The ‘WikiLeaks-style’ CNN exposé a conservative provocateur promised got off to a slow start

James O'KeefeScreenshot via veritasvisuals/YouTube

Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe's on Wednesday promoted what he said would be a "WikiLeaks-style" release of secret recordings captured from inside CNN's Atlanta headquarters.

The footage released on Thursday was met with little fanfare.

The political activist released the first batch of his recordings that were allegedly taken in 2009. Nearly 120 hours of audio were uploaded to his organization's website, Project Veritas, with little contextother than what appears to be the dates in which they were recorded.

Diving into the batch of raw files proved to be no more helpful since large portions of the clips contained nothing but ambient noise. Additionally, after listening to several clips, it proved difficult to ascertain the context of the conversations from the purported CNN employees. What conversations were had in the recordings seemed to take place between low-level staffers, as reported by Politico.

Selected clips where a news editor described Fox News as "unbearable," and another said that "there's no debate" on topic of climate change, were also uploaded to O'Keefe's website.

O'Keefe has built a reputation of using questionable methods to secure recordings and has been accused of deceptive editing of footage from his investigations. He first gained notoriety in 2009 after he released undercover videos that alleged illegal activity by employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a nonprofit organization that advocated issues like voter registration.

O'Keefe teased the release in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday, and told CNN "This is all legally recorded information."

However, O'Keef has faced legal challenges with his earlier work. One of the subjects of O'Keefe's past recordings — which were taken in the same year as the alleged CNN leaks — eventually landed O'Keefe in court, where he faced charges of taping without consent. O'Keefe agreed to settle the case for $100,000.

O'Keefe was also sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine after pleading guilty to playing a role in breaking into the office of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

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