Project Veritas is asking that Congress do more after securing a big legal win this week in a case involving Ashley Biden’s diary.
Mark Paoletta, an attorney for the organization, sent a letter to key Congressional leaders Thursday asking that they conduct further oversight after the FBI raided Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s home in November, along with the residences of two former journalists for the organization. Paoletta asks that Congress look into the FBI investigation itself, as well as information about the raids that was allegedly leaked to The New York Times.
“It’s difficult to imagine the FBI taking such an interest in a diary belonging to someone who wasn’t named Biden,” Paoletta wrote. “And it’s also difficult to imagine the FBI taking such draconian action against the free press if the reporter involved wasn’t named James O’Keefe.”
Mark Paoletta Letter to Con… by Dylan Housman
The FBI raided the homes of the Project Veritas members in connection to an old diary of Ashley Biden, President Joe Biden’s now-40-year-old daughter. The diary was acquired by Project Veritas via a source in September 2020, the organization says, and was turned over to law enforcement weeks later. Project Veritas declined to publish any contents of the diary.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now investigating whether or not the diary was stolen. The original source of the diary claims it was left behind in an old house. In a Wednesday letter, Paoletta said that, to the best of Project Veritas’ knowledge, the FBI had not interviewed the original acquirer of the diary or the source who turned it over to Project Veritas.
Paoletta the investigation is politically motivated for that reason.
“The FBI’s raid on Project Veritas is an extraordinarily alarming attack on a free press. The FBI has not even interviewed the person who came into possession of the diary nor the person who reached out to Project Veritas to tell them about the diary, despite knowing both of their names,” he told the Daily Caller. “How is that possible? It seems like the FBI does not want to know any facts that are contrary to whatever representations they made to the court to obtain the search warrant. That’s troubling. Congress needs to conduct a bi-partisan investigation into this attack on a free press immediately.”
Following Paoletta’s Wednesday letter, a federal judge granted Project Veritas’ request that a special master be appointed in the case to review whether the information collected in the FBI raids can be used in the theft investigation by prosecutors. Project Veritas had also requested that the judge, Analisa Torres, order the DOJ to investigate possible leaks to The New York Times, but Torres declined.
The NYT was aware of the FBI raids almost immediately after it occurred and were the first media organization to reach out to O’Keefe at the time. The NYT and Project Veritas are also involved in ongoing litigation, which led a New York judge to rule last month that the newspaper cannot publish legal memos it obtained from Project Veritas’ internal communications.
Because Torres declined to compel a leak investigation, Paoletta is now asking Congress to act instead. (RELATED: Judge Orders FBI To Halt ‘Extraction’ From James O’Keefe’s Phone Amid Leaks To NYT)
“Just as the FBI finished raiding the homes of former Project Veritas reporters, a New York Times reporter contacted Mr. O’Keefe for a comment on a story about the searches. The Times reporter also had details regarding the DOJ’s investigation,” Paoletta wrote to Congress Thursday. “Two days later, the same reporter contacted Mr. O’Keefe to ask him whether FBI agents had searched his home shortly after the raid happened. The Times could not have known about the raids as they were happening unless the government leaked that information.”
Various media and civil rights organizations from across the political spectrum have come to the defense of Project Veritas, including the ACLU.
“I stand for the First Amendment and a Free Press, and I will not be bullied or intimidated by the government,” O’Keefe told the Daily Caller. “I hope other media organizations and journalists will join the ACLU and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and stand with me, united.”