By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) The former Navy SEAL officer and co-founder of international security firm Blackwater USA has reportedly been recruiting former U.S. and British spies to infiltrate Leftist political campaigns and groups opposed to President Trump’s agenda.
According to a report from The New York Times, Erik Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is a longtime ally of the president and allegedly has close ties to the administration.
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The report notes Prince’s operation aims to insert spies into the campaigns of Democratic congressional candidates as well as labor organizations and other Leftist groups working to undermine the president.
One of those operatives is reportedly a former British MI6 agent named Richard Seddon, who “helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers,” the report said. That’s one of the largest teachers’ unions in the country.
“Mr. Seddon directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the unionâ€™s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show,” the report said, adding:
Using a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to winÂ an important House seatÂ in Virginia as a Democrat. The campaign discovered the operative and fired her.
Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group thatÂ has gained attentionÂ using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups. Mr. Seddonâ€™s role in the teachersâ€™ union operation â€” detailed in internal Project Veritas emails that have emerged from the discovery process of a court battle between the group and the union â€” has not previously been reported, nor has Mr. Princeâ€™s role in recruiting Mr. Seddon for the groupâ€™s activities. …
Mr. Prince appears to have become interested in using former spies to train Project Veritas operatives in espionage tactics sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign. Reaching out to several intelligence veterans â€” and occasionally using Mr. Seddon to make the pitch â€” Mr. Prince said he wanted the Project Veritas employees to learn skills like how to recruit sources and how to conduct clandestine recordings, among other surveillance techniques.
In response to questions from the Times, James O’Keefe, founder of PV, noted, â€œNo one tells Project Veritas who or what to investigate.”
The report noted that it isn’t clear if anyone inside the Trump White House is involved in the operations, but frankly, if anyone were, it wouldn’t necessarily be improper and certainly not illegal — unlike Barack Obama’s ‘Crossfire Hurricane” operation to keep Trump from office and then find a way to depose him after he beat Hillary.
For readers unfamiliar with Prince, he can be quite unconventional. As we noted in August 2018, Prince pitched a plan to “privatize” the Afghanistan war by appointing a “viceroy” to oversee a private security force, in relief of regular U.S. forces.
As NBC NewsÂ reported, citing the original story in theÂ Atlantic:
Princeâ€™s idea, which first surfaced last year during the presidentâ€™sÂ Afghanistan strategy review, envisions replacing troops with private military contractors who would work for a special U.S. envoy for the war who would report directly to the president.
It has raised ethical and security concerns among senior military officials, key lawmakers and members of Trumpâ€™s national security team. A year after Trumpâ€™s strategy announcement, hisÂ advisers are worried his impatience with the Afghanistan conflictÂ will cause him to seriously consider proposals like Princeâ€™s or abruptly order a complete U.S. withdrawal, officials said.
In an interview withÂ NBC News,Â Prince noted that he believes those Trump advisers opposed to his plan are painting â€œas rosy a picture as they canâ€ of the situation in Afghanistan, including that â€œpeace is around the cornerâ€ thanks to recent U.S. efforts for talks with the Taliban.
He also said he thinks Trumpâ€™s advisers â€œover-emphasize the fluff and flare of these so-called peace talks.â€
â€œI know heâ€™s frustrated,â€ Prince said of the president. â€œHe gave the Pentagon what they wanted. â€¦And they havenâ€™t delivered.â€
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If an ally of the president is placing operatives in Democratic campaigns and Left-wing organizations, it’s probably safe to assume that someone in the White House is getting the intel gathered by those operatives.
As for Prince, he is currently under investigation after the Democrat-run House Intelligence Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department claiming he lied under oath about the circumstances of a meeting he had with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017.
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