The FBI raid on O'Keefe's home in Mamaroneck, New York, on the early morning of Nov. 6 was a court-ordered search that was the latest in the bureau's attacks against the organization. Just two days earlier, the homes of two of O'Keefe's associates were also raided.
"Most people don't want to do what I do, and [the government is] starting to deter people from doing what I do by doing things like this," said O'Keefe, talking about the raid on his home to One America News journalist John Hines. (Related: DOJ documents confirm Pfizer and FBI are communicating about Project Veritas.)
The FBI raided O'Keefe's and his associates' homes in search of the diary of Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden. According to O'Keefe, this diary was given to him by an anonymous source. But O'Keefe refused to publish anything written in the diary because he could not properly authenticate whether the diary is real. And so, as a journalist, he could not bring himself to publicize its contents.
"And even if I could [authenticate the diary], which I couldn't with one hundred percent certainty, I couldn't authenticate if what she wrote about actually occurred," said O'Keefe. "I didn't want to take that chance. So, we did the most ethical thing journalists should do, which is then, we said, 'Okay we shouldn't publish this, but maybe let's reach out to the Biden campaign for comment on the one percent chance, or whatever, that they corroborate it, which they didn't."
The Biden administration's raid on O'Keefe became a cause for concern for journalists all over America, as many rightfully saw it as an attack on First Amendment rights.
"This is just beyond belief," said Jane Kirtley, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and a former executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "I'm not a big fan of Project Veritas, but this is just over the top. I hope they get a serious reprimand from the court because I think this is just wrong."
"Journalism isn't a shield against lawbreaking, and if Mr. O'Keefe committed a crime in obtaining the diary, he is subject to prosecution. We don't agree with or practice all of Mr. O'Keefe's methods, but what he does is reporting that qualifies as journalism," wrote the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. They also noted that it is not a crime to publish information obtained unlawfully, and that it is clear the FBI's raid was a punitive action since the organization was already in the process of complying with a subpoena.
"This raid has shown the world how much of a threat Project Veritas is," said O'Keefe. "Our whistleblowers come to us, and what they say is, 'James, there's nowhere else for us to go.' It's important for us to stand our ground."
Watch this clip from One America News introducing James O'Keefe as a modern-day muckraker.
Learn more about journalists like James O'Keefe and all the people in Project Veritas who hold governments accountable by reading the latest articles at Journalism.news.