O’KEEFE: Undercover Journalist Hints He’s About To Expose CNN (Updated)
By Evan Lips | February 22, 2017, 20:24 EST
Undercover conservative journalist James O’Keefe has made good on his promise to release secret recordings leaked to him by a source inside CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.
In what he described as a “WikiLeaks-type” release, O’Keefe uploaded 119 hours of raw audio footage that dates back to 2009. The recordings are available for listening at a section of O’Keefe’s Project Veritas website:
O’Keefe claims the recordings prove that CNN deliberately misrepresented polling data and added that there is more footage coming.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, O’Keefe told the network he has focused on them as the cable news station“has a very important role as an arbiter of news.”
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James O’Keefe, the man behind the undercover journalism outfit Project Veritas, is hinting that he’s got a new bomb ready to detonate Thursday — and this time ground zero happens to be a mainstream television news network.
O’Keefe on Tuesday told conservative radio host Sean Hannity that he plans to release “hundreds of hours of tape from within the establishment media,” and identified CNN as his target.
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 22, 2017
The website address, www.cnnleaks.com, currently links back to the Project Veritas website.
“We’ve had people on the inside come to us,” O’Keefe said. “Like how [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange had people come to him, we’ve had sources come to us and give us this information.”
“We’re going to be releasing it ‘WikiLeaks-style’ later this week.”
Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington D.C., bureau chief, appeared alongside O’Keefe during his appearance on Hannity’s show and surmised that O’Keefe likely had “cable camera folks and other people who work on set who have access to audio.”
“Ryan, I just enjoy you wondering who I have,” O’Keefe quipped.
“I don’t think I’d want James O’Keefe pissed off at me,” Hannity added.
CNN declined to provide the Huffington Post with a comment when asked about O’Keefe’s latest hints.
O’Keefe has not been shy regarding his threats to expose media bias:
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 20, 2017
CNN has been highly critical of O’Keefe’s work. During the presidential election, the network dismissed a series of Project Veritas videos that captured an upper-level Democratic operative on video talking about how the party strategically placed agitators at rallies for then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to incite violent reactions from his supporters.
“It’s undercover video and a big caveat here is that O’Keefe has been widely discredited and is known for editing video to fit his narrative,” Drew Griffin, a CNN senior investigative correspondent, told on-air host Jake Tapper in October, regarding the fallout prompted by the videos. “But what he showed in these tapes was enough to get one man fired and force one man to resign and the [Democratic National Committee] moving sharply away from the progressive lobbying group where these guys worked.”
Robert Creamer, the husband of U.S. Representative Jane Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who at the time was working for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was recorded telling an undercover Project Veritas journalist about how his firm paid another organization to stir up trouble at Trump events.
Creamer, who wound up resigning, talked to Griffin. According to Griffin, Creamer dismissed the footage as “barroom talk.”
Leaked audio of Trump, recorded unbeknownst to the real estate mogul during a break when he was taping a segment in 2005 for “Access Hollywood,” threatened to sink the GOP nominee’s campaign in October. Trump was caught on a hot mic telling host Billy Bush about how his fame and wealth allowed him to make unwanted sexual advances on various women without their consent.
Trump dismissed the banter as “locker room talk.”
In December, CNN honchos were prompted to apologize for an isolated hot-mic incident in which a network producer joked on-air about Trump’s private jet crashing.
O’Keefe has not indicated when on Thursday he plans to dump his footage.
Meanwhile, O’Keefe still has a federal lawsuit active in U.S. District Court in Boston. Last year he sued Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, claiming that as the prosecuting authority, it would be Conley who would charge O’Keefe should he elect to conduct similar undercover operations in Massachusetts — which would violate the state’s wiretapping and recording laws.
O’Keefe’s attorneys have charged that the state’s laws are unconstitutional and pose a chilling effect on journalism. Under Massachusetts law, creating secret recordings can result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. O’Keefe’s attorneys have also decried the fact that state laws even criminalize possession of undercover recording equipment.
Lawyers from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, who are representing Conley, have countered that O’Keefe and Project Veritas have been unable to prove that secret recordings represent an “indispensable tool” for newsgathering.
Last March O’Keefe told New Boston Post that he could “be charged with a crime just for uncovering the truth, what politicians and people in power don’t want people to know.”
“The current laws protect and indemnify the guilty,” O’Keefe added. “Our job is to shine the spotlight of truth to expose their dirty laundry.”
In November a federal judge listened to arguments from both sides. Future dates regarding the case have yet to be released.