It seems the federal Department of Justice and FBI now are involved in a hunt for the travels of an allegedly “stolen” diary.
And those federal agents have searched homes of several reporters in their work.
James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas and the planner of its undercover reporting on ACORN, CNN, Democrat interests and more, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity during an interview that the “investigation” was “an attack on the First Amendment.”
Fox News reported that the FBI raided his home as part of a federal investigation into the “missing” diary, which happens to have belonged to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley.
“I woke up to a pre-dawn raid,” he reported. “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. 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 he was in a state of shock while agents spent two hours searching his apartment.
Paul Calli, O’Keefe’s attorney, explained that Project Veritas had paid tipsters who had obtained the diary for the right to publish, but the organization never did that, and instead turned the material over to local law enforcement.
He also said it’s uncertain whether the diary was “stolen.”
O’Keefe, who regularly sends undercover reporters into organizations and then reports on the insider stories it develops, often involving scandal, said, “This is an attack on the First Amendment by the Department of Justice.”
He said, “I’m calling upon all journalists to take a stand against this. A source comes to us with information, I didn’t even decide to publish it. If they can do this to me, if they can do it to this journalist and raid my home and take my reporter notes, they’ll do it to any journalist. This is about something very fundamental in this country. I don’t know which direction this country is going in. But journalists everywhere have to rise up because we broke no laws here. If they can do it to me, they’ll do it to anybody.”
The FBI declined to respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The federal raid on O’Keefe happened just days after other raids focused on two associates of his organization.
The campaign is being conducted by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York over the diary that apparently belonged to Ashley Biden. It went missing before the 2020 presidential election.
O’Keefe explained during the interview his group had already contacted the DOJ and “voluntarily conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas’ lack of involvement in criminal activity.”
He said “tipsters” approached his group last year claiming to have the diary – which they said had “explosive” allegations about Joe Biden. The report then was that she had left it behind in a room where she stayed.
But O’Keefe said Project Veritas was unable to verify its authenticity.
“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 in the interview. “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?”
The issue also was addressed by commentator Tucker Carlson.
The New York Times had obtained information about the federal investigation, and reported, “In recent weeks, federal investigators have reached out to at least one person who worked for Project Veritas to question that person about the diary, one of the people briefed on the case said.”
“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,” O’Keefe said.
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett explained there’s a difference between stealing a diary and leaving it behind.
“Project Veritas did the right thing,” Jarrett said. “They didn’t publish this because they couldn’t verify the authenticity of the documents, but the other conservative website did publish it but they claimed they did verify it. What is so bewildering about this is why in the world would the feds even involved in it.”
Theft of small dollar amount items normally is a “state” crime issue, either misdemeanor or felony.
Jarrett said a lot of details about the federal operation remain unclear, but so far the circumstance “smacks of a political investigation and potential prosecution.”