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NYT media columnist cautions journalists not to be ‘cheerleading’ FBI raid of James O’Keefe

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Ben Smith, a media columnist with The New York Times, is telling fellow journalists they shouldn’t be happy about the FBI’s recent raid of James O’Keefe, the founder of investigative media outfit Project Veritas.

O’Keefe, along with two other journalists with the organization, have been caught up in a federal probe over a missing diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden. Late last week, O’Keefe’s home near New York City was raided by agents after the homes of two other Project Veritas journalists were searched as well.

Smith wrote on Twitter Tuesday, “Don’t think journalists should be cheerleading this one.”

“*Pending details which will matter a lot!” he added.

Ben Schreckinger, a Politico correspondent who released a book earlier this year called “The Bidens,” a tome that also featured new and damning revelations regarding presidential son Hunter Biden and his questionable business dealings, expressed agreement with Smith.

“The raid threatens to have a chilling effect at a time when the president’s other child is under intense scrutiny that is, in part, related to the leaking of his computer files,” he noted on the social media platform.

O’Keefe appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” program on Monday to discuss the situation.

“I woke up to a pre-dawn raid,” he told host Sean Hannity. “Banging on my door, I went to my door to answer the door and there were ten FBI agents with a battering ram, white blinding lights, they turned me around, handcuffed me and threw me against the hallway.

“I was partially clothed in front of my neighbors. They confiscated my phone. They raided my apartment,” he continued. “On my phone were many of my reporters’ notes. A lot of my sources unrelated to this story and a lot of confidential donor information to our news organization.”

He said that he was “in a state of shock” as agents spent two hours tossing his apartment and confiscating a pair of iPhones.

“I’ve heard ‘the process is the punishment.’ I didn’t really understand what that meant until this weekend. And Sean, I wouldn’t wish this on any journalist,” O’Keefe added.

The investigation into the “stolen” diary is being conducted through the Southern District of New York. The diary reportedly went missing in the days before the 2020 election.

In a video statement released last week, O’Keefe explained that his organization was contacted by attorneys representing people who claimed to have taken possession of the diary after it was allegedly left behind in a hotel room where Ashley Biden stayed. He went on to say that his organization could not verify anything about the diary and wound up passing it off to federal authorities.

He also talked about how The New York Times somehow knew about the first raids and contacted one of the Project Veritas reporters “within an hour” after the raid took place.

“We do not know how the New York Times was aware of the execution of a search warrant at our reporter’s home or the subject matter of the search warrant as a grand jury investigation is secret,” O’Keefe said in the video.

“The FBI took materials of current, former Project Veritas journalists despite the fact that our legal team previously contacted the Department of Justice and voluntarily conveyed unassailable facts that demonstrate Project Veritas’ lack of involvement in criminal activity, and or criminal intent,” he added.

“Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it,” O’Keefe continued. “Now, Ms. Biden’s father’s Department of Justice, specifically the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, appears to be investigating the situation, claiming the diary was stolen.

“We don’t know if it was but it begs the question: In what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the President’s FBI and his Department of Justice? A diary?” he added.

Jon Dougherty

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