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What I find baffling about l'affaire Blagojevich isn't that he tried to sell a senate set. OK, so that probably wasn't going to work out, but it might have and it sure took chutzpah to try it. No, what puzzles me is that he talked about it on the freaking phone!. I mean, I worry about talking business deals on the phone, let alone doing crimes. And given that (1) it was known that he was under investigation and (b) Blagojevich was a former prosecutor, he might have suspected that, you know, the FBI was tapping his phone. Like I said, baffling.

P.S. I think we can now add "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them." to "when the president does it that means that it is not illegal", "Fuck the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway", and "the bitch set me up."

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What on earth are you talking about in the P.S.?

I disagree. According to the CDT (see http://www.cdt.org/wiretap/wiretap_overview.html), there were 1773 law enforcement wiretaps in the US in 2005, 81 percent of which were connected with drug cases. That leaves only 340-odd investigations in the entire country, and assuming that Blagojevich wasn't dealing drugs, he could be forgiven for believing that the likelihood that his was one of them was very small. Moreover, it was reasonable for him to assume that even if he tried to conduct all illicit conversations in person, the FBI could simply switch to direct electronic eavesdropping. After all, it's not as if the governor of Illinois can sneak away to a secret hideout in an abandoned warehouse to confer with his partners-in-crime.

All in all, once Blagojevich decided to try to strongarm the Chicago Tribune and auction off Illinois' seat in the US Senate, amongst other stunningly reckless acts of corruption, using the telephone in the course of these activities represented a very tiny and perfectly understandable incremental risk.

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