A national media outlet has shed some light on a mysterious FBI raid in Arlington earlier this year.
Rolling Stone reports that the raid on a Columbia Pike apartment building, which ARLnow first reported in April, targeted a well-known ABC News producer, James Gordon Meek.
Meek, an Emmy award winner who often broke investigative stories on the topic of national security for the TV network, has reportedly not been seen or heard from publically since the raid. His formerly active Twitter feed’s last tweet was 5 a.m. the morning of the raid, which targeted his apartment on the top floor of the Siena Park apartments at 2301 Columbia Pike, according to Rolling Stone.
From our reporting on April 27:
Photos show several unmarked federal law enforcement vehicles, including a Lenco BearCat armored SWAT vehicle, in front of the Siena Park Apartments on the 2300 block of the Pike.
An agent in camouflage and tactical gear could be seen holding a shield inside the open doors of the moving BearCat.
Arlington County police deferred comment, noting that “the police activity is part of an active FBI investigation.” The FBI, in turn, confirmed the activity but said little else.
“The FBI is present at the 2300 block of Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA, conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” Washington Field Office spokesperson Samantha Shero tells ARLnow. “The FBI cannot comment further due to an ongoing investigation.”
More details about the investigation are unlikely to be released today or tomorrow, Shero noted.
The raid was initially brought to ARLnow’s attention by local resident John Antonelli, who is quoted in the magazine’s article.
… self-described police-vehicle historian Antonelli was about to grab a coffee at a Starbucks before embarking on his daily three-mile walk. He inched closer to get a better vantage, when he saw an olive-green Lenco BearCat G2, an armored tactical vehicle often employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among other law-enforcement agencies. A few Arlington County cruisers surrounded the jaw-dropping scene, but all of the other vehicles were unmarked, including the BearCat. […]
“They didn’t stick around. They took off pretty quickly and headed west on Columbia Pike towards Fairfax County,” Antonelli recalls.
So far, according to Rolling Stone, Meek has not been charged, documents related to the case remain sealed, and it’s unclear why exactly he’s under investion.
It is unusual for federal law enforcement to target a journalist, the magazine noted.
Meek has been charged with no crime. But independent observers believe the raid is among the first — and quite possibly, the first — to be carried out on a journalist by the Biden administration. A federal magistrate judge in the Virginia Eastern District Court signed off on the search warrant the day before the raid. If the raid was for Meek’s records, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco would have had to give her blessing; a new policy enacted last year prohibits federal prosecutors from seizing journalists’ documents. Any exception requires the deputy AG’s approval. (Gabe Rottman at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says, “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a case [since January 2021].”)
Meek’s attorney released a statement to Rolling Stone responding to one particular detail of the story.
“Mr. Meek is unaware of what allegations anonymous sources are making about his possession of classified documents,” the attorney wrote.
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