The former head of Blackwater—yes, the private military company—has privately recruited former spies to infiltrate liberal groups and report to the conservative Project Veritas, the New York Times reports. Per documents and interviews, Erik Prince helped find American and British ex-spies to dig up intelligence on labor organizations, Democratic congressional campaigns, a teachers union office, and other groups opposed to President Trump's policies. That includes a former MI6 officer who apparently ran an infiltration operation at the Michigan office of the American Federation for teachers. A spy identified as Marisa Jorge infiltrated the group in 2017 to record conversations and copy files. In one email she tells her handler that she managed to record a union leader.
"Good stuff," he writes back. "Did you receive the spare camera yet?" AFT Michigan later sued Project Veritas for offenses including trespassing and eavesdropping; Project Veritas said it's protected by the First Amendment, and the trial is slated for this fall. Other apparent targets included the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger (who won a Virginia House seat) and the liberal consulting group Democracy Partners. Meanwhile, both Prince and Project Veritas have known links to the Trump family and each other. The Intercept reported last year that Prince had Project Veritas workers over at his Wyoming ranch for training in 2017. James O'Keefe, who heads the group, said the visit would help make Project Veritas "the next great intelligence agency." (Prince was involved in a controversial Trump Tower meeting.)