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I Secretly Recorded Mitch McConnell, And Now the FBI is After Me

May 31, 2013 in Blogs

By Curtis Morrison, Salon

“If given another chance to record him, I’d do it again.”

Earlier this year, I secretly made an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican on the planet, at his campaign headquarters in Kentucky. The released portion of the recording clocks in at less than 12 minutes, but those few minutes changed my life.

I leaked the recording to Mother Jones, which published it with a transcript and analysis in April, and over the days that followed, blogs and cable news shows lit up with the revelations from that one meeting. At the time, McConnell was prepping for a race against the actress Ashley Judd — it was “the Whac-a-Mole stage of the campaign,” McConnell said smugly — and the recording captures his team in some Grade-A jackassery, including plans to use Judd’s history of depression against her.

But also up for debate was the the ethics of the audio recording itself. Here’s the latest: An assistant U.S. attorney, Brian Calhoun, telephoned my attorney yesterday, asking to meet with him next Friday as charges against me are being presented to a grand jury.

In a technology age marked by vigilante heroes like Julian Assange and Anonymous, the line between journalism and espionage has grown thin. McConnell was quick to frame himself as the victim of a crime, which was to be expected. It was the guilty repositioning of a politician who has been caught being craven.

What I never expected was the pushback from my own political side. One day in April, I turned on MSNBC and saw U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville and one of my personal heroes, rip me a new one:

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“These are like petty thieves,” Yarmuth said, referring to me and my friend, Shawn Reilly, who had accompanied me as I made the …read more


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