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Inside plot to ‘discredit Trump ‘enemies’ including H.R. McMaster’

Conservative activists with the Project Veritas group that has dedicated itself to penetrating left-wing organizations and Democrats helped plan efforts to discredit perceived ‘deep state’ elements within the Trump White House – including Trump’s security advisor – according to a stunning new report.

The New York Times reports that the activists were aided in part by an ex-British spy, Richard Seddon, who had previously worked with Trump Erik Prince, a security contractor with close Trump ties and whose sister Betsy DeVos served as Trump’s Education Secretary.

A top target in the program was former Trump national security advisor H.R. McMaster, a three-star general who some hardcore Trump loyalists took to be a ‘deep state’ element undermining elements of the MAGA agenda on the Iran nuclear deal and other matters, the outlet reports.

The paper said the operation was ‘run’ by Project Veritas, although the group’s founder, James O’Keefe, said in a video released in response to the story that the group had ‘nothing’ to do with it. 

The Times based its account on interviews with former Project Veritas employees, current and former government officials and internal Veritas documents. 

Efforts to ensnare McMaster intensified after he was quoted in a 2017 Buzzfeed article dumping on the president. McMaster was quoted calling Trump an ‘idiot’ who had the intelligence of a ‘kindergarten.’ 

President Donald Trump, left, and H.R. McMaster, national security advisor, walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 16, 2017. The New York Times reported on a plot by conservative activists to try to catch McMaster on video dumping on Trump

McMaster had already been quoted calling Trump an 'idiot'

McMaster had already been quoted calling Trump an ‘idiot’

The project set in motion reportedly involved trying to enlist a female spy to stake out his favorite restaurant, Tosca, in downtown D.C. The plan was to have the woman use a hidden camera to try to catch McMaster dumping on Trump to try to force him out of the administration.

It is a tactic known to be used by Project Veritas, the conservative group that has targeted Acorn, Democratic campaign groups, and unions in video sting operations. 

The same team, including Seddon, a former MI6 officer, penetrated the Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, a powerful union, the Times reported last year.

Barbara Ledeen, a former Senate Judiciary Committee staffer who also once worked for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, said as part of the plan someone whose name she did not recall provided a tip on McMaster that proved useful.

‘Somebody who had his calendar conveyed to me that he goes to Tosca all the time,’ she said. She said she gave the information to a person she thought was a Project Veritas operative.  

The paper identified Tarah Price as the woman recruited to conduct the spaghetti stakeout operation.  An email obtained by the paper stated she was offered $10,000 for the operation. 

Former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen admitted to being a messenger but denied being in on the plot

Former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen admitted to being a messenger but denied being in on the plot

James O'Keefe called a report on the project a 'smear'

James O’Keefe called a report on the project a ‘smear’

An intelligence officer who worked with Erik Prince, the former Blackwater executive, trained personnel on targeting Trump 'enemies'

An intelligence officer who worked with Erik Prince, the former Blackwater executive, trained personnel on targeting Trump ‘enemies’

Seddon reportedly brought former military figures to Project Veritas, and taught staff intelligence techniques in tactics disseminated at the Prince ranch in Cody, Wyoming. 

The activists rented a townhouse in Georgetown and also targeted FBI employees, who Trump cast as part of a ‘witch hunt’ that was out to get him in the Russia probe.

They reportedly created fake online identities in order to try to entrap FBI agents after the FBI lovers were exposed in real-life text messages running own Trump. 

O’Keefe is quoted in the story calling it a ‘smear.’ His group has sued the Times for defamation over its earlier reporting on it. 

‘Because The New York Times is losing to Project Veritas in a court of law, it is trying to smear Project Veritas in the court of public opinion,’ he said. ‘I think the court, like me, may well be appalled at The New York Times’s continued pattern of defamation of Project Veritas.’

Ledeen was quoted about delivering a message related to the effort, but said: ‘I am not part of a plot.’ There is no information that Trump had knowledge of the plot. 

The lengthy Times account does not say who funded or conceived of the operation, which it does not say was ever carried out. 

O’Keefe in a video posted on the Project Veritas YouTube channel called it a ‘hit piece’ that ‘was filled with vapid supposition, subliminal suggestion, nebulous facts’ and ‘circumstantial inferences.’

O’Keefe said he had ‘nothing’ to do with the project, but then also flagged various other investigations into ‘federal employees behaving badly.’