Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided the New York homes of people tied to the conservative group Project Veritas. The raid came months after the group received a diary that a tipster claimed belonged to President Joe Biden’s youngest daughter Ashley Biden. Two people, Aimee Harris, 40, of Palm Beach and Robert Kurlander, 58, of Jupiter, have now pled guilty to the theft.
The raid was revealed by James O’Keefe, the leader of the organisation, in a video posted on YouTube. O’Keefe said that his organization had received a grand jury subpoena and current and former Project Veritas employees had their homes searched by federal agents.
But, what is Project Veritas?
James O’Keefe started Project Veritas, an American far-right activist organisation, in 2010. In order to undermine mainstream media institutions and progressive organisations, the group allegedly produces fake videos of its undercover operations, which employ covert recordings.
Project Veritas has also used entrapment to create negative publicity for its targets, as well as spread disinformation and conspiracy theories through its films and activities.
It is essentially a conservative media organisation dedicated to secretly infiltrating progressive organisations to produce unflattering and often selectively edited videos.
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Project Veritas has frequently been criticized for editing its videos to deceive its audience and misrepresent its subjects. In 2009, O’Keefe released tapes purporting to show ACORN staff counselling him on tax issues related to alleged sex trafficking and prostitution operations. The films of O’Keefe were significantly altered, and the Brooklyn district attorney exonerated ACORN of any wrongdoing. The films were politically harmful, prompting Congress to halt financing for the organisation, which declared bankruptcy in 2010.
New York magazine described O’Keefe’s ACRON videos as having been “edited in a highly misleading way.”
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A 2010 investigation into the ACORN videos by former California Attorney General Jerry Brown, found that O’Keefe’s videos were “severely edited,” and an accompanying press release described O’Keefe as a “partisan zealot.”
In 2016, Andrew Seaman—chair of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee—wrote that O’Keefe is “not an ethical journalist” and has a “history of distorting facts or context.”