CNN Leaks: Conservative Activist James O’Keefe Publishes Alleged Newsroom Audio

“I don’t think there is anything to comment on,” CNN spokeswoman tells TheWrap

CNN's logo stream

Conservative activist James O’Keefe on Thursday released the first part of cache of audio recordings that he claims come from CNN headquarters and believes will expose what he calls “media malfeasance” by the cable news network. However, many media watchdogs feel the widely hyped leaks are a disappointment because they’re from 2009, before Jeff Zucker became president of the network.

“Project Veritas was given over 200 hours of audio from an anonymous source earlier this month,” O’Keefe said on his website, soliciting volunteers to “help transcribing, investigating and connecting the dots.”

“This secretly recorded audio was obtained at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters in 2009,” he added. On Wednesday, he said in an interview on CNN, “This is all legally recorded information.”

“I don’t think there is anything to comment on,” a CNN spokeswoman told TheWrap.

“I want to start exposing the media and their flaws,” O’Keefe tweeted in a timely echo of President Donald Trump’s verbal attacks on major news organizations, CNN in particular. “This is the beginning of the end for the MSM. And it starts today.”

For years, O’Keefe has targeted liberal groups with undercover video and audio recordings but his Project Veritas has been criticized for questionable tactics and selectively editing of footage. According to PolitiFact, his videos are “edited in ways that the context of the conversation or the meaning of the statement isn’t always clear.”

But O’Keefe’s work as a provocateur has had an impact, most recently triggering the resignation of Democratic operatives last year who were apparently caught on camera discussing ways to disrupt Trump campaign rallies.

He first gained notoriety for his 2009 headline-grabbing release of undercover videos alleging illegal activity by employees of ACORN, a community organizing group that helped register low-income people to vote.

One employee sued O’Keefe, claiming he broke the law by taping him without consent. O’Keefe eventually settled the case for $100,000. But the videos led to ACORN losing its federal funding and eventually filing for bankruptcy.

Other O’Keefe targets have included Planned Parenthood and NPR.