Poker player turned spy
In what might seem more like the plot of a film than real life, the New York Times (NYT) has implicated former professional poker player and reality TV contestant Anna Khait in an FBI spying scandal.
The NYT released an article revealing details of the alleged spying campaign on Thursday. It accuses Russian-born Khait, most widely known for her appearance on the reality TV show Survivor in 2016, of spying on FBI employees on behalf of a conservative group named Project Veritas.
undercover female operatives, such as Khait, to date FBI employees in a ‘honeypot’ scheme
Project Veritas supposedly sought to discredit those who opposed former President Donald Trump within the US government. The NYT claims it employed undercover female operatives, such as Khait, to date FBI employees in a ‘honeypot’ scheme. By secretly recording the agents, they intended to capture incriminating comments to bring the bureau into disrepute.
The claims and Khait’s response
According to the NYT, Project Veritas operated out of a large home in Georgetown, Washington. The group began with the aim of exposing outside organizations, such as trade unions, and opposing party campaigns. However, after Trump became president in 2017, it morphed into an operation to weed out his political enemies within government ranks.
Khait allegedly conducted several operations against a number of targets
As a Project Veritas member supposedly living in the Georgetown house during Trump’s presidency, Khait allegedly conducted several operations against a number of targets. One such spying campaign in 2018 included a State Department employee, with a former group member identifying Khait in an undercover video made of the operation.
Although the ex-poker pro supposedly did not respond to the NYT’s request for comment, she has since denied the claims to her 276,800 Twitter followers, describing them as “baseless accusations”:
A highly controversial figure
Originally from Russia, Khait moved to the US at a young age where she began playing professional poker. She competed in several tournaments between 2013 and 2016 but didn’t take home much prize money in that time. In fact, her largest cash win came in 2015 when she bagged $3,035, finishing just 110th in the Borgata Poker Open $560 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack.
a pathetic group of self-righteous, hypocritical, slanderer lefties”
Since then, she has become more known for far-right views and controversial social media posts than her poker skills. In 2020, she described the poker community as “a pathetic group of self-righteous, hypocritical, slanderer lefties” after receiving backlash for her views on Twitter.
Khait’s social media posts center heavily around her distrust of the mainstream media, something she often refers to as “Fake News”. In another Tweet on Thursday, Khait referred to the NYT as such while warning of legal action against the news agency:
This year, the ex-poker player also received criticism for her spread of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. She has referred to the crisis as a “Democratic hoax” and urged her followers to ditch masks and refuse vaccinations.