POLITICS
02/21/2017 05:57 pm ET Updated Feb 22, 2017

James O’Keefe Threatens To Release ‘Hundreds Of Hours’ Of Leaked Newsroom Footage Soon

The conservative gadfly hinted he has the goods on CNN. But his stings have flopped before.

Conservative provocateur James O’Keefe III said on Tuesday that he will soon release “hundreds of hours” of unaired footage secreted out of a major news organization.

The footage could come as early as Thursday, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity during a radio interview. The footage was provided to him, O’Keefe said, by people inside the network.

A Huffington Post reporter, who was also on the radio program, asked if O’Keefe had acquired the footage from camera or set crew members who would have access to it, but he declined to say. Networks record off-air interactions between hosts, reporters and guests, and a crew member sympathetic to O’Keefe’s cause could potentially access a lot of material.  

After the radio interview was recorded, HuffPost asked if O’Keefe would be releasing footage from multiple newsrooms or just one. “One corporation, multiple newsrooms,” he said.

O’Keefe said he’d be releasing the footage “WikiLeaks-style.” In fact, WikiLeaks has several distinct styles. At times, the organization has worked with major media outlets to break stories. In other instances, it has dumped everything it had on the internet at once. In the case of the John Podesta emails, WikiLeaks released new batches day by day.

O’Keefe wouldn’t divulge which particular network would be hit, but said it was one President Donald Trump has spent much time talking about recently. “It’s the one he’s always targeting,” O’Keefe said.

That would seem to suggest CNN. Trump has been on a tear against the network since it revealed the existence of an allegedly embarrassing dossier that intelligence agencies were investigating.

A CNN spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, O’Keefe warned that he was “going after the media next” during an appearance at a pro-Trump inauguration event. “We’re inside their newsrooms,” he said.

O’Keefe’s organization received $10,000 from the Trump Foundation in the spring of 2015, shortly before Trump announced his presidential candidacy. Trump also called O’Keefe after the election to thank him for his work, O’Keefe revealed at a recent private dinner that was secretly recorded. 

O’Keefe first gained fame in 2009 with undercover videos targeting ACORN, a now-shuttered nonprofit that advocated on affordable housing, voter registration and other issues. After it was discovered that footage was deceptively edited, O’Keefe lost much of his credibility. His videos, while still heralded by conservatives, are now largely dismissed in the mainstream media.

It remains to be seen whether O’Keefe will produce any newsworthy footage this time. But if he has the goods, the national media will surely pay attention.

The story has been updated with more information about the links between O’Keefe and Trump.

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