Project Veritas founder and pioneering investigative reporter James O’Keefe has revealed exclusively to Breitbart News that he has been forced to abandon an ambitious undercover investigation into billionaire left-wing financier George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.
After posing as a foreign donor named “Victor,” and leaving a voicemail for a Soros official, O’Keefe began a conversation with his staff about their ongoing investigation, not realizing his telephone line was still open. When he checked his phone again several minutes later, he realized he may have been recorded, and the undercover investigation had to be suspended.
O’Keefe, who says other ongoing investigations were not affected, spoke with Breitbart News on Wednesday.
Q: What happened?
My team and I at Project Veritas were investigating George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and their connection to radical agitprop movements, both foreign and domestic. We set up an undercover meeting with an individual who has represented Soros’s initiatives in Eastern Europe. That individual even called us back, and we had a conversation ongoing. So we were definitely credible to that individual in the upper echelons of the Soros foundation.
I posed as a Hungarian businessman who was interested in knowing more about the foundation’s work. Once I obtained the meeting, I was going to determine what efforts they were behind, so I could fund them.
So I left this individual a voicemail, but I forgot to hang up the phone. I thought the call was finished, and my team and I started discussing plans to make more phone calls to the Open Society Foundations as well as to organizations like [it]. And all of this was being recorded on a voicemail [message]. There may have been conversations with my staff pertaining to the Soros foundation. And I think it lasted about 10 minutes.
Q: Did that end the investigation?
We have a dozen or so undercover, long-term investigators embedded throughout, [covering] nonprofits, government entities and elections, among other topics. I don’t think this mistake on my behalf will jeopardize any other investigation under way.
Q: How did you find out what happened?
I did notice that the phone call was still recording. I knew at that moment that the voicemail was left on the phone of George Soros’s official.
The irony was that the official called me back. I don’t think that she realized until later.
I also think the Soros Foundation shared this recording with members of the media, who may be publishing it at some point.
Q: How did you feel?
This is a very risky business. What we do is very risky. It’s impossible not to make mistakes. It’s an odds game. You and I have known each other for six years now — sometimes I face defamation, even jail.
I want to apologize to my fans and to my supporters and to my staff, because I feel this is an important topic, the most important topic — undermining democracy. These billionaires want to create agitprop movements to undermine democracy.
Unfortunately, I’m burned on this particular investigation. I’m very disappointed, but if I wanted to be perfect, I would give up.
Q: Why the interest in Eastern Europe?
We are working with Matthew Tyrmand, who is the son of the famous Polish dissident Leopold Tyrmand. Matthew is on our board, and is very involved in writing about, and maintaining, Polish democracy. [Editor’s note: Tyrmand is also a Breitbart News contributor.] As a result, we are very interested in what the Soros foundation is doing in Eastern Europe — and how what is happening over there relates to what is happening over here.
For Soros, the “open society” also means open borders. The same movements it helps overseas have the potential to undermine democracy in the United States. My mission is to expand and defend democracy.
Q: What is the Soros foundation involved with here?
Black Lives Matter, and the “social justice warrior” movements. Their organization gives money to many different nonprofit organizations. And I am still investigating some of those organizations, because I am not burned on those other investigations.
Q: Could this be an elaborate setup? Did you get caught on purpose?
That’s a good question. I don’t like to reveal the tactics of what we do or how we do it. I don’t want to confirm or deny investigations, real or imagined. In this case, the Soros people have a voicemail from us.
I don’t like to reveal tactics. But I do just want to say that I made a mistake in this case. And I want to come clean about what happened, and tell the truth. Because I think that transparency is important — unlike the Open Society Foundations, I want to say this is something that happened, and this is a mistake, and come clean and tell the truth.
Sometimes the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry.
Q: Do you have any insight into what is going on with Hillary Clinton’s emails, and that investigation?
We do have at least one full-time individual employed by Hillary Clinton at the upper echelons of her campaign, being exposed to all types of different things — voter registration, strategy, even working with people in other offices and other politicians that work with Hillary Clinton.
But I can’t talk about that. We do have a full-time person undercover in the Hillary Clinton campaign. That person is paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and by Project Veritas.