James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, a day after being permanently banned from Twitter, says he is preparing to launch a legal broadside against Big Tech and the mainstream media.
“We’re going to sue CNN and we’re going to sue Twitter,” the combative 36-year-old conservative activist and guerrilla journalist told The Post during a Friday interview at his bunker-like headquarters on a non-descript street in Mamaroneck.
“We’re going to sue a bunch of other people and we’ll represent other people suing these organizations and represent a people’s defamation defense fund under the country’s libel laws — something that no one’s ever done before,” he said.
Twitter said it banned O’Keefe because he allegedly used multiple fake accounts to boost his following and tried to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts.”
O’Keefe denies ever using fake accounts. He said he got the boot because of an embarrassing exposé of CNN he released Wednesday showing secretly-recorded video of a CNN director, Charles Chester, boasting that his network produced “propaganda” aimed at defeating President Trump in the 2020 election. Chester was also caught on tape saying CNN played up the COVID-19 death toll for ratings.
Project Veritas dropped another video Thursday in which Chester admitted the network is “trying to help” Black Lives Matter.
O’Keefe’s ouster from Twitter Thursday came just after millions worldwide found they were unable to share a New York Post story about Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a self-identified Marxist, purchasing four high-end homes with a total value of $3.2 million. The story was blocked from circulation on Facebook and Instagram. Prior to the 2020 election, Twitter and Facebook also blocked The Post exposé of emails found on a Hunter Biden laptop that had been left at a Delaware repair shop.
“The CNN material was the most devastating material in Project Veritas history,” O’Keefe said. “It showed the nucleus, the heart and soul of what’s wrong with the media. Chester was proud of the fact that fear and propaganda sell. He was bragging about [it].”
O’Keefe, a former Eagle Scout from northern New Jersey, is readying for a battle with Big Tech and mainstream media at a time when most people cower in fear of cancel culture.
“We get thousands of messages from people every day who think the media is corrupt and broken,” O’Keefe said. “But people know if they tell the truth and do the right thing they’ll be castigated by polite society. Most people don’t want to hurt their families and be defamed.”
O’Keefe, a Rutgers graduate and one-time associate of the late conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart, came to prominence in 2009 when he claimed he posed as a pimp with a prostitute in an undercover sting to bring down ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). He served time in jail for his part in a plot to wiretap the New Orleans office of US Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
Project Veritas was founded in 2010 “to investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct,” according to its website. It has targeted politicians and organizations like Planned Parenthood in the past but has focused on the media in recent years. Some efforts have been successful; others, like an attempt to embarrass a Washington Post reporter by trying to seduce her backfired badly.
Flanked by a posse of staffers, among them a lawyer and a media relations specialist, the high-strung O’Keefe barked out some of his pronouncements while dashing between a series of offices, including one called “The War Room” at his NSA-meets-NORAD-like headquarters in Westchester County.
At one point he filmed a video in front of Project Veritas’ Wall of Shame, a gallery of dozens of framed retractions by journalists. A Post reporter and photographer got a stern warning about maintaining the anonymity of the undercover operatives working out of the facility. There were also tense negotiations about recording the interview.
O’Keefe is both infuriated about his Twitter ouster and emboldened by his ongoing legal battle with The New York Times.
Last month, Project Veritas scored a significant victory in a defamation lawsuit against the Times when a state Supreme Court judge denied the paper’s motion to dismiss, allowing O’Keefe to proceed to discovery, which could open up the Times and its reporters to uncomfortable scrutiny.
Project Veritas filed the suit against the Times last November, asking the paper to retract two stories about a Project Veritas video accusing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) of voter fraud. Two Times stories called the Project Veritas video deceptive and probably part of a “coordinated disinformation campaign.”
O’Keefe is battle-tested.
“I’ve been called a liar over and over,” O’Keefe said. “I’ve been through hell, been incarcerated, had my life upended.”
But he’s only getting started, he said, and his army of whistleblowers and undercover reporters is growing exponentially. He said he’s motivated by how the mainstream media and tech giants are “lying to the people.”
He said he doesn’t care “about keeping my Twitter account or getting a book deal or people liking me.
“Rush Limbaugh told me that the hardest thing about all of this is to accept being hated — but the moment that you finally stop caring what they think about you is the moment that you’re free.”