The current administration’s hostility to the freedom of the press certainly eclipses that seen during the Obama years, when Joe Biden served as vice president.
Then the FBI spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen and the Department of Justice seized the phone records of dozens of Associated Press journalists.
That was child’s play in comparison to what happened in November when the FBI conducted pre-dawn raids of the home of conservative Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and two reporters who worked for the organization.
On Tuesday, Project Veritas released video of one of the raids.
“The government’s invasion of our First Amendment rights should send shivers down the spine of every journalist around the country,” O’Keefe says at the beginning of the video.
He then explains what precipitated the FBI’s decisions to raid the homes of reporters.
“In 2020, we lawfully received material from sources concerning Ashley Biden’s diary and what it said about her father, then presidential candidate Joe Biden,” O’Keefe recounts.
“We ultimately decided not to publish the story and worked with local law enforcement to return these materials to her,” he adds.
“What you have just seen is an effort by the government to intimidate and silence us as journalists, but Project Veritas will never be silenced,” O’Keefe says.
He notes that multiple organization came out against these raids, including no less than the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.
‘[T]he precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Brian Hauss in a statement.
“Unless the government had good reason to believe that Project Veritas employees were directly involved in the criminal theft of the diary, it should not have subjected them to invasive searches and seizures,” he added.
“We urge the court to appoint a special master to ensure that law enforcement officers review only those materials that were lawfully seized and that are directly relevant to a legitimate criminal investigation,” Hauss said.
Of course, one concern that comes out of the FBI just going in and seizing everything, beyond the 4th Amendment protections that all Americans should enjoy, is that the government learns who the journalists’ confidential sources are.
This could impact not only Project Veritas’ ability to gain the trust of sources going forward, but also sends a message to other conservative journalists going forward: “You could be next.”
This is third-world stuff, and it needs to end.
For all the hooting and hollering on the left about Donald Trump being a dictator or a Nazi, it’s been Joe Biden’s administration that’s been more than willing to use the instruments of government to come down heavily on Americans’ most basic rights.