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National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Fox News.

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  • Project Veritas tried to go undercover to get H.R. McMaster fired, The New York Times reports.
  • The group planned to secretly record McMaster disparaging Trump to undermine him.
  • McMaster, a former general, previously served as Trump's National Security Advisor.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Project Veritas planned an ultimately unsuccessful undercover sting operation to try to oust former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as well as some FBI agents, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

The controversial conservative group, led by provocateur and self-styled media watchdog James O'Keefe, dedicates resources to surreptitiously recording government employees, Democratic campaign professionals, and members of the mainstream media.

McMaster's background as a general and record in the foreign policy establishment led groups like Project Veritas to derisively designate him as part of the "deep state" and his approach to foreign policy as "globalist" and at odds with Trump's "America First" positioning, The Times said.

When Project Veritas was forming its plan to expose and oust McMaster in 2018, Trump was critical of what he described as "the deep state" and the law enforcement apparatus that was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The idea to go undercover to get McMaster fired from the White House began after a November 2017 article in Buzzfeed News reported that McMaster referred to Trump as an "idiot," "dope," and someone with smarts on par with a kindergardener at a dinner in Washington, DC, The New York Times reported. (McMaster and others present at the event denied that he made such comments at the time).

Per the Times, Project Veritas then devised a plot to have a woman go to the same place, a high-end Italian restaurant called Tosca, with a hidden camera to engage McMaster in conversation and share a few drinks with him in the hope to catch him saying something similarly disparaging about Trump.

Read more: A Trump prosecution would mean security nightmares in New York, Atlanta, and Washington, DC

The Times reported that Project Veritas planned to pay a woman named Tarah Price $10,000 to be the uncover subject, citing emails written by Price's ex-boyfriend to a group called Expose Project Veritas.

But the plan became moot when McMaster left the administration of his own volition in March of 2018. He was replaced as National Security Advisor by John Bolton.

Project Veritas reportedly rented out an elaborate six-bedroom house in Georgetown that went for $10,000 a month as the headquarters for the failed operation and also hired women to go undercover on dates with FBI agents to secretly record them in the hopes that some would trash Trump on tape.

The women hired to bait FBI agents made fake dating app profiles, secretly brought reporting equipment to the dates, were given code names like "Tiger" and "Brazil," and were told to keep the location of the house top-secret at all costs, The Times reported.

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