They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Rep. Peter King 'Manhunters' Video Sparks U.S. Marshals Probe

Jrvltvezwzbymx2u9jht
Newscom

"The policy restrictions which prohibit individuals who are not U.S. Marshals employees or Task Force Officers from filming inside a private residence are intended to be in place during all ride-alongs," U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter told TPM in a statement. "We are currently investigating this matter to determine exactly what happened in this instance."

King's office did not respond to TPM's request for comment.

Criminal defense attorney Bruce Barket, from King's home area of Long Island, N.Y., watched the unedited video, which TPM obtained from King's YouTube page before it was removed, and said it could be a problem for law enforcement, particularly since it was edited.

"It turns out maybe more often than not that the camera is not the policeman's friend, so I find it curious that agents would say, come along, witness congressman, and bring your video crew so you can observe us engaging in whatever conduct we're engaging in," Barket said. "The fact that they've edited some raises some questions about what they were doing."

He also said it's almost unheard of to have somebody of the congressman's profile tagging along with a fugitive task force.

"Somebody accompanying them is rare," Barket said. "Somebody accompanying them with a video camera is very rare."

Barket also questioned King's attire. "Why was he wearing a police coat and a badge?" he said. "I'm just searching for a legitimate reason why he'd be wearing a badge and a coat like that. If you did it, you'd be arrested for impersonating a police officer."

King's accompanying camera crew may not fit the traditional definition of "press," but a Justice Department policy written long before handheld video devices and YouTube banned media ride-alongs during search and arrest warrant raids. The 1993 DOJ policy was instituted after a cameraman tipped off a mailman who was also a Branch Davidian about the upcoming and subsequently famous raid in Waco, as Politico's Josh Gerstein wrote in 2009. The subsequent raid and siege left 76 members of the Branch Davidians and four agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) dead.

Late update: King's spokesman Kevin Fogarty didn't respond to TPM's requests for comment but offered this quote to the Wall Street Journal: "Congressman King was invited by the US Marshals to accompany them in a series of raids and everything was done in compliance with their procedures."

Here's the original video posted on King's YouTube account, which TPM grabbed before it was pulled down:

This is the shortened version they posted later on Tuesday afternoon:

And here are the tweets from King's account:

Progress overnight on deployment of new commenting system. We hope to move into a short beta-testing phase shortly.