The misleadingly named Project Veritas is once again in the news after the right-wing hatchet job organization’s latest deranged scheme to “expose” liberals was revealed by The New York Times. According to the new report, the so-called activists—working in conjunction with an ex-spy—carried out a clandestine operation during the Trump years to undermine government officials who were deemed insufficiently loyal to the MAGA president.
Trump’s then-National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was one of the targets of the shadow campaign as were several F.B.I. employees. The efforts to secretly record and surveil the individuals in question at the F.B.I. involved female Project Veritas acolytes going undercover on dates with the intention of unwittingly recording them making unflattering remarks about President Trump.
The women, who went by nicknames like “Tiger” and “Brazi,l” created fake dating app profiles to lure the F.B.I. agents in. The operations were run out of a central headquarter where the operatives were housed.
The spy, a British man named Richard Seddon, was hired in 2016 by Erik Prince, professional blood profiteer and brother to former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. According to the Times, Seddon was brought on board to help Project Veritas “infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets.” He was part of the team until 2018 and trained Veritas operatives in tradecraft techniques useful for extracting information and maintaining their covers.
Barbara Ledeen, one of the women involved in the efforts, claims she was simply a messenger. She was working for the Senate Judiciary Committee under Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) when she was brought into the covert campaign by a person who had “access to McMaster’s calendar.”
The plot against McMaster centered around using a hidden camera to record McMaster hopefully saying inappropriate things which could then be used to pressure him out of his position. Tarah Price, the woman who was hired to deploy the camera, was a former Project Veritas operative and was offered thousands of dollars to participate in the sting. The source of the funding has yet to be uncovered but the plan was ultimately abandoned when McMaster resigned for unrelated reasons.
The Times explains that it’s still unclear whether Project Veritas was officially involved in the McMaster scheme but that several of its employees were involved. James O’Keefe, the leader of Project Veritas, attempted to dismiss the Times’s reporting as a “smear.”
“Because The New York Times is losing to Project Veritas in a court of law, it is trying to smear Project Veritas in the court of public opinion. I think the court, like me, may well be appalled at The New York Times’s continued pattern of defamation of Project Veritas,” said O’Keefe, referring to a lawsuit Project Veritas filed against the newspaper last year.
This story is a sobering reminder of just how deranged some Republicans have become. Their efforts to sniff out thought crimes against their Dear Leader are not the actions of sane, well-adjusted people. The efforts to record the F.B.I. agents in particular sounds like something that law enforcement should investigate.
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.