Project Veritas

James O’Keefe speaks to the 2020 New York City Young Republicans Club 108th Annual Gala

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James O'Keefe full speech

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Speech transcript:

Okay. Is it illegal for me to be here right now? I feel like they just call the cops every time they see me. Jeff Zucker, you know, call the police on me for dialing into his phone call. I have a speech. Usually I show videos; tonight, I'm not showing anything. I'm just talking. How much time do I have? Eric, when is the Hannity TV hit? Okay. We got time. I only take 10 minutes. All right. Thank you for having me. I'm going to give some remarks tonight about some themes.

My friend, Matt Tyrmand is a very close friend of mine. He's on the board. He is one of my best friends and I mean that sincerely thank you for your friendship and for being there for me when nobody else would. He really is a good man, and his father was a good man, too. Survived the Soviet Union, which I'll talk about.

Okay, so we're living in a science fiction novel. I am from New Jersey originally. I'm from Westwood, New Jersey. How many of you are from New Jersey? Good.

So: Be brave, Do something. That's our motto at Project Veritas. And it was destiny that a person inside CNN came to me recently, a brave insider, and was really upset at what CNN was doing. Good journalism does not impose that opinion or conjecture. It just provides facts. I believe in, I believe in people. I'm sure all of you believe in that we are smart enough to make our own decisions, but the powers that be, think that they don't trust people, they don't believe that people know what to do or what to think.

So, they have to tell us what to believe, what to think, who to vote for. That's not how I was raised. That's not who I am. I went to Rutgers. I'm a product of public education in New Jersey--Jersey represents.

And I was raised with the idea that you just have to be honest, you don't manipulate, you don't project onto other people. You don't accuse your enemies of things that you yourself do. You're just decent. You're honest. In the Soviet Union, which your father knew about a little bit, people knew that they were being lied to, right?

They knew the Pravda was bullshit. But when the airports, when you look at the TV, half the people look at it and they go “that's the way it is” but that's not the way it is. And throughout history, cause I'm writing another book and I'm reading all this stuff.

Throughout history in tyrannical countries, you had a choice to make, you could lose your conscience or you could lose your life. You could go to the left and lose your conscience, or you go to the right and lose your life.

Those are your choices. Pick one. And there are some people in this country who only ever follow their conscience. Like the person inside CNN, who's working with me. They only follow their conscience. There are people we're working with right now. I'm not going to tell you who they are or where they are.

Use your imagination. All they have is their conscience and they're not in it for notoriety or fame in this world of illusion and quasi-illusion, Instagram clicks and Insta stories and E girls. It all fades away. And what remains is a sense of permanence and there is a new breed of these heroes.

There are these people, and you may have seen them or heard about them. Eric Cochran, the Pinterest guy that worked with us. Zach Vorhies, the Google guy. These people are anonymous. They don't do it because they want to be famous.

A celebrity has a big name, but a hero is a big man whose deeds, whose actions actually make him notorious. They're not known because they're notorious. They're known because of what they do. The honest cop, the honest nurse, the teacher, we've gotten a quarter million messages in the last month from people like these--and they all say “What can I do? I just want to do something, James.”

That's what everyone says: “I just want to do something.”

They don't know what to do. Our government's completely broken. It doesn't really matter who wins. It matters who wins but we're in a state of sclerosis in this country. You can't pass any legislation. Even if you did, there's almost like a civil war brewing, maybe an electronic civil war. Maybe it'll lead to civil unrest. We don't even agree on basic facts. Two plus two equals four, two plus two equals five.

So along comes this guy, Richard Hopkins, postal worker in Pennsylvania. He never intended to go public. But the postal worker in Pennsylvania tells us via encrypted chat, he saw his supervisor, backdate a ballot. He heard his boss at the post office postmark ballot, uh, which is totally illegal and evidence of voter. And it wasn’t (Redacted) who was it on
our staff, (Redacted) goes and drives the Erie. The guy is so humble, he's doing his route, delivering the mail, giving an interview. He's like “Yeah, I heard my boss backdate a ballot.”

Instantly the story gets like 10 million views like on YouTube and Twitter. He never intended to go public. He never wanted that life. And suddenly he signs an affidavit saying he saw that. And that affidavit makes its way to Giuliani, makes its way into lawsuits. It's it becomes a big deal. A few other post office workers does this. And two federal agents from the FBI and the Inspector General goes to his… This is a really normal blue-collar guy. Wonderful man. And they interrogate him for four hours in a room. Two literal deep state agents mastered in the art of coercion and intimidation threaten him, attack him, and make him sign something.

The guy doesn't even know what he’s signing. They don’t even let him speak to an attorney; they won’t even let him leave. This is America by the way. And this happens all the time.

Our whistleblower Richard Hopkins sitting in a room for four hours being attacked and intimidated. “You must sign this.” He doesn't even know what the hell he's signing. A few hours later, the Washington post writes a story. “Post office worker admits to fabricating what he wrote in affidavit.” The source of that, were the two federal agents who is required to give him what he signed but did not do.

It’s a tragedy what happened, but Mr. Hopkins was smart enough to have this little thing in his pocket with iTalk on it and recorded that four-hour interrogation. And the federal agent, as, as crooked as he was, as tyrannical as sick of a man as he was, he gave away two little secrets. One was his first name. The second was the branch of the military he served in and where he lives. And our team was able to triangulate his full name, whose name was, what was his name? Russell Strasser, that crooked bastard.

We found this picture through open research intelligence. We just went online and found his Twitter account, which wasn't his real name. And we put his picture in the YouTube video for the world to see. And that really, he did not want that. Thank God Richard Hopkins recorded that federal agent intimidating him and pressuring him.

Why do they do it? Why, do these people do it? I mean, this poor guy, the post office has put him on admin leave. He doesn't have a job. He's sitting alone in some apartment right now, suffering. He’s suffering. But for them there’s no other option.

There's no other way to expose the system, to respond to what is going on in our country. And it takes two different types of courage to fight a war. There's like the physical courage to go run up the hill with a bayonet. And then there's a more rare form of courage. There is moral courage to stand by a cause that, you know, you might lose, but just stand by it anyway.

In the gulags, which I have this book, I carry it around with me now like the Bible “Gulag Archipelago” Matt says I'm going to the Gulag. Am I going to the Gulag? At least truth and reconciliation committees. And in this Gulag book, which I encourage you to read or reread, there's a man there that sits and eats and says “He was dying, but he kept his soul pure. He always called a spade, a spade. He didn't sell out his principles, even if he was starving to death.” And you have people in this country who have, you have to understand that this is what it might take.

I think, you know that I think you know that inside yourself, that this is actually what we are headed towards probably eventually, eventually, because, because it's a war of attrition, I guess. And what these people realize is that it's about the development of your own soul.

From this point of view, those crooked. And I mean, I don't really hate people, but these people that what they did to Richard Hopkins, these crooked federal agents that interrogate him for hours. They are the ones being tortured. How do they sleep at night? They are turning into swine.

They are departing downward from humanity. And from that point of view, the punishment is not inflicted upon the people who are losing their jobs, who will lose their jobs for blowing the whistle. The punishment is on the oppressors. I speak to you as someone who I have in a small way, gone through something in my own life.

Years ago I was arrested. I was arrested by the FBI in New Orleans and I was charged with a crime I did not commit. I was arrested in a federal building. I had a camera and I was trying to ask Senator Landrieu a question, and they found out who I was.

At first I thought “Yes, that's me. I'm the YouTube guy. I make the videos. I dressed up like the pimp.” And they’re like “Yeah we know that and you’re gonna have to spend the night now.”

I quickly realized I should not be admitting that’s who I am. And they took me, they put me in shackles, they put me in handcuffs. They put me in leg shackles. They put me in a Timothy McVeigh style orange jumpsuit brought me into a little cage and public defender said “You are being charged with the 10 year felony for intending to destroy federal property.”

And I was like, “What? I didn't do that.” Instantly my temptation was to talk. Never a good idea by the way. But I was in a moment of trauma. And I went through this thing for six months. Pre-trial release being charged and charged with a felony.

Ten years in prison for something I did not do. I was required by a federal judge to live in New Jersey with my parents for three years, three years. And I had time to reflect upon my life and every mistake I've ever made.

Some of you have been through something, some variation of this. I was talking to someone, I will not mention her by name, who was arrested or went through something. We've all suffered in our lives for things that we've been through. But I am grateful for having gone through that. I am grateful for these hardships. I embrace it. I've leaned into it.

I regret, I regretted when I was on federal probation for those three years, not able to do anything. I regretted things. If only I had left the building a moment ago, but I am actually grateful that my crooked people in my government did that to me because they made me stronger and when I sat in that room in New Jersey, for all those years, people would message me. And I'd say, “I'm going to go send you cameras.” And I'd build relationships with people.

That's how project Veritas was born. They tried to destroy us. We built an army. And I think as countrymen, we are going to be tested, but we are going to do this together--yes, they may crush one guy, but they can't stop an army of whistleblowers. Project Veritas as Nancy has said to me, my producer, my lovely producer, Nancy, we are a family. Emmy award winning Nancy Vaden.

We do have people that work for us who've won Emmys by the way. Project Veritas is a family. So why would we follow our conscience? We would follow, I think you would agree with this Nancy. Our team would follow each other into hell if that's what it takes.

Because when you have ceased to be afraid of the threats and you’re not chasing after awards, you become the most dangerous man in the world. When you don't want to drink from their poison chalice, when you don't care what the New York Times thinks about you. Maybe 1% of me did a couple of years ago. I really don't give a shit what the New York Times thinks.

I really urge you to practice introspection. Maybe you do think, maybe part of you cares. You have to stop caring. You have to say to hell with them. So if you're that person and you're watching this, if you're an insider out there, there's so many reaching out to us, but you're kind of a little scared. I would say, join us.

Winston was the last man in 1984, we're going to build an army of Winstons, an army of guerrilla journalists. And it will be beautiful. is the address we will defend you. We will tell your stories because there's simply nowhere else to go.

We have to be the tip of the spear. We have to understand that politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from data. And data, information, this is an information war. War by other means.

We have to be the tip of the spear--and if you're lying, cheating, stealing, scamming, we're going to make you famous.

Isn't that what you want?

Want to be famous?

We’re going to make you famous.

And the people who are going to make you famous are the anonymous ones like Richard Hopkins and Eric Cochran and Zach Vorhies.

The brave souls who suffered, who suffered for a cause greater than themselves. That's what it's going to take. That's what we stand for.

And we're going to build an army. Like you've never seen before in 2021.

Thank you.

About Project Veritas

Project Veritas is a non-profit investigative news organization conducting undercover reporting. Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.