The O’Keefe Project: The search warrant

The search warrant under which the FBI raided James O’Keefe and seized his cell phones is in circulation. FOX News has a copy. A FOX News producer gave a copy to the New York Times and asked whether the FBI had tipped the Times to the raids on O’Keefe and other Project Veritas associates. The Times didn’t say in its story reporting the question from FOX News, but I believe the Times declined to respond (see Newsweek story quoted below).

It turns out that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press also has a copy. By letter dated November 15 — posted here on Scribd and embedded below — the RCFP has asked the court to unseal the search warrant application and affidavit. The application and affidavit necessarily set forth evidence that the court found to make out probable cause supporting issuance of the warrant. The RCFP letter appends the redacted search warrant as Exhibit A. (Thanks to Roger Kimball for help in digging out the RCFP letter and search warrant yesterday.)

We know about the FBI raids mostly through the four stories the New York Times has devoted to the subject. None of the four Times stories gives any hint of the possible government misconduct involved in the raids and the apparent leaks to the Times. The last of the Times’s four stories is dated November 11 — no news today.

Given the bylines on the four stories, the Times seems to be serving as a conduit for its friends in high law enforcement/national security places. In its capacity as a conduit for the publication of classified national security information, the Times itself is a recidivist offender against the laws of the United States. The gravity of the Times’s wrongdoing far exceeds the misconduct O’Keefe et al. could have committed in this case, if any. The backdrop of the Times’s wrongdoing sets its O’Keefe stories — both what they say and what they don’t — in an acid context.

By contrast with the Times, the RCFP is concerned about the government’s conduct in this case. The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the government’s conduct in this case (letter here). Senator Tom Cotton is concerned about the government’s conduct in this case (don’t miss his letter here).

Seeking the latest news on the case, I turn to Harmeet Dhillon on Twitter. Harmeet just tweeted out Paul Bond’s Newsweek story “James O’Keefe’s Attorneys Demand Leakers be Identified in Case involving Ashley Biden’s Alleged Diary.” Harmeet pulls this quote from Bond’s story:

While O’Keefe has said he wasn’t able to verify the diary belonged to Ashley Biden, or that she wrote what is on its pages, the search warrant repeatedly refers to “Ashley Biden’s property” or her “stolen property,” though without ever using the word “diary.” The search warrant also does not indicate when the property was reported as stolen, who reported the alleged crime or when and where it was reported. Nor does the search warrant allow for the possibility that the “property” may have been lost or misplaced.

Bond’s story raises the government-Times connection in a way that the Times itself does not. Bond reached out to the Times, but was told that the newspaper does not discuss its sourcing. The DoJ and the FBI did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

RCFP Letter Request to Unseal OKeefe SW App & Affidavit by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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