James O’Keefe, Spy Boy

by Wade Rathke

October 29, 2020

New Orleans    Back when we used to have Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which looking forward to 2021, seems an iffy proposition, one of the treats for early risers was catching up with various banks of Mardi Gras Indians, usually organized by neighborhood and always featuring colorful and elaborate costumes and good music. There would always be a Chief, but there would also always be a spy-boy, who went ahead looking for a face-off showdown with another tribe from another neighborhood.

I thought about all of this reading about the latest foolhardy escapade of our archnemesis, James O’Keefe, the ACORN scourge. Some might remember that O’Keefe’s main “cover” for his undercover, rightwing gotcha exploits, is that he and his minions are journalists, and that his capers are all exercises in free speech and protected as such. As depositions from lawsuits filed by the Michigan teachers’ union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, now illustrate a new chapter of the delusion in which O’Keefe’s Project Veritas operations, he now thinks he is a spy-boy, it seems. The depositions come from former intelligence officers who were recruited to interview and train O’Keefe’s secret agents in spycraft so that they could continue to play-pretend with their games.

The depositions indicate that in 2017, basking in the glory of being Trumpsters, they got a hand on this secret mission from Eric Prince. Prince was infamous as the founder of Blackwater Worldwide for its outrages in Iraq. He is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which makes him also richer than Croesus. He has a big ranch where he plays cowboy in Wyoming, and it seems if you wanted to be an O’Keefe spyboy that is where you traveled for your interview. Having been born in Wyoming, that’s about the only good thing I can say about this malarkey. From Blackwater and other ill-fated ventures, Prince seems to have a network that specializes in ex-British spies, so this was a marriage made in one of the hotter corners of hell.

According to the deposition and the New York Times’ report on all of this, the unlucky twenty who were hired got a trip to beautiful Wyoming in order to be trained by this hapless crew of former spies and wannabe spies. What a scene that must have been! If only they could have invited Kanye West to come over from his ranch near the Big Horn Mountains, this could have been memorialized in a rap fest.

While the spies spilled their guts to the AFT lawyers handling the depositions, O’Keefe in his deposition was more restrained and disingenuous. He remembered his name it seems but was fuzzy after that. Yes, he had gone to Wyoming but wasn’ sure whose ranch he was visiting near Cody. Yes, he knew Prince from Trump things, and Prince was a “supporter.” No, he hadn’t been in touch with the ex-British spies since their contract ended with Project Veritas. He also replied to the Times that he wouldn’t respond to their questions because they were “fake news” purveyors.

President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell have repeatedly proven that they know no shame about anything, but for the life of me, there’s a modern version of a Three Stooges movie just waiting to be made with O’Keefe, Prince, the spies, wannabe spies, and of course the president and the majority leader. The hardest problem Hollywood would have is figuring out whether to market it as a comedy or a horror film.

Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International.

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