Friday afternoon Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe announced that the homes of current and former Project Veritas journalists had been raided by FBI agents Thursday morning and that he had been served a Grand Jury subpoena with a cover letter requesting that he not make the existence of the subpoena known.
Appearing on video, O’Keefe said (in part):
It appears the Southern District of New York now has journalists in their sights for the supposed “crime” of doing their jobs lawfully and honestly. Or at least, this journalist.
I had to think long and hard before making this statement. It’s a decision that only I can make. They don’t want me to defend myself and immediately tried to silence me. That’s why the cover letter for the Grand Jury Subpoena we received contains this language:
“The Government hereby requests that you voluntarily refrain from disclosing the existence of the subpoena to any third party. While you are under no obligation to comply with our request, we are requesting you not to make any disclosure in order to preserve the confidentiality of the investigation and because disclosure of the existence of this investigation might interfere with and impede the investigation.”
But while the Department of Justice requested us to not disclose the existence of the subpoena, something very unusual happened. Within an hour of one of our reporters’ homes being secretly raided by the FBI, The New York Times, who we are currently suing for defamation, contacted the Project Veritas reporter for comment. We do not know how The New York Times was aware of the execution of a search warrant at our reporter’s home, or the subject matter of the search warrant, as a Grand Jury investigation is secret.
O’Keefe revealed that Project Veritas’ legal team had already been in contact with the FBI about this matter and gave them information that should have negated any need for a search warrant. What was the FBI looking for? Who signed the search warrant?
The FBI took materials of current, and former, Veritas journalists despite the fact that our legal team previously contacted the Department of Justice and voluntarily conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas’ lack of involvement in criminal activity and/or criminal intent. Like any reporter, we regularly deal with the receipt of source information and take steps to verify its authenticity, legality, and newsworthiness. Our efforts were the stuff of responsible, ethical, journalism and we are in no doubt that Project Veritas acted properly at each and every step.
Apparently, the raids had something to do with the publication of pages of a diary that allegedly belonged to Ashley Biden, the daughter of Joe and Jill Biden. The pages were published by National File journalist Patrick Howley in October 2020 and contained entries describing inappropriate showers with her father, among other things. O’Keefe says that Project Veritas was approached by people who claimed to have the diary and that ultimately Project Veritas turned the diary over to law enforcement authorities.
Late last year, we were approached by tipsters claiming they had a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary. We had never met or heard of the tipsters. The tipsters indicated that the diary had been abandoned in a room in which Ms. Biden stayed at the time, and in which the tipsters stayed in temporarily after Ms. Biden departed the room. The tipsters indicated that the diary included explosive allegations against then-candidate, Joe Biden. The tipsters indicated that they were negotiating with a different media outlet for the payment of monies for the diary. The tipsters were represented by attorneys who handled the negotiations with Project Veritas.
We investigated the claims provided to us, as journalists do. We took steps to corroborate the authenticity of the diary. At the end of the day, we made the ethical decision that because, in part, we could not determine if the diary was real, if the diary in fact belonged to Ashley Biden, or if the contents of the diary occurred, we could not publish the diary and any part thereof. We attempted to return the diary to an attorney representing Ms. Biden, but that attorney refused to authenticate it. Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it.
So why is this now something the Department of Justice is involved in? Oh, because now the diary was allegedly stolen.
Now, Ms. Biden’s Father’s Department of Justice, specifically the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, appears to be investigating the situation, claiming the diary was stolen. We don’t know if it was, but it begs the question: in what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the President’s FBI and his Department of Justice? A diary! This federal investigation smacks of politics. Project Veritas never threatened or engaged in any illegal conduct.
Exactly. And if there were some type of federal investigation, why is Project Veritas being targeted? Could it be that there’s another story Project Veritas recently broke that threatens the Biden administration and its friends at NIH, NIAID, CDC, and Pfizer?
“Our efforts were the stuff of responsible, ethical journalism and we are in no doubt that Project Veritas acted properly at each and every step.” pic.twitter.com/IUWaYAinmT
— Eric Spracklen🇺🇸 (@EricSpracklen) November 5, 2021
Around the time O’Keefe’s video was posted, a story about the issue went live at the New York Times. As O’Keefe asks, how did the New York Times know about the investigation? O’Keefe had been warned that “disclosure of the existence of this investigation might interfere with and impede the investigation,” so is the FBI looking into who disclosed the existence of the investigation and details about it to Mike Schmidt, a reporter whose bio boasts that he’s won two Pultizers – one for “coverage of President Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia.”
NEW: FBI executed search warrants at locations tied to people who worked w/Project Veritas as part of SDNY investigation into how a diary stolen from Biden's daughter Ashley was publicly disclosed days before ’20 election. She was burglarized in ‘20. https://t.co/pnDYg4FQ6L
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) November 5, 2021
Unfortunately for them, Schmidt and the FBI just verified the authenticity of the diary, which, as O’Keefe said, many outlets hadn’t covered because there was no verification of its authenticity and the Bidens claimed it was fake. In addition, there are rumors that the diary was left in a room where Ashley Biden stayed while she was in recovery, which makes sense given the way that O’Keefe described what the tipster represented the Project Veritas. That doesn’t quite rise to a “burglary” claim.
In attempting to smear the reporter who published the diary excerpts, Schmidt lends credibility to his work:
The pages were posted online under the byline of Patrick Howley, a reporter who has worked for several conservative outlets in recent years. He was the first to disclose a yearbook photo from the page of Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia that showed one individual in a Ku Klux Klan outfit and another individual in blackface.
Mr. Howley also disclosed damaging text messages between Cal Cunningham, a Democrat running for Senate in North Carolina, and a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
While the disclosure of Ms. Biden’s diary was largely ignored, some far right outlets and supporters of Mr. Trump jumped on the news of the diary as further evidence that Mr. Biden was unfit to be president. Alex Jones, a prominent far right radio host, brought up the diary on an episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast.
It’s a safe bet that Mr. Schmidt’s home won’t be raided so the feds can investigate how he knew about this search warrant. Journalism is under attack, indeed.