Who is James Gordon Meek, star ABC journalist who’s been missing since April FBI raid?

Neighbours, colleagues and co-authors haven’t seen reporter since 27 April

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Thursday 20 October 2022 13:20 BST
3212 Un-Redacted

Acclaimed national security reporter James Gordon Meek hasn’t been seen since an April FBI raid on his apartment just outside of Washington, DC.

Former colleagues at ABC News, a co-author on his forthcoming book, and even his neighbours say they have no idea where the documentary producer has been.

The worrying disappearance raises questions over whether the Biden administration has targeted or arrested the journalist, a major test of the president, who made a point last year to put new safeguards in place protecting reporters during leak investigations.

Here’s what you need to know.

When was James Gordon Meek raided?

No one has seen Mr Meek since a 27 April raid on his upscale, Arlington, Virginia by local and federal agents, Rolling Stone reports.

Bystanders told the magazine they saw heavily armed officers and tactical vehicles outside the building where the reporter lives.

Following the search, the FBI said it was conducting “court-authorized law-enforcement activity” in the area.

The agency declined to comment further to The Independent.

Why did they search him?

Agents raided the reporter after a federal judge approved a search warrant the day before.

Anonymous sources familiar with the operation told Rolling Stone the reporter was suspected of possessing classified material on his laptop, something not out of the realm of possibility for a national security reporter.

James Gordon Meek is interviewed on the Reel Talker YouTube channel
James Gordon Meek is interviewed on the Reel Talker YouTube channel (Screenshot / YouTube / Reel Talker)

“If such documents exist, as claimed, this would be within the scope of his long career as an investigative journalist covering government wrongdoing,” his attorney Eugene Gorokhov toldThe Independent. “The allegations in your inquiry are troubling for a different reason: they appear to come from a source inside the government. It is highly inappropriate, and illegal, for individuals in the government to leak information about an ongoing investigation. We hope that the [Department of Justice] promptly investigates the source of this leak.”

Under revised 2021 Department of Justice guidelines, US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco would’ve had to sign off on the investigation.

The Independent has contacted the agency for comment.

Who is James Gordon Meek?

The 52-year-old journalist is known for his highly sensitive reporting about the US military, covert operations, and terrorism.

His work has explored a foiled terror plot in New York City, an alleged cover-up of the friendly fire death of Pfc Dave Sharrett II in Iraq, and a Hulu documetary called 3212 Un-redacted, about a 2017 mission gone wrong in Niger where four US Special Forces operators were killed.

Where is he now?

Even close associates don’t know where the journalist has gone.

ABC News says the reporter abruptly resigned this year.

His co-author on a forthcoming book, Operation Pineapple Express: The Incredible Story of a Group of Americans Who Undertook One Last Mission and Honored a Promise in Afghanistan, also hasn’t heard from Mr Meek.

“He contacted me in the spring, and was really distraught, and told me that he had some serious personal issues going on and that he needed to withdraw from the project,”  Lt Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret, told Rolling Stone. “As a guy who’s a combat veteran who has seen that kind of strain — I don’t know what it was — I honored it. And he went on his way, and I continued on the project.”

Mr Meek’s name appears to have been scrubbed from promotional materials surrounding the book.

As one former coworker told the magazine, “He fell off the face of the Earth.”

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