David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, the moderately sketchy group behind the recent undercover videos attacking Planned Parenthood, has begun stepping out for interviews, telling CNN Friday he plans to release “eight to 10” more videos, and telling the National Review that Planned Parenthood is trying to suppress his free speech rights, or, as he puts it, “use state power to try to attack the citizen press.”
Daleiden’s tone varies widely based on the outlet: in a CNN interview this morning, he referred to his work as undercover journalism, calmly accused Planned Parenthood of fraud, and dodged questions about whether he agrees with the use of fetal tissue in medical research. Talking to the conservative National Review, and evidently more relaxed, he accused PP of aborting “gay babies,” a bizarre claim for which he gave no evidence, and, in his words, acting as “the engine behind industrial-scale, state-subsidized child-killing in our country.” He also said pretty unequivocally that he believes fetuses are being aborted specifically and in specific ways to fuel medical research:
When it comes to using baby parts from abortion, buyers and end-users are haggling over the price of living children and negotiating the ways they will be killed in order to do the experiments that they want. In the real world, fetal-tissue use is about making certain abortions happen, not about salvaging those already done.
One video has been blocked from being released by a court order; that lawsuit was brought not by Planned Parenthood but by StemExpress, a medical research provider that according to their website obtains “maternal blood, umbilical cord blood and human gestation tissue,” and which says it was illegally and unknowingly filmed by the CMP. (On the CMP website, Daleiden accuses StemExpress of trying to “silence the citizen press reporting on issues of burning concern to the American public.”)
At the same time, Sharona Coutts and Sofia Resnick at RH Reality Check have done a little digging into the fake company Daleiden and his “investigators” used to go undercover, BioMax Procurement Services. They’ve identified three alises used by Daleiden and two women who they haven’t yet identified: Daleiden went by Robert Daoud Sarkis, while the women went by Susan Tennenbaum and Brianna Allen.
And here is where things get weird.
According to RH Reality Check’s investigation, Daleiden did at one time know a woman named Brianna Allen — she was an acquaintance of his in high school, and she was president of the campus feminist club.
After seeing her name referenced in our earlier reporting, Brianna M. Allen of Davis, California, contacted RH Reality Check to let us know that she had no ties to Daleiden’s organization and has not been in contact with him for 15 years.
Allen was the president of the student feminist club at Davis Senior High School at the same time that Daleiden was a student there, she said.
“Even in high school I knew he was adamantly against it [abortion]. He was very outspoken about being Catholic and more conservative. And we were very open about being liberal and pro-choice,” she told RH Reality Check. “Last night I just thought, ‘Oh God, what if that’s why he chose my name?’ But I kind of wrote it off as, ‘No, that’s ridiculous.’”
It might take a whole team of therapists to figure out Daleiden’s motivation there but in the meantime, he may be in very real legal trouble. In at least one video, the BioMax “employees” presented what appeared to be California driver’s licenses with those fake names, leading House Democrats to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the group for fraud. Harris responded that her office “will carefully review the allegations raised in your letter to determine whether there were any violations of California law.”
Here’s the full CNN video:
Screengrab via CNN