Conservative Activist James O’Keefe Spent $75,000 To Dress Up Like Osama Bin Laden And Cross Border (VIDEO)

From the guy who brought us the doctored ACORN video and the doctored NPR donations recording comes a brand new “bombshell” expose: a doctored video of him dressed as Osama Bin Laden while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border meant to scare Republicans.

In what is sure to add fuel to the already-raging fire of anti-immigrant rhetoric among conservatives, activist James O’Keefe released a video today in which he crosses the muddy, shallow waters of the Rio Grande and declares it “easy.” The video cost him $75,000 and will convince absolutely no one who doesn’t already think things like “illegals are ruining this once great nation.” Money well spent?

In the video, O’Keefe stresses the fact that Border Patrol agents simply can’t handle the vast expanse of territory in which people looking to sneak into the country may come from. To prove his point, he interviews a Texas sheriff named Arvin West who gladly reaffirms that “Washington” is keeping our border porous and unsafe. The image of a beleaguered law enforcement official desperate for the government to let him do his job and keep the border safe is undermine slightly by the fact that West is an anti-immigrant crusader who has occasionally run afoul of the law himself.

In 2010, he was already screaming that the border would be the deaths of us all and infamously told people living in border towns to “arm yourselves” in defense of what was sure to be an immigrant-led massacre of honest, hardworking Americans. Four years later and that still hasn’t happened. In fact, in the last few years – thanks to generous support by federal and state grants – West has watched crime in his county plummet. The borders still aren’t secure enough for him, but the violence and mayhem he promised hasn’t materialized.

O’Keefe certainly thinks plain, old-fashioned Mexican immigrants are dangerous, but his biggest concern is that Islamic terrorists are creeping by, circumventing America’s tough outer shell to commit acts of terror in its soft, chewy center. To make that point as obvious as possible, he dresses up in a detailed caricature of Osama Bin Laden and tapes himself walking between Mexico and the United States.


Now, apart from the creepy imagery and rhetorical question “Do you feel safe?” asked again and again, there are a number of problems with O’Keefe’s “bombshell” new video.

First, the veracity of the claim that getting across the border is easy.

O’Keefe never mentions it, but the idea of a journalist crossing the border wasn’t his idea. Just a month ago, Fusion reporter Jorge Ramos did the exact same thing, only in an effort to see what it was really like for migrants and not as a thinly-veiled publicity stunt to drum up anti-immigrant support. Ramos’ journey was not so easy.

Ramos’ experience wasn’t exactly the same as that of the migrants, who reach the river after weeks of grueling travel. As Border Patrol agents supervised, he swam from the Texas side to the Mexican one and back, taking care not to violate a U.S.-Mexico treaty by touching actual land on the Mexican banks. It was also daytime, and many migrants favor the cover of night. But the water was dangerously real, with undercurrents that pushed Ramos at least 200 yards off of his initial line across.

The U.S. side is littered with clothing, plastic bags that protected money and documents, and other scraps discarded after the swim by migrants whose journey is far from over. Most will have to walk miles across the hellish desert to get to a border town.

At this point we are going to have to pause the absurdity of what O’Keefe is doing to address a pretty big elephant in the room. O’Keefe has recorded himself walking back-and-forth across the Rio Grande to highlight how easy it is to illegally enter the United States, but the inverse is also true. As the quote above mentions, there is a longstanding U.S.-Mexico treaty which forbids a person from actually touching land on either side of the border without permission from government officials. Unless there is something we aren’t seeing (entirely possible with the famously dishonest O’Keefe), he is certainly illegally crossing the border into Mexico. O’Keefe inadvertently became an illegal immigrant.

UPDATE: O’Keefe himself seems to confirm that he probably broke the law.

Back to O’Keefe’s video: As Gawker points out, there are other pretty obvious flaws in O’Keefe’s video. He describes walking six miles from the Rio Grande to I-10, a major highway along the border, but doesn’t show himself walking it. If he did, his experience would be anything but simple:

Weirdly, in his “six mile” trip from the river border to I-10, O’Keefe’s video never shows him crossing the well-patrolled road that runs parallel to the river, the multiple irrigation canals, the well-maintained parcels of farmland, the two-lane Highway 192 (also called “Esperanza Road,”) or any of the other obstacles that stand between the border and I-10 in every place there isn’t already a permanent outpost. (You can see them for yourself on Google Maps.) Although, at one point, you can see miles and miles of truck-tire tracks in the dirt around O’Keefe and West on the U.S. side of the border, where they’re talking about how desolate and unprotected it is. [source]

But that isn’t all. Somehow, O’Keefe screwed up even more. In his rush to scare people he chose to focus on Islamic terrorism as a serious, existential threat to Americans by having unprotected borders.

“If [South American and Central American immigrants] can cross, anybody can cross. And I’m here today to ask you, do you feel safe?” O’Keefe says while slipping on his Osama Bin Laden mask.

The answer should be: “Yeah, I feel pretty safe.” There is no evidence to suggest that the U.S.-Mexico border is being infiltrated by Islamic jihadists. A comprehensive review by Stratfor Global Intelligence published just last month found that the terrorist threat from the southern border is virtually nonexistent.

[A]n examination of all jihadist plots since the first such attack in the United States — the November 1990 assassination of the radical founder of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Kahane — shows that none had any U.S.-Mexico border link. Indeed, as we’ve noted elsewhere, there have been more plots against the U.S. homeland that have involved the U.S.-Canada border, including the 1997 plot to bomb the New York Subway and the Millennium Bomb Plot. But by and large, most terrorists, including those behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, have entered the United States by flying directly to the country. There is not one jihadist attack or thwarted plot in which Mexican criminal organizations smuggled the operative into the United States.

Not a single one.

This lack of any tangible support hasn’t deterred O’Keefe, though. He insists that what he uncovers was a “game changer.” And like any good game changer, it takes around $75,000 to make, particularly with money that the game changer doesn’t technically have. To pay for the video (and his salary), O’Keefe has taken to the internet to ask that we help him out.

No thanks.