Attacked Journalist, James O’Keefe Breaks Silence About FBI Raid
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe has spoken for the first time on ‘Hannity’ after his New York home was raided by FBI agents on Saturday over a stolen diary said to belong to President Joe Biden‘s daughter Ashley.
O’Keefe, who was joined by attorney Paul Calli on the Fox News broadcaster’s show, slammed the Department of Justice for authorizing the raid which he said was ‘an attack on the First Amendment’ and called upon all journalists to take a stand against the infringement of confidentiality.
‘I’ve heard ”the process is the punishment.” I didn’t really understand what that meant until this weekend. I wouldn’t wish this on any journalist,’ O’Keefe said.
‘If they can do this to me, if they can do it to any journalist.’
O’Keefe went on to describe how he was woken abruptly by FBI agents and handcuffed while they ransacked his home.
‘I woke up to a pre-dawn raid, banging on my door. I went to my door to answer the door and there were ten FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights, they turned me around, handcuffed me and threw me against the hallway.
‘They confiscated my phone. They raided my apartment. On my phone were many of my reporters’ notes. A lot of my sources unrelated to this story and a lot of confidential donor information to our news organization.’
Authorities raided O’Keefe’s Westchester County residence in Mamaroneck just a day after O’Keefe himself acknowledged Project Veritas was being probed.
Saturday’s raid came hours after a Friday raid on two other properties connected to the group, including an apartment in a Midtown Manhattan block, and a home in Mamaroneck, close to the location of Saturday’s raid at O’Keefe’s apartment.
‘They spent over two hours in m apartment and confiscated two of my iPhones which contained a lot of source information and reporter notes – these are serious first amendment issues,’ O’Keefe said.
‘I was kind of in a state of shock.’
The investigation, ordered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and carried out by both federal investigators and federal prosecutors in Manhattan, concerns a ‘stolen’ diary said to belong to Ashley Biden that went missing just days before the 2020 presidential election.
O’Keefe’s attorney Calli pushed back against the suggestion that diary may have been stolen, telling Hannity ‘nobody knows if that’s the case.’
‘An anonymous source contacted Project Veritas and indicated that it had, in its lawful possession, a copy of a diary that the source said belonged to Ashley Biden,’ Calli said.
Project Veritas has not published the handwritten diary, as O’Keefe said in a video released Friday that the group could not confirm the authenticity of the diary, whether it does indeed belong to Ashley Biden, or that the contents of the diary are truthful.
The diary was obtained by Project Veritas just a week before the 2020 Presidential Election, and later published by a right-wing website days before America went to the polls. It says it obtained the diary from a ‘tipster’ who’d obtained it after staying in a location that Ashley Biden had previously visited.
Project Veritas bills itself as a journalism nonprofit, and uses undercover tactics to expose mainstream media bias against conservatives.
A spokesperson for the FBI said that agents had ‘performed law enforcement activity’ at the building, but did not give any details of the investigation.
O’Keefe said Friday that Project Veritas had been offered the diary by tipsters who said that the then-Democratic candidate’s daughter left it in a room where she stayed and the tipsters stayed after she departed.
He claimed the tipsters said they were shopping it around to other outlets to see who would offer money for it.
O’Keefe then claimed that once they got hold of the journal, they attempted to return it to an attorney representing Ashley. The attorney refused to authenticate the diary, so he said they then turned it into law enforcement.
O’Keefe, who is suing the New York Times for defamation, claimed the raids were politically-motivated.
But another conservative news site did publish the full 112-page diary, on Oct. 28, 2020, one week before the election. It was largely ignored by media and other conservative news sites that were likely skeptical of its authenticity. The Department of Justice’s involvement, however, boosts the likelihood that the writings are genuinely those of the first daughter.
The website claimed to have obtained the diary from a whistleblower who worked for a media organization that had declined to publish the story.
Ashley has kept a much lower profile than her half-brother Hunter, whose business dealings were set upon by former President Trump at the time of the diary’s publication.
Last year, the DOJ launched an investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes.
O’Keefe said in the video that Project Veritas had received a grand jury subpoena and the DOJ had asked, but not ordered, the group not to disclose the existence of the subpoena. O’Keefe said that he did not know who had leaked the raid to the New York Times.
‘In what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the president’s FBI and his DOJ? A diary. This fed investigation smacks of politics,’ O’Keefe said.
The DOJ under President Trump had opened an investigation into theft of the diary after a member of the Biden team reported it to authorities in October 2020. The representative of the Biden family had said that several of Ashley Biden’s belongings had been stolen, according to the Times.
Meads, a longtime Project Veritas operative and confidant of O’Keefe, has lived in the 35th street apartment in Midtown Manhattan that the FBI raided since 2019.
Ashley, 40, is the sole daughter of Joe, 78, and First Lady Jill, 70. She is married to Philadelphia-based surgeon Dr. Howard Krein.
Project Veritas’ undercover investigations and secret recordings have targeted Democrats, Planned Parenthood, media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post, Facebook and even Pfizer-BioNTech.
At one point, former British spy Richard Seddon was recruited to train operatives at Project Veritas.
Seddon owns a company, Branch Six Consulting International, registered to an address in Sheridan, Wyo. Flyover Media, the company that owns the website that published the diary, is registered to that same address.
The founder of Project Veritas was once president of a company that was also registered the the same address.
Project Veritas is currently suing the New York Times for libel over a video they published containing allegations of voter fraud. The Times called the video ‘deceptive’ and full of ‘misinformation.’