Internal Project Veritas documents reveal the lengths the conservative outlet went to try to avoid breaking federal laws while workers launched sting operations that involved government workers, a report said.
The organization was concerned it might break the federal Espionage Act in 2018 as workers launched an effort to expose anti-Donald Trump bias in the FBI and other agencies through secretly recordings, memos from the company’s attorney said, according to the New York Times.
Workers had asked the attorney questions about using the Tinder dating app to meet government employees who might have national security clearances, according to the Times, which obtained the memos.
“Because intent is relevant – and broadly defined – ensuring PV journalists’ intent is narrow and lawful would be paramount in any operation,” Attorney Benjamin Barr wrote.
The memos surfaced as Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, are ensnared in a federal probe into the alleged theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley.
Another memo warned against Veritas employees using fake names or other false information at campaign events where the Secret Service vets people who attend, according to the report.
Barr called attending closed events that require ID “an invitation” for a charge of breaking a federal law against lying to government officials, the Times said. Barr reportedly said in one 2017 memo that the law “continues to be an expansive, dangerous law that inhibits Veritas’s operations.”
Veritas said it stood behind the memos in a statement to the Times, adding the work “reflects Project Veritas’s dedication to the First Amendment, which protects the right to gather information, including about those in power.”
The FBI raided O’Keefe’s Mamaroneck home and the homes of two other Veritas operatives in New York earlier this month as part of the Ashley Biden diary probe.
O’Keefe has said he was subpoenaed in the case. Project Veritas didn’t publish excerpts of the diary after it paid to obtain it because the outlet couldn’t verify its authenticity, the Times reported.