Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy

Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy

by James O'Keefe


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In this New York Times bestseller, controversial ambush journalist James O’Keefe takes a hard-hitting look at how the media and government conspire to protect the status quo: “A spine-tingling, true crime thriller about the quest for truth in the age of media obfuscation” (Gavin McInnes, FOX News contributor).

Hailed by David Weigel in Slate as having “had more of an impact on the 2012 election than any journalist,” James O’Keefe is young, brash, and provocative: a new breed of guerrilla reporter for the twenty-first century. He and his associates have famously infiltrated some of America’s most protected organizations and institutions. Now, in Breakthrough, O’Keefe chronicles the harrowing undercover investigation that opened America’s eyes to the chicanery of its state houses and the duplicity of the White House during one of the most compromised election campaigns in our nation’s history: the 2012 presidential race.

Of all his controversial sting operations, this was the one that his late mentor, Andrew Breitbart, called “his most consequential.” While still on federal probation, O’Keefe organized an army of citizen journalists, planned a series of video stings to reveal the American system’s vulnerability to voter fraud, and went nose to nose with the most powerful political machine in the world. Along the way, O’Keefe found disheartening evidence that Americans are not nearly as free as we may believe, but also showed just how much real change ordinary citizens can bring about when they are willing to risk the wrath of the powerful.

Free of ideology, Breakthrough is at its core a clarion call for a more ethical society. Despite being vilified and libeled by an establishment media dedicated to suppressing the truth, James O’Keefe has dared to break through the firewall and reshape public opinion by showing things as they really are.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476706184
Publisher: Threshold Editions
Publication date: 06/17/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 600,041
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James E. O’Keefe III gained major national attention for his release of video recordings of workers at ACORN offices in 2009, his arrest in early 2010 at the office of Senator Mary Landrieu, and his release of videos of NPR executives in 2011. In June 2010, O’Keefe formed Project Veritas, an organization with the stated mission to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct.”

Read an Excerpt


  • Nineteen eighty-four was not just the year I was born.

    On the night of January 17, 2012, Kristen Coolidge1, home from college, talked and joked with her three younger siblings around the kitchen island while their mom, Mary*, prepared dinner nearby. The Coolidges lived in Newmarket, New Hampshire, on a quiet street lined with homes as old and picturesque as their one-hundred-year-old colonial.

    Kristen heard the sounds first. Startled, she looked up and listened intently. They were footsteps—urgent, masculine footsteps—several sets of feet. She tracked them around the side of the house. Unaware, Mary labored away at the stove until a sharp rap on the seldom-used back door made her jump. She saw the outlines of three grown men dressed in winter gear and instinctively made her way to the door.

    “Don’t open it, Mom,” whispered twenty-year-old Tim. Mary hesitated. Sensing her hesitance, the man in front flashed a badge. Mary proceeded to the door and opened it just a crack. “Can I help you?”

    The lead officer—gruff, officious, his head shaved down to a military trim—wedged his foot in the opening and barged his way through. The two younger men followed, surveying the room. The Coolidges stood frozen. “We’re looking for Adam Coolidge,” said the lead officer, Mark Myrdeck, a retired police lieutenant now working for the New Hampshire attorney general, Michael Delaney. “We’re told he lives here.”

    I learned about the raid as it happened. Nineteen-year-old Jenna Coolidge had the wherewithal to send me a Facebook message from her cell phone. “Hi James, three men just knocked on the door looking for Adam . . . asking about where he lives.”

    “What did Adam do?” asked Mary, deeply worried about her twenty-three-year-old son. Myrdeck could not give a direct answer. “We don’t know if he has broken any laws. We just need to talk to him.” He knew better than this. He brought with him a subpoena for Adam to appear before a criminal grand jury. He placed a dossier on the kitchen counter and left it open just enough so that the Coolidges could see photos of Adam and me.

    To make sense of his visit, Myrdeck said something about how Adam disrupted a lot of families that had lost a loved one, making them feel uncomfortable. “My son is just trying to do good for the country,” Mary protested, but the men were not listening.

    The one person Adam had really made uncomfortable was New Hampshire governor John Lynch. Just six months earlier, a preening Lynch proudly vetoed New Hampshire state bill 129, which would have required voters to show a photo ID. In all his limited wisdom, the governor chastised a heartless legislature for passing a highly “restrictive” voter ID bill “despite any evidence that current law is insufficient protection against voter fraud.”

    A week earlier, Adam Coolidge and a few others had shown just how pathetically insufficient those protections were. These guys were the Green Berets of citizen journalism, the proud ground troops of Project Veritas, the nonprofit I had launched to revive investigative journalism. They had calmly walked into a half-dozen voting stations during America’s most closely watched primary and were handed ballots for seven of the eight dead people whose names they volunteered.

    Here we were just one week into our election fraud investigation, and we had already tripped the fascist trigger in the government-media complex. Too many people had too much at stake in a look-the-other-way electoral process to let us attack it with impunity. The harassment of the Coolidges was payback time. Six months later we would essentially be cleared of wrongdoing for our investigative reporting on voter fraud, however reluctantly, by the attorney general of the United States. But the Stasi wannabes of New Hampshire had yet to get that memo.

    “She was physically shaking,” Kristen said of her mom. “It was not as if they came in during the daytime or came in through the front door. They did to my mom what they hoped to do.” T. S. Eliot had it nailed. “This is the way the world ends,” he wrote in “The Hollow Men” nearly ninety years ago. “Not with a bang but a whimper.” The crimes would be small ones, the persecution petty, the outcry limited to an old colonial in Newmarket, New Hampshire.

    I wish I could have been there to help. I wish I could have gone to New Hampshire to oversee the video sting, but I could do neither. I had to direct the operation from the restored carriage house on my family’s property in New Jersey. I could not leave the state without permission from, yes, my probation officer. This fellow was assigned to track me for a misdemeanor I did not even commit. That’s how special I must have seemed to someone.

    I was twenty-seven years old, five years into my self-created career as a citizen journalist, and I had already been arrested, imprisoned, nearly killed during my coerced “community service,” commended along with Hannah Giles by the U.S. House of Representatives for exposing ACORN, publicly accused of everything from racism to rape, lauded by the governor of New Jersey for exposing a corrupt union, pursued recklessly on an interstate by a teacher I caught on tape, denounced by Keith Olbermann as the “worst person in the world,” applauded for causing major resignations at National Public Radio, sued multiple times, slandered by half the working journalists in America, and finally inspired to expose voter fraud in the heat of a presidential election, which my late mentor Andrew Breitbart described over the phone to me as “the most consequential thing you ever did.”

    In the course of these short few years, I have received an education that few will receive in a lifetime. Some of what I learned came from books, most usefully Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, and everything by G. K. Chesterton. Some I learned from the people who mentored me, chief among them my father, my grandfather, and the uniquely gifted Andrew Breitbart.

    Much of what I learned, I learned through the cold, hard knocks of experience. To learn, I have had to sort my way through legal and media swamps into which no one has ventured before. For those who may want to follow, I have edited what I have learned into a set of guidelines, the Veritas rules. The rules are shaped by my larger vision, simply put, to make the world a more virtuous place.

    By showing what is true and what is not, journalists can help forge a more ethical and transparent society, one in which people do what is right because they want to, not because they feel compelled to by the government. “A society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man,” Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said at his justly famous Harvard address. He was talking about us. In solving human problems, we have become increasingly bureaucratic, technocratic, legalistic. The society we have today does not oppress like Solzhenitsyn’s did. It depresses. It demoralizes. It discourages the impulse that motivated Revolutionary War general John Stark to “live free or die.”

    Years ago, New Hampshire adopted those stirring words as the state motto. Today New Hampshire officials intimidate families like the Coolidges over the exercise of their basic freedoms. Solzhenitsyn saw the change coming. “Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations,” he said, “there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man’s noblest impulses.” My colleagues and I had to fight through that paralysis in this, the critical year of the Lord, 2012. There was a lot at stake, and there were only ten months left before the presidential election.

    1. Names changed to protect the innocent.

  • Table of Contents

    Prologue: Through the Plexiglas ix

    Book 1 1

    The Hollow Men 3

    The Carriage House 9

    The Book of Rules 13

    Mr. O'Keefe Goes to Washington: Part I 23

    Bushwhacking 31

    Chinchilla Journalism 37

    Mr. O'Keefe Goes to Washington: Part II 51

    Meeting Breitbart 55

    On Top of the World 69

    The Empire Strikes Back 77

    Pimp Protocol 85

    The Yes Men 99

    The New Orleans 4 105

    Louisiana Watergate 123

    ABC Goes for the Jugular 139

    Beautiful Swimmers 147

    Teachers Gone Wild 159

    Guerrillas in Their Midst 173

    The Empire Strikes Back Again 185

    Road Gang 191

    Milking Medicaid 197

    To Catch a Journalist 201

    Witness for the Prosecution 209

    Countdown 219

    Book 2

    Dead Man Voting 225

    Zombie Symphony 233

    The American Way 241

    The Rise of Richard Head 247

    Living on a Prayer in Minnesota 253

    Storming Vermont 257

    Motte d'Andrew 265

    Tebow Scores 269

    Becoming Eric Holder 273

    North Carolina 281

    Undocumented Journalists 287

    The Fluke Protocols 293

    Tampa Bay Blues 299

    Hidden Cameras for Me But Not for Thee 303

    The Butterfly Effect 309

    Veritas 315

    Notes 321

    Acknowledgments 333

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    Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Breakthrough takes readers through the life of an undercover journalist. It details the effect of the bias of the mainstream media and liberal government officials on O'Keefe, as well as how he has responded to these challenges. In the end, he overcomes these hurdles and learns lessons to maximize his effectiveness. A great read!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    James O'Keefe has done an excellent job at exposing governmental/media fraud and they hate him for it. It is a shame that he has been treated so poorly for doing nothing more than ferreting out the cancerous ideologies and the organizations that practice them. If you don't like the media now, read this book and you will absolutely detest the media when you have finished Breakthrough. Not only will you dislike the media, but you may be left with a bitter taste in your mouth for modern academia and the justice system. Keep on fighting the good fight James and we will do out part and tune in. 
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Folks, pay attention to the cited publishers for any of these books. When you try to look up their offices, why do you end up in a vacant lot? Are any of these books legit independent reports, based upon some kind of fact? Why not? Don't trust any of this, use your heads.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book revealed an enormous amount of fraud and corruption in many government agencies and taxfunded groups and the lengths those involved will go to suppress this knowledge from the public. Unfortunately most journalists go along to get along and will not buck the status quo. Thank God for someone like James O'Keefe who will not back down and follows through with what he knows is right.
    concernedamericanEL More than 1 year ago
    Fast read. Shocking revelations. Reminds me of the feature film "Enemy of the State". Can't wait till Mr O'Keefe writes next book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A must-read for all Conservatives. This book and the work of Project Veritas proves the collusion of the MSM and the Socialist "Progressives." Just when you thought America was the Land of the Free and people have freedom of speech, Mr. O'Keefe has taught us otherwise. I was surprised how far the anti-journalists are willing to goto suppress the truth in this country! The madness goes all the way to the top. Read this book, it will open your eyes.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A great read. Hard to put down. He dances good too.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago