Joe Basel, the would-be fake phone repairman busted with a bunch of other right-wing goons for trying to mess with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orlerans offices, was holed up in the home of one Johnny Angel, a guy who fronts a swing band, in the days before he became known as someone who couldn't tell the difference between journalism and political hackery.
Angel told The Associated Press that Basel, 24, James O'Keefe, 25, Stan Dai, 24 were staying with him, and turned the room they shared into "laptop city," before they were caught at Landrieu's office by the FBI and charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony. Angel told the AP he had no idea what the four were up to -- they were invited to stay by his roommate Ben Wetmore, a guy with ties to a radical anti-abortion group, and who tried to cover his radical musings in the days after what Glenn Beck described as a Watergate-like affair.
Basel is a former University of Minnesota-Morris student who founded a conservative campus newspaper with training and money from a conservative media sugar daddy named Morton Blackwell -- who has since distanced himself from Basel and the others. O'Keefe made headlines last year when he posed as a pimp, and accomplice Hannah Giles posed as a prostitute, and made a secret videotape of themselves getting advice from a Philadelphia ACORN office. He's now trying to pass himself off as a misunderstood practitioner of public-minded activism.