ABC News Producer Missing Since FBI Raid, Was Writing Book About Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal
A star reporter for ABC News has been missing since an April 27 FBI raid at his Arlington, Virginia apartment.
Emmy award winner James Gordon Meek - a deep-dive journalist who was also a former senior counterterrorism adviser and investigator for the House Homeland Security Committee, abruptly quit his job of 9 years and "fell off the face of the earth," after the raid, one of his colleagues told Rolling Stone.
At the time of the raid, Meek, 52, was co-authoring a now-published book about the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to 'sources familiar with the matter,' federal agents allegedly found classified information on Meek's laptop during their raid - though one investigative journalist who had worked with him said it would be highly unusual for a reporter to do so.
"Mr. Meek is unaware of what allegations anonymous sources are making about his possession of classified documents," said his lawyer, Eugene Gorokhov, in a statement. "If such documents exist, as claimed, this would be within the scope of his long career as an investigative journalist covering government wrongdoing. 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 DOJ [Department of Justice] promptly investigates the source of this leak."
Tucker Carlson: "ABC News Producer who was working on a book about Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal was raided by the FBI and has gone missing." pic.twitter.com/6W8tptpu0x— Real Mac Report (@RealMacReport) October 20, 2022
As Rolling Stone notes, it's unclear what story Meek could have been working on that would have put him in the FBI's crosshairs.
Meek worked on extremely sensitive topics — from high-profile terrorists to Americans held abroad to the exploits of Erik Prince, the founder of the infamous military contractor Blackwater. In recent years, some of Meek’s highest-profile reporting delved into a 2017 ambush by ISIS in Niger that left four American Green Berets dead. Meek and ABC then adapted the story into the feature-length documentary 3212 Un-Redacted, which debuted last year on Veteran’s Day on ABC’s sister company Hulu.
A robust Emmy campaign began prior to Meek’s disappearance, with events like a screening and Q&A at the Motion Picture Association in D.C. that the journalist attended with one of his daughters. The story was particularly incendiary because it undermined the Pentagon’s official narrative of what happened on the ground in the African nation, and presented “evidence of a cover-up at the highest levels of the Army,” according to the film’s logline. Adding intrigue, sources say another ABC News investigative journalist, Brian Epstein, also abruptly and inexplicably left the network a few months before Meek. Epstein also worked as a director, producer, and cinematographer on 3212 Un-Redacted (Hulu stopped Emmy campaigning after Meek apparently went AWOL, and the documentary ultimately failed to receive a nomination). Epstein told Rolling Stone, “I’m not commenting on this story,” before abruptly hanging up. -Rolling Stone
Meanwhile, Meek's co-author on the Afghanistan book, retired Green Beret Lt. Col. Scott Mann, says he has no idea what happened.
"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," Mann 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."