- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Project Veritas President James O’Keefe got his start posing as a pimp for a hidden-camera investigation, but today, he says he has a grassroots army of hundreds of frustrated individuals behind the scenes who have come to him.

“It’s all transformed in the last few years. Now we have people on the inside that reach out to us,” Mr. O’Keefe told conservative host Candace Owens on her YouTube show for the Daily Wire.

That includes his latest sting at a Sacramento high school, which began when a student contacted Project Veritas about an Antifa-friendly AP government teacher with a Chairman Mao poster on his classroom wall.

Back in the day, “I had to infiltrate these groups; I had to go undercover,” Mr. O’Keefe said in the Tuesday interview.

“And now, just last week a student inside the school took a photo of the Antifa flag on the wall and told us about the teacher, and we corroborated it,” he said. “So it’s become kind of a grassroots movement of people on the inside who film what’s going on.”

Project Veritas employs dozens of undercover reporters, he said, but the number of would-be insiders working in the private and public sector who have reached out to Mr. O’Keefe in recent years is “beyond comprehension.”

“As I’m sitting here backstage, [I have] thousands of messages from the military, from the federal government, from school educators, from parents. Everyone wants to do something,” he said. “And when I started, everyone was afraid. They’re waking up. The quiet people are now starting to grow a pair. They’re just, ‘Give me a camera, I’m done.’ They just want to expose it.”

The undercover video of Inderkum High School teacher Gabriel Gipe saying that he had “180 days to turn them [students] into revolutionaries” prompted the Natomas Unified School District to place him on administrative leave last week and move to fire him.

“Someone in the classroom was our informant,” said Mr. O’Keefe. “Every time I break one of these, a hundred more people become informants.”

He said that “everyone who worked at the school knew it, and they did nothing,” while Natomas Superintendent Chris Evans said the district has unearthed no complaints about Mr. Gipe in its internal investigation launched after the Project Veritas video was released Aug. 31.

Hundreds of parents and community members upset about Mr. Gipe’s claims about indoctrinating students showed up the next day at a heated school board meeting livestreamed by Project Veritas.

That same night, floodingin the aftermath of Hurricane Ida destroyed the guerrilla journalism outfit’s headquarters in Mamaroneck, New York.

“We have thousands of people now in the country, hundreds activated, currently operating inside,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “They are not my employees. These are just whistleblowers, insiders. You name the sector of society, we’re on it.”

Some Project Veritas whistleblowers have paid with their jobs, such as Morgan Kahmann, a Facebook data center technician who leaked documents showing the company’s moves to reduce exposure to “vaccine hesitancy.”

He raised more than $500,000 on the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo after he was terminated in June.

“Sometimes they lose their jobs,” Mr. O’Keefe said. “Increasingly, people are so fed up that they place more emphasis and more passion on doing the right thing than whatever might happen to them. This is a phenomenon happening in our world right now with everything going on.”

Project Veritas is non-partisan, but its probes typically target the left, including tech companies, teachers’ unions and media figures.

Mr. O’Keefe has plenty of enemies. Wikipedia describes him as a “far-right political activist and provocateur” — he calls himself a “guerrilla journalist” — and Project Veritas is often accused of selectively or deceptively editing video, which it denies.

The next target for Project Veritas: newsrooms. Mainstream news outlets are among Project Veritas‘s biggest critics, but Mr. O’Keefe says there are staffers within newsrooms working with him covertly.

“We have people inside almost all newsrooms at this point,” he said. “We’ve had dozens of people reach out to Project Veritas from within newsrooms who are currently recording. They say ‘Don’t film us’; well, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of. You’ll see stories come out in the coming weeks on that.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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