Billionaire private military contractor Erik Prince was the "celebrity pitchman" of a 2018 effort from British ex-spy Richard Seddon to install undercover agents in Democratic activist groups and political campaigns, according to a new report from Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman of the New York Times.
Prince, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and the brother of Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos, courted potential fundraisers for the operation while serving as an unofficial advisor to Trump.
Erik Prince raised money for a venture to use undercover agents to infiltrate opponents of Donald Trump. His involvement sheds new light on how a group of ultraconservative Republicans used spycraft to try to manipulate the American political landscape. https://t.co/jc3TsUxOew
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 8, 2022
The undercover agents established networks in Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona and made thousands of dollars in donations to Democratic candidates and causes, in a likely violation of campaign finance laws prohibiting straw donors. The main locale, however, was solid-red Wyoming, where Prince met with an heiress from the state, Susan Gore, who would later become one of the project's main backers.
According to the Times:
"Prince’s role in the effort, which has not been previously disclosed, sheds further light on how a group of ultraconservative Republicans employed spycraft to try to manipulate the American political landscape."
The news comes about four years after reports broke that both Prince and Seddon were aiding the right wing disinformation outlet Project Veritas, which uses undercover operatives to promote fake stories and deceptively edited videos designed to discredit journalists and elected officials. According to another Times report, the pair helped recruit ex-spies from the United Kingdom and the United States in a similar effort to infiltrate liberal groups.
The story generated a wealth of reactions on social media, including from former FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Update to an older story, Prince hired former MI6 officer Richard Seddon to train US operatives to spy against political rivals.
Which happens to be against the law, see 50 USC 851 https://t.co/SL67BQNQr4
But guess we're just gonna let that one slide.
— Peter Strzok (@petestrzok) February 8, 2022
Erik Prince is a fundamentalist Christian mercenary who has a literal death cult compound and has personally overseen multiple war crimes, for which he war pardoned by Dormuld Dormp.
In your Cyberpunk game, when you’re playing a merc, this guy is your boss. https://t.co/SmQz4qGPZF
— Joshua “RepliCAN not RepliCAN’T" A.C. Newman (@JoshuaACNewman) February 9, 2022
Prosecute this scumbag. https://t.co/IjAlcNSjkr
— Greg McHallam 🇺🇸☘️🍀🥃🍸🍺⚓️🏴☠️🌊🌈 (@GregMcHallam) February 8, 2022
This guy is one of the shadiest guys ever https://t.co/QqvRjnlOJ3
— Grudgie the Whale (@grudging1) February 8, 2022
Some are livid that Prince, who's been accused of war crimes after founding the defense company Blackwater USA, hasn't been arrested.
HOW IS THIS DUDE NOT IN PRISON YET https://t.co/z6IkzPwQdz
— Elliott Troy (@ThePalePharaoh) February 8, 2022
Okay why are they not arrested? https://t.co/nGSrIipgWl
— Angel D. Sullivan (@AngelDSullivan3) February 8, 2022
I wondered when will #ErikPrince ever face prison for the crimes he has committed, he has been broad to daylight by press but yet no consequences either... 🤔 https://t.co/eL3kluIxnI
— Tian El📎WeResistedWeWon (@Tian_El) February 8, 2022
The fact that this cartoon villain is still roaming free is proof that our American institutions are deeply broken https://t.co/XCnksmSgHe
— Kelly Sheehan (@MadameButtons) February 9, 2022
Prince wouldn't comment on the matter to the Times.