Conservative activist James O’Keefe says he’s got the goods on CNN, threatening a Wikileaks-style dump of “hundreds of hours” of unaired newsroom footage.
“We’re calling it CNN Leaks,” O’Keefe told CNN via a phone interview on Wednesday, adding that “part one” would be dropped on Thursday at about 10 a.m. ET.
“This is all legally recorded information,” he said.
For years O’Keefe has targeted liberal groups with questionable tactics. His Project Veritas has been criticized for selectively editing videos. 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.”
O’Keefe’s work has triggered the resignation of Democratic operatives who were caught discussing ways to disrupt Trump rallies. He first gained notoriety for his 2009 headline-grabbing takedown of ACORN, a community organizing group that helped register low-income people to vote. The groups dissolved after Congress defunded it.
Other O’Keefe targets include NPR and Planned Parenthood.
On Tuesday, O’Keefe told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he was ready to release “hundreds of hours” of newsroom footage that he said was provided to him by “people on the inside.” He did not name the network but hinted he may be targeting CNN.
He confirmed that suspicion on Wednesday, tweeting a picture of himself in front of a screen that says “CNN tapes” along with the hashtag #CNNLeaks.
Observers note that O’Keefe has had close ties to Trump, who has frequently criticized CNN as “fake news.” In October, NBC reported that O’Keefe’s organization, Project Veritas, received $10,000 from the Trump Foundation in 2015, just before Trump launched his presidential campaign. Trump also called O’Keefe after the election to thank him.
O’Keefe’s threat comes just one week after shareholders of CNN parent company Time Warner approved a proposed $85.4 billion merger with AT&T.
While the deal still needs regulatory approval from an administration that has been critical of both CNN and the merger, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has repeatedly stated that he expects the deal to close this year.
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 22, 2017