ACLU Comes to the Defense of Project Veritas, Condemns Brutal FBI Raid at James O'Keefe's Home


Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and the American Civil Liberties Union are on very different ends of the political spectrum.

But after three residences tied to Project Veritas were searched by federal authorities, the ACLU said the action was a threat to all journalists, even those the ACLU does not like.

“Project Veritas has engaged in disgraceful deceptions, and reasonable observers might not consider their activities to be journalism at all. Nevertheless, the precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom,” said Brian Hauss, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, in a statement on the ACLU’s website.

“Unless the government had good reason to believe that Project Veritas employees were directly involved in the criminal theft of the diary, it should not have subjected them to invasive searches and seizures,” Hauss said.

“We urge the court to appoint a special master to ensure that law enforcement officers review only those materials that were lawfully seized and that are directly relevant to a legitimate criminal investigation,” he concluded.

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Others have also criticized the raid.

In a statement on the Project Veritas website, O’Keefe said the raid was not even necessary.

“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,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe said the FBI raids came after Project Veritas voluntarily surrendered the journal to law enforcement.

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“Late last year, we were approached by tipsters claiming they had a copy of Ashley Biden’s diary,” he said. “The tipsters indicated that they were negotiating with a different media outlet for the payment of monies for 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,” he said. “Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it.”

O’Keefe said during an appearance on the Fox News show “Hannity” that federal agents showed up at his home with a battering ram and detained him.

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“I woke up to a pre-dawn raid,” he said. “Banging on my door, I went to my door to answer the door, and there were 10 FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights. They turned me around, handcuffed me and threw me against the hallway. I was partially clothed in front of my neighbors.”

“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,” he said.

After a report in The New York Times that appeared to use information obtained in the raid, a federal judge ordered the Department of Justice to stop mining the phones they confiscated for any old data they pleased and instructed that an independent so-called special master be appointed to oversee what information was viewed or released.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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