How did CNN obtain the "CNN Caper" document?
November 7, 2012 7:05 AM   Subscribe

A very esoteric question - YoungConservativeFilter, if you will - but CNN obtained a very damning document from James O'Keefe for a 2010 documentary they did. How did they get it? And how did they confirm it was O'Keefe's?

Just watched the very fascinating CNN-produced documentary "Right on the Edge," last night - it's a news piece from 2010 in which Abbie Boudreau profiles a series of twenty-something rising stars of the conservative movement. The most fascinating segment, by far, is the attempted interview with James O'Keefe: whereas most of the other young conservatives are actually eager to talk with Abbie, and seem to represent possibly the most PR-friendly incarnation of their extreme beliefs, O'Keefe first avoids Boudreau, then tries to entice her to meet with him alone in his 'office' in Maryland. Boudreau travels there only to find that it is not an office - it's his house - and then meets with Izzy Santa, one of O'Keefe's collaborators in Project Veritas, who is shaken and on the verge of tears. Santa informs Boudreau that she is about to be 'punked' by O'Keefe, who plans to lure her to his boat to...well, it's not clear. It seems to involve him videotaping her in a sexually compromising way, with champagne, fuzzy handcuffs, pornographic pictures, and other paraphernalia - but the details we get are vague (and I'll return to this in a moment). Boudreau returns to the O'Keefe house, crosses paths with James, who then does try to lure Boudreau to the boat any way he can; she leaves.

Later on in the documentary, CNN references a document that appears to be an internal memo from O'Keefe's organization, a blueprint for how he will 'punk' Abbie. This is titled the "CNN Caper" document, and appears to lay out O'Keefe's paranoia about CNN's tactics (interestingly, he expects CNN to do to him what he did to ACORN, deceiving him into a 'gotcha' moment), and his plan to lure Abbie Boudreau to his boat to 'seduce her' and then videotape her in compromising positions.

It makes for fascinating television, but it seems that CNN makes a leap in going from Boudreau's dramatic story to the contents of the CNN Caper document - they never state how they obtained it! Does anyone with any proximity to the story, or who has followed it for a while (the documentary is two years old) know how they did this? The document seems to be legit - in that it corroborates a lot of the things Izzy Santa warns Abbie Boudreau about, and it is partially acknowledged by James O'Keefe himself. How did they get it? How would they ever obtain this sort of document from such a paranoid and secretive group as these three or four people (O'Keefe, Santa, Ben Whetmore, Jonathan Burns)?

If you want a reference or are unfamiliar with the documentary, you can actually watch the piece I'm referring to here, starting at roughly the 2:00 mark, and continuing to the end of "Part 5."
posted by sidi hamet to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One of the people working with him, sent the documents to CNN, if i remember correctly. Per the metafilter post on the same topic.
posted by yeoz at 7:08 AM on November 7, 2012

And, indeed, Izzy Santa who is implicated in that CNN article in the original mefi post, is the one who handed over the documents:
"I do believe that Izzy Santa, who came to Ms. Boudreau with the documents and the story, was simply trying to protect me and the organization from a dangerous and objectionable plan, one sent to me in my personal emails that she assumed, wrongly, and probably due to my own lack of communication to her, that I was going to implement," O'Keefe wrote in his statement. "Nothing in the document was implemented."
posted by yeoz at 7:20 AM on November 7, 2012

The email was sent to O'Keefe, per the email chain on the emails CNN received. And of course, he denied anything to do with it:
The document states it was written by "Ben." According to the e-mail chain obtained by CNN, Ben Wetmore sent the document to O'Keefe and Santa. In a statement e-mailed to CNN, O'Keefe wrote: "That is not my work product. When it was sent to me, I immediately found certain elements highly objectionable and inappropriate, and did not consider them for one minute following it."
posted by yeoz at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2012

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