Disgraced paramilitary leader aligned with regime party pays spies to infiltrate and suppress domestic political opposition on behalf of the head of state https://t.co/UQ9Hvv47JJ
— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) March 7, 2020
So we’re basically in the Watergate phase of the Trump omnishambles. https://t.co/eP9KTbQDv6
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) March 7, 2020
On the one hand, further proof that the Republican ‘elite’ is as profoundly anti-democratic as any Russian kleptocrat or Saudi emir. On the other hand… if the best they can recruit is James O’Keefe III’s little fumblecluster of performance-art ratfvckers, they’ve got a ways to go:
Erik Prince, the security contractor with close ties to the Trump administration, has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda, according to interviews and documents.
One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. Mr. Seddon directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the union’s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show.
Using a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. The campaign discovered the operative and fired her.
Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups. Mr. Seddon’s role in the teachers’ union operation — detailed in internal Project Veritas emails that have emerged from the discovery process of a court battle between the group and the union — has not previously been reported, nor has Mr. Prince’s role in recruiting Mr. Seddon for the group’s activities.
Both Project Veritas and Mr. Prince have ties to President Trump’s aides and family. Whether any Trump administration officials or advisers to the president were involved in the operations, even tacitly, is unclear. But the effort is a glimpse of a vigorous private campaign to try to undermine political groups or individuals perceived to be in opposition to Mr. Trump’s agenda…
Mr. Prince is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he lied to a congressional committee examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, and for possible violations of American export laws. Last year, the House Intelligence Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Mr. Prince, saying he lied about the circumstances of his meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017...
Eavesdropping on some Midwestern teachers and failing to derail a Congressional campaign — that’s not much of a ROI for an international Master of War like Prince Erik. But the sooner O’Keefe is out of ‘business’ and Prince is forced to decamp permanently to his outpost in Abu Dubai, the better.
If there’s ever a fifteen week course on political grifting at least two weeks should be dedicated to James O’Keefe
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) March 7, 2020
Erik Prince and Betsy DeVos are siblings. Their dad co-founded the uber-conservative anti-feminist Family Research Council. Betsy's father-in-law brought MLM scams to America & helped fuel the AIDS crisis. It's possible this family has done more damage to America than any other. https://t.co/E55eGEmbcn
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) March 7, 2020