Undercover operatives from right wing Project Veritas worked with a former British spy trained by Betsy DeVos' brother Erik Prince to wage a smear and sting operation to discredit "deep state" federal government officials on President Donald Trump's enemies list while he was in office, including the National Security Advisor and FBI agents.
The New York Times broke the bombshell story, reporting that the "campaign included a planned sting operation against Mr. Trump's national security adviser at the time, H.R. McMaster, and secret surveillance operations against F.B.I. employees, aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau's ranks."
"The campaign," the Times reports, "shows the obsession that some of Mr. Trump's allies had about a shadowy 'deep state' trying to blunt his agenda — and the lengths that some were willing to go to try to purge the government of those believed to be disloyal to the president."
"Central to the effort, according to interviews, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy who was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. He ran field operations for Project Veritas until mid-2018."
Last year, The New York Times reported that Mr. Seddon ran an expansive effort to gain access to the unions and campaigns and led a hiring effort that nearly tripled the number of the group's operatives, according to interviews and deposition testimony. He trained operatives at the Prince family ranch in Wyoming.
The Times' extensive reporting, which runs about 2700 words, does not reveal who initiated or who bankrolled the campaign.
The Times reports the operation was run out of a house that rented for $10,000 a month, and that it is not known if President Trump or his closest advisors, including family members, were aware of the operation or had anything to do with it.
"The operation against Mr. McMaster was hatched not long after an article appeared in BuzzFeed News about a private dinner in 2017. Exactly what happened during the dinner is in dispute, but the article said that Mr. McMaster had disparaged Mr. Trump by calling him an 'idiot' with the intelligence of a 'kindergartner.'"
Those allegations were never proven, although they echo what some others inside the administration, like first Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had allegedly stated.
In the end, McMaster resigned amid far right-wing attacks, but no recordings of him calling Trump an "idiot."
Read the entire New York Times investigation here.