- Erik Prince, a sometimes unofficial advisor to President Trump, worked to recruit former spies to infiltrate left-wing organizations, The New York Times reported.
- Undercover operatives recorded leaders in liberal campaigns and organizations in an attempt to release information that could damage them.
- The operations were spearheaded by Project Veritas, a right-wing group known for secretly recording and releasing tapes of members of the news media.
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Project Veritas, the right-wing group known for secretly recording and releasing clips attempting to expose the news media, used former British and American intelligence officials to infiltrate at least two left-wing groups in an attempt to release damaging information about them, according to a report from The New York Times on Saturday.
The operations were orchestrated by Erik Prince, a security contractor and founder of Blackwater, a private military company he sold in 2010 following years of controversy, criminal complaints, and lawsuits. Prince, who has ties to the Trump administration, reached out to former intelligence community members so they could assist Project Vertias’ efforts, the report said.
Prince — also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — has at times served as an informal advisor to the President Donald Trump, advising on projects like the president’s transition into office in 2017, according to the report. Project Veritas also has known ties to Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., is listed as an invited guest on the website for the wedding of the group’s founder, according to the report.
Prince, in one instance, helped recruit a former member of M16, UK’s Secret Service organization, to infiltrate the American Federation of Teachers, the New York Times reported. The man, identified in documents as Richard Seddon, directed an undercover woman to secretly film leaders of the union in order to obtain information potentially damaging to their organization.
Emails and other documents that revealed the Project Vertias operation were revealed as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit leveled against Project Vertias by the American Federation of Teachers, the NYT reported.
The same undercover individual later joined the Congressional campaign of Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operation officer. When Spanberger’s campaign discovered the woman was an undercover operative, it fired her, according to the report Saturday.
As The New York Times reported, it is unclear whether anyone with ties to the Trump administration was aware of the Prince/Project Veritas operation.
“No one tells Project Veritas who or what to investigate,” James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas told The New York Times. Prince declined to comment on the report, the New York newspaper added.
As The Wall Street Journal reported in February, the US Justice Department is deciding whether to charge Prince with lying to Congress as part of its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and determining whether he violated laws in his business dealings with foreign countries.