andy biggs
Congressman Biggs Chairs Hearing on FBI, DOJ Attacks to Suppress Press

June 1, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Reporters who embark on their own investigations rather than relying on Biden administration-approved information may find themselves under the FBI and DOJ microscope. The practice was common in the Obama administration, and it appears that it may be standard for the Biden administration as well. 

Two such investigative reporters testified earlier this month in an off-site congressional hearing chaired by Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05). Biggs and other members of the House Freedom Caucus pledged to draft legislation to ensure reporters in the future wouldn’t endure what those who testified faced under the Obama and Biden administrations.

Biggs accused Biden of “following in the footsteps” of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, in reference to what James O’Keefe, the founder and president of the investigative reporting organization, Project Veritas, endured in comparison to what acclaimed investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson endured under the Obama administration. 

The Obama DOJ surveilled Attkisson illegally for her investigation into the “Fast and Furious” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) scandal. “Fast and Furious” was a secret government operation of “gunwalking,” or selling firearms illegally to straw buyers in the hopes that they could be tracked to Mexican cartel leaders. The operation was deemed a failure as federal law enforcement lost track of the weapons sold. In 2010, two of their guns resurfaced at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, exposing the ATF’s secret operation. 

Attkisson testified that the DOJ and FBI engaged in multiple operations against her, surveilling her and her family’s computer activity while she worked at CBS News. However, the Obama administration went beyond mere surveillance. Attkisson revealed that one of the agents attempted to implant child pornography in her husband’s computer.

“Imagine how you ever get out of that. They knew we had a young daughter at home and had ‘allegedly’ conspired to do that,” said Attkisson. 

She noted that agents didn’t have court orders to surveil her or infiltrate her former employers’ communications. 

“Too often the whistleblowers get punished while the criminals and abusers get a pass,” observed Attkisson. 

To date, the DOJ never faced penalties for surveilling Attkisson. 

The hearing also featured testimony from O’Keefe. The Biden DOJ surveilled and invaded Project Veritas for their reporting on Ashley Biden’s diary. The DOJ’s actions prompted several statements from the ACLU criticizing the precedent set by the Biden administration.

O’Keefe reported that the FBI took 47 devices from his organization over their investigation into the diary. He showed a short clip of the raid. O’Keefe said that in less than a month, Ashley Biden’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, had her request, which he called a “political favor,” approved for a district court to issue secret subpoenas, orders, and warrants against Project Veritas with gag orders. O’Keefe explained that the court declared that he wasn’t a journalist because he didn’t receive permission from the subjects of his investigative journalism. 

“We did nothing wrong other than the non-crime of investigating a story, as journalists do,” said O’Keefe. “Obviously we can’t trust the Department of Justice to define who is and who is not a journalist depending on who is in charge.”

O’Keefe requested that the Freedom Caucus convene a Bartnicki hearing, referring to the 2001 Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment protection extends to illegally interception communications. 

Watch the entire hearing here:

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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