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Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe.YouTube screenshot/Project Veritas.

(LifeSiteNews) — Conservatives are accusing the Biden FBI of illegally leaking privileged communications from Project Veritas to the New York Times, at a time when the conservative investigative outlet is suing the left-wing newspaper for defamation.

On November 11, the Times published an article accusing Project Veritas of occupying a “gray area between investigative journalism and political spying,” and purports to back up that thesis by citing “internal documents obtained by The New York Times,” “a series of memos written by the group’s lawyer” regarding how to ensure its undercover operations, which entail journalists misrepresenting themselves and surreptitiously recording subjects, remain on the right side of the law.

The Times’ publication of privileged attorney-client communications sparked outrage among conservative legal analysts, as well as disturbing questions as to how the Times obtained those communications in the first place.

It is suspected that the FBI came to possess the communications during its raid on the homes of current and former Project Veritas journalists last weekend, ostensibly to search for a diary that may have been owned by presidential daughter Ashley Biden. Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe says they were given the diary late in last year’s presidential campaign, but opted not to pursue the story since its authenticity could not be verified. O’Keefe maintains that Biden representatives declined their offer to return the diary, so Project Veritas gave it to law enforcement.

“Not surprisingly, SDNY judge Analisa Torres, the Obama appointee who issued the search warrants, has now abruptly ordered the government to stop extracting materials from the PV operatives’ digital files,” former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy writes at National Review. “Plainly, the Justice Department is running roughshod over PV’s right to counsel.”

“The judge should order the [Southern District of New York’s] Biden-appointed U.S. attorney, Damian Williams, to provide the court, immediately, with affidavits detailing communications with the media from every prosecutor, FBI agent, and support staffer who is either involved in the investigation or has had access to the items seized from the current or former PV officials,” McCarthy suggests. “Judge Torres should ask that Attorney General Merrick Garland immediately refer the matter to Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz for a thorough investigation of how the search-warrant information came to be transmitted to the Times.”

This is not the first indicator that the Times possessed sensitive information pertaining to Project Veritas. O’Keefe’s response to the FBI raids also mentioned the fact that the Times “contacted the Project Veritas reporter for comment” within an hour of that reporter’s home being searched. “We do not know how The New York Times was aware of the execution of a search warrant at our reporter’s home, or the subject matter of the search warrant, as a Grand Jury investigation is secret.”

The Veritas defamation suit concerns Times reporters Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu’s characterization of a Project Veritas report about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and ballot harvesting as “deceptive” and probably part of a “coordinated disinformation campaign.”

Project Veritas, which specializes in undercover videos targeting various left-wing political and media institutions, has been a recurring target over the years of Democrats and their allies due to the revelations of its investigations, from the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and radicalism in public education to election fraud in government agencies and partisan bias in mainstream media giants.