News Analysis Nov 13, 2021 3:24 PM EST

FBI tactics against Project Veritas cause concerns about freedom of the press

The Biden administration's verbal commitment to freedom of the press is now being called into doubt by critics after an incident in which the private home of Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe was raided by the FBI.

FBI tactics against Project Veritas cause concerns about freedom of the press
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The Biden administration's verbal commitment to freedom of the press is now being called into doubt by critics after an incident in which the private home of Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe was raided by the FBI.

On Saturday at 6am, FBI agents showed up armed with a battering ram at the personal home of O'Keefe. They handcuffed him while he was still in his underwear. Then, they executed the search warrant which resulted in agents seizing two cell phones belonging to him.

The whole incident was sparked by the alleged theft of a diary which belonged to Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden, according to Politico. Project Veritas maintains that the document was given to them, but they never used it as the basis for any reporting, and turned the diary over to the appropriate authorities.

O'Keefe's legal team is fighting back now. They have obtained a stay of the investigation on Thursday from a US District Court judge, and are further requesting an expert third party be appointed to oversee the FBI's handling of the information contained on the phones, manifesting that there are confidential communications with sources and attorn

An O'Keefe attorney commented, "The Department of Justice’s use of a search warrant to seize a reporter’s notes and work product violates decades of established Supreme Court precedent."

University of Minnesota professor Jane Kirtley, who used to head the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, stated:  

"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."

President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have previously expressed a strong verbal commitment to respect the freedom of the press, but so far, according to critics and in the light of the above, it appears that they are falling very short of backing up their promises in the real world.

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