Project Veritas President James O’Keefe ripped a New York Times article linking him to an alleged plot to discredit a top Trump administration official as a “garbage hit piece,” denying any involvement and accusing the newspaper of a retaliatory strike in its court fight.
The front-page story on Thursday alleged that Project Veritas was involved in an undercover sting operation targeting FBI staffers “aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau’s ranks” and that “several Project Veritas operatives” sought to entrap then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
The effort to tar Mr. McMaster by secretly recording him making disparaging comments fizzled when he resigned in 2018, according to the article, but Mr. O’Keefe adamantly denied that he participated.
“I told you yesterday there was going to be a hit piece that was filled with vapid supposition, subliminal suggestion, nebulous facts, circumstantial inferences designed to link us to an investigation into McMaster that I had nothing do with,” Mr. O’Keefe said in a Thursday video.
He pointed to several disclaimers in the article, including: “Although several Project Veritas operatives were involved in the plot, it is unclear who directed it” and “Who initially ordered the operation is unclear.”
The story comes with the NYT battling a defamation lawsuit filed by Project Veritas over the newspaper’s coverage last year of an undercover probe into alleged Minneapolis ballot-harvesting. A New York judge rejected in March the newspaper’s motion to dismiss.
The NYT article acknowledged the lawsuit, but “what the Times selected edited out was that we won a huge victory on a motion to dismiss that defamation lawsuit, and we’re headed toward trial,” Mr. O’Keefe said.
“And I can assure you that this garbage hit piece with all this ‘it’s unclear whether they were behind it,’ well, that wasn’t a coincidence, timed right after our win inside that defamation lawsuit,” Mr. O’Keefe said in the video.
He also took a swipe at other media figures and outlets referencing the story by asserting “that Project Veritas executed this thing against McMaster, which I again had nothing to do with. Unequivocally, I am saying I had nothing to do with it.”
The Washington Times has reached out to The New York Times for comment. Project Veritas and Mr. O’Keefe have also sued CNN and Twitter for defamation.
The New York Times article, headlined “Activists and Ex-Spy Said to Have Plotted to Discredit Trump ‘Enemies’ in Government,” said that the plan was to have a woman secretly record Mr. McMaster “making inappropriate remarks that his opponents could use as leverage to get him ousted.”
“The campaign shows the obsession that some of Mr. Trump’s allies had about a shadowy ‘deep state’ trying to blunt his agenda — and the lengths that some were willing to go to try to purge the government of those believed to be disloyal to the president,” the story said.
Of course, Project Veritas has never denied targeting federal bureaucrats, as it did in 2018 with its #DeepStateExposed investigation, which included undercover footage of a State Department analyst saying his job was to “resist everything” and “f—- s—- up.”
In a statement, Project Veritas said it is “non-partisan” and has “never targeted anyone to ‘expose anti-Trump sentiment,’” and that its 2018 sting showed federal staffers “talking about engaging in wrongdoing and malfeasance.”