The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spoke out Sunday against an FBI raid on the home of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe more than a week before, calling it a threat to press freedom and the First Amendment to the Constitution.
As Breitbart News reported Nov. 7: “The FBI raided James O’Keefe’s home in New York on Saturday, apparently looking for clues in the alleged theft of a diary belonging to Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden.” Project Veritas claimed that it had obtained the diary legally in 2020, and decided not to use it, turning it over to law enforcement instead.
Nevertheless, the FBI raided O’Keefe’s home before dawn Nov. 6, and handcuffed him in his underwear while searching through his belongings.
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley wrote Nov. 7: “Regardless of how one feels about Project Veritas, there should be calls from media outlets for some answers to these basic questions. Likewise, Congress should be seeking such answers as part of its oversight responsibilities.” But the establishment media were slow to speak out, with the first condemnation only appearing in Politico this weekend.
The ACLU finally opposed the raid, as Fox News reported:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Sunday warned against the potential consequences of the Justice Department‘s recent raids of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe‘s residence and the residences of his associates.
“Project Veritas has engaged in disgraceful deceptions, and reasonable observers might not consider their activities to be journalism at all,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom.
“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,” the ACLU continued.
“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,” the organization added.
The federal court overseeing the case is set to hear arguments about a special master this week, and ordered the Department of Justice to stop extracting data from O’Keefe’s smartphone pending the resolution of that issue.
Critics say the ACLU has become increasingly partisan in recent years, sacrificing core civil liberties principles to a left-wing agenda.
In the ongoing Kyle Rittenhouse case, for example, the ACLU amplified claims of “white supremacy” in the Kenosha shootings, without evidence.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.