last June, Dai was a featured speaker on torture and terrorism at a
"CIA Day" for students in the Junior Statesmen of America's summer
The mission of the Junior Statesmen, according to the organization's
Web site, "is to strengthen American democracy by educating and
preparing high school students for life-long involvement and
responsible leadership in a democratic society."
The students visited Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in
Langley, Va., and then returned to Georgetown for a series of
According to program notes for the CIA-a-Palooza, Dai also served as
an operations officer for a Department of Defense irregular warfare
fellowship program before he joined the ICCAE program at Trinity.
I called the Pentagon to confirm that Dai had worked in this capacity,
but the spokesman told me there was no way to answer that question
without knowing which irregular warfare fellowship program Dai
purportedly worked for.
(Who knew there were so many?)
Irregular warfare is an umbrella term that encompasses everything from
counterinsurgency and counterterrorism to military intelligence.
If conventional warfare is violence between uniformed armies on the
battlefield, irregular warfare is almost a catchall term for
Potential adversaries include guerrilla fighters, as well as
international criminal and terrorist organizations.
(A classic example of irregular warfare was when CIA operatives
recruited Hmong tribesmen to fight alongside Americans in the Vietnam
In recent years, there has been an uptick in interest in irregular
warfare in various branches of the U.S. military.
The CIA's Special Operations Division (SAD) is often regarded as the
preeminent practitioner of irregular warfare.
Still others have speculated that O'Keefe was seeking to uncover some
imagined grand conspiracy in light of the special deal Landrieu won
for additional Medicaid payments to Louisiana once she agreed to vote
to allow the health care bill to come to the Senate floor.
(An influx of contractors after Hurricane Katrina had artificially
driven up income statistics for that state, forcing federal Medicaid
Like the other three suspects, Dai rose through the ranks of
conservative campus journalism, writing for the GW Patriot, the
alternative right-leaning newspaper published by students at George
Washington University in Washington, DC, where Dai went to school.
While attending GWU, he co-wrote a piece called The Penis Monologues,
a satire of the play, "The Vagina Monologues."
In one passage, Dai recalls how his penis felt after a friend invited
him to a performance of "The Vagina Monologues."
"MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!!" Dai wrote.
"You want to know what happened to my penis? [...] Look, I'm no
misogynist, I like women, just not crazy, screaming, vagina-obsessed
ones! They scare me!"
Whew! The man's really sick.