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Project Veritas employed deception rather than journalistic technique when an anonymous male caller spoke to President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley. The caller told her he wanted to return a diary he believed belonged to her. He intended to trick her into confirming the diary’s authenticity. But, Biden did not confirm or deny ownership and said she would send somebody to collect it for her.
At that time, the conservative group was about to purchase the diary for $40,000. A month before the election, the deceptive call was a testament to how the right-wing’s group worked to expose personal information about the Biden family. The caller allegedly did not say he was affiliated with Project Veritas and used a fake name. Using deception is not a typical journalist behavior.
By the end of the call, the Project Veritas operatives who heard or listened to the call concurred that her statement was enough to confirm she owns the diary. The president’s daughter kept a diary of highly personal content as she recovered from addiction and stored it at a friend’s Florida home. If publicly disclosed, the content could prove an embarrassment to her father during the campaign.
Ashley Biden’s diary was shopped and shown around a Donald Trump fundraiser before Project Veritas acquired the potentially damaging item.
Federal prosecutors are working to determine how Project Veritas obtained the diary. Last fall, authorities searched the homes of the three group operatives, including the founder James O’Keefe.
Project Veritas identified itself as a media organization doing journalism and complained it is being investigated unfairly. The group asserts they did not steal Biden’s belongings.
Consequently, the court filing was dismissed by prosecutors except for the Project Veritas defense that they are acting as a news organization saying that “there is no First Amendment protection for the theft and interstate transport of stolen property.”
After the Project Veritas criminal investigation became public, O’Keefe briefed a Republican Congressional group to urge them to convince the Justice Department to withdraw the inquisition because their group did nothing wrong.
Spencer Meads, one of O’Keefe’s top lieutenants, was sent to do more investigative work in Florida to authenticate the diary.
What ensued next is a point of conflict and one of the investigation’s primary issues. In Project Veritas court filings, it said that the operatives gathered more items belonging to Biden described by the source as abandoned, and the group claims it did not know about any theft. They further claim that Biden’s belongings were acquired the same way journalists receive information.
Last Sunday, The New York Times published new details about Project Veritas’ alleged measures to get and authenticate the diary while the group stays under federal investigation.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The New York Times: Ashley Biden’s Diary Was Shown at Trump Fund-Raiser. Weeks Later, Project Veritas Called Her; by Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman
Daily Mail: Ashley Biden’s diary was shown and shopped around a Trump fundraiser before Project Veritas bought it for $40,000 before the election; Nikki Schwab
Vanity Fair: OF COURSE ASHLEY BIDEN’S DIARY WAS “PASSED AROUND” A TRUMP FUNDRAISER, A.K.A. A GATHERING OF HORRIBLE PEOPLE; Bess Levin
Featured and Top Image by Sgt. Justin Naylor for Department of Defense Courtesy of NARA & DVIDS Archive – Public Domain License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License