Project Veritas says the United States has seized information about employees as part of the investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) – Conservative activist group Project Veritas said Wednesday that the Department of Justice had secretly obtained personal information from Apple and Google about its employees as part of an investigation into how the organization received a diary allegedly belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter.

The organization said it had recently learned from Apple and Google that the department had issued nine subpoenas and rulings between November 2020 and March 2021. The requested material included payment information and browser history, and the department forced technology companies not to disclose government orders, according to Project Veritas.

The organization on Wednesday revealed what it said were notifications from Apple, dated last month, in which the technology company said it had received legal requests in late 2020 and early 2021 for “customer data.” The notice said the request allowed “delayed notice to the affected customer.” Project Veritas also revealed last month that the Justice Department had obtained secret court orders to seize emails from eight employees.

A spokesman for the U.S. prosecutor’s office in Manhattan, who is leading the investigation, declined to comment, and a spokesman for Apple did the same.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement: “To protect users’ privacy, we do not comment on specific cases, but we are committed to protecting user data, and we have a long history of pushing to notify people who use our services. on legal requests relating to their data. ”

Project Veritas calls itself a media organization, even though it relies on tactics – including stick operations – that are not considered conventional or widely accepted media practices.

Its founder, James O’Keefe, said earlier that agents had searched his home and the homes of two others in connection with the diary investigation. O’Keefe said Project Veritas ultimately did not publish information from the diary because it could not confirm that it belonged to Ashley Biden. He has said that the diary that Project Veritas had received from “tipsters” who said it had been left in a room had been handed over to a law enforcement agency.

New York federal prosecutors are investigating, and a former federal judge has been appointed to ensure that no protection of first-instance or attorney-client privileges is violated in the review of materials seized by federal law enforcement from persons who is affiliated with Project Veritas.

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Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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