In other words, Biden's administration's effort to establish itself as a committed champion of press freedom is facing new doubts because of the Justice Department’s aggressive legal tactics against a conservative provocateur known for his hidden-camera video stings.
On Saturday at 6am, FBI agents showed up armed with a battering ram at the personal home of O'Keefe. They handcuffed him while he was still in his undergarments. Immediately, they executed the search warrant which resulted in agents seizing two cell phones belonging to him.
According to Politico, the whole incident was sparked by the alleged theft of a diary that belonged to Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden. Project Veritas maintains that the document was given to them, but they never used it as the basis for any reporting, and proceeded to turn the diary over to the appropriate authorities.
O'Keefe's legal team is currently fighting back. They have obtained a stay of the investigation on Thursday from a US District Court judge, and are further requesting an expert third party be appointed to oversee the FBI's handling of the information contained on the phones, manifesting that there are confidential communications with sources and attorn
An O'Keefe attorney commented, "The Department of Justice’s use of a search warrant to seize a reporter’s notes and work product violates decades of established Supreme Court precedent."
The politically fraught episode is shaping up as an early test of the vows from Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to show greater respect for the media and to back away from the confrontational, often hostile approach favored by former President Donald Trump and his administration.
University of Minnesota professor Jane Kirtley, who was previously head of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, stated: "I’m not a big fan of Project Veritas, but this is just over the top. I hope they get a serious reprimand from the court because I think this is just wrong."
President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have previously expressed a solid verbal commitment to respect the freedom of the press. Still, thus far, according to critics and in the light of the above, it appears that they are falling very short of backing up their promises in the real world.