Friday, January 14, 2011

Billy Long and plausible deniability: Did Congressman Long give the F.B.I. and Sheriff Arnott a list of names of those who publicly criticized Long?

Plausible Deniability refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such acts.

In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a "powerful player" or actor to avoid "blowback" by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party—ostensibly unconnected with the major player. In political campaigns, plausible deniability enables candidates to stay "clean" and denounce advertisements that use unethical approaches or innuendo based on opposition research. (from wikipedia)

Sheriff Arnott told Bowler, "Mr. Long's staff came forward, I don't know if he knows who you are."

Also, the FBI agent who interviewed Bowler said, in response to Bowler's comment that other bloggers in the area wrote critically of Long also, "It wouldn't surprise me if they're not being talked to by some law enforcement agency, too."

The FBI agent also said, "Some people have knee jerk reactions" and Bowler was well within his rights as a citizen to scrutinize elected officials and hold them responsible.

When this story broke last night, news reports quoted Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott as saying that Long's office provided him with a list of people who "were worrisome to Long" and that "that the FBI was preparing to visit other bloggers in the area."

Those two remarks have since been removed from the news reports. Earlier internet accounts of Bowler's encounter with the FBI and Greene County Sheriff Arnott included the "worrisome to Long" and "that the FBI was preparing to visit other bloggers in the area".

In a report on "Sheriff Arnott says the interview had nothing to do with Bowler's blog. Arnott said Friday he initiated contact with the FBI after being contacted by Rep. Long's office. Arnott said he does not believe Rep. Long even knew his office staff sent out any concerns regarding Bowler."

Remember Arnott telling Bowler that "I don't know if he (Long) knows who you are."

Long knows who Bowler is, all right. And if Arnott thinks he doesn't.... Well, I'm not saying, I'm just saying...

In conversations with staff members of past and present politicians, all of them said in a matter such as this they would have cleared it with the elected official before they submitted names to law enforcement officials.

If Long's staff did not clear giving up names of bloggers who were "worrisome to Long" to Arnott prior to doing so... well,I'm not saying, I'm just saying....



Unknown said...

That is crazy. I wonder if I am on this list. I may be a conservative blogger but I have been critical Representative Long myself.

Anonymous said...

This was an abuse of power plain and simple. Of course Long has covered his butt by pretending to be out of the loop. THAT's how it works.

I'm always amazed that during a compaign these guys like Long would have you believe they are "in touch" and the best guy for the job but once elected and when the "hay hits the fan" they pretend they don't know what's going on in their own offices. Yeah right Billy.

I'd say he's using the events in AZ to get even with his opponents and that's sick.

Not fair.

Anonymous said...

That Greene Co Sheriff is, among other things, quite the amateur.

I'm disappointed there aren't a lot more outraged comments on the SN-L too little, too late article today. This is bad stuff.


Anonymous said...

That sheriff is a big dummy. I guarantee these Tea Party Republicans will spend the good sheriff's reputation to get ahead so the good sheriff better brush up on his constitution and stop being manipulated by these guys....they're pros at stepping on guys like the good sheriff to get ahead and leaving the sheriff holding the proverbial bag.

This is like watching a comedy.

Anonymous said...

That is true. My experence with Arnott is that he is arrogant and not very smart. Long is likely a crook in the Blunt mold.