One of Disney-owned ABC News’s top producers has vanished, seemingly without a trace, after FBI agents raided his upscale Arlington, Virginia apartment earlier this year.
Early in the morning on April 27, ABC News star producer James Gordon Meek tweeted one simple word: “FACTS.” It’s the last time the famed producer had any online presence.
— James Gordon Meek (@meekwire) April 27, 2022
Meek worked for Disney-owned ABC News as a national security investigative producer. His tweet was in response to a tweet by former CIA agent Marc Polymeropoulos, in which he opined that the Ukrainian military was flourishing against its Russian enemies–with the help of the United States.
Polymeropoulos used a number of acronyms in his tweet–acronyms that could typically only be understood by those in the national security community and those charged with covering national security news. His tweet was a reply to the Washington Post Pentagon reporter Dan Lamothe, who tweeted about copious amounts of intel related to Russia’s combat strategy gained by the United States military as they were able to observe Russian forces in real-time.
James Gordon Meek is hailed by some as a “deep-dive journalist,” one counts the role of former senior counterterrorism adviser for the U. S. Homeland Security Committee on his resume. He’s known by some in the business as a “military fanboy,” and his stellar record for breaking news pertaining to terrorist plots against New York City, as well as the United States Army’s cover-up of the death of Pfc. Dave Sharrett II in Iraq is unmatched by other investigative news reporters.
Meek’s talent for sniffing out the news even landed him an interview with President Barack Obama.
As of April 27, the morning of Meek’s last tweet, the decorated journalist had nine years under his belt at Disney-owned ABC, and a new ABC News documentary on Hulu, titled 3212 Un-Redacted, which was said to have Emmy potential, 52-year-old Meek had every appearance of being at the very height of his career.
But few knew that federal agents had raided Meek’s home in the Eastern District of Virginia on April 26 and allegedly discovered classified information on his laptop during the search approved by a U. S. federal judge. And no one could have known that Meek’s outstanding career was about to be turned upside down–or that the man who had spent his professional life in the thick of it, would disappear.
One of Meek’s neighbors at the upscale six-story Siena Park apartment complex, John Antonelli, says he remembers the day that a drove of vehicles–mostly unmarked–descended on the property: a green Lenco BearCat G2–an armored vehicle used by the FBI–cruisers from Arlington County, and several other unmarked vehicles. Antonelli counted no less than 10 heavily armed agents among those who arrived to raid the apartment.
But for all the hoopla, Meek’s neighbor says the raid only lasted about 10 minutes.
“They didn’t stick around,” Antonelli said. “They took off pretty quickly and headed west on Columbia Pike towards Fairfax County. Most people seeing that green vehicle would think it’s some kind of tank. But I knew it was the Lenco BearCat. That vehicle is designed to be jumped out of so they can do a raid in that kind of time. It can return fire if they’re being fired upon.”
“In the raid’s aftermath, Meek, who frequently collaborated with ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir, has made himself scarce,” reads a report about the raid. “None of his Siena Park neighbors . . . have seen him since, with his apartment appearing to be vacant.”
Reporters for Rolling Stone were told by management at Siena Park that they could not divulge information about whether Meek still lived in the apartment per “privacy policies,” and Meek’s ABC News colleagues have no idea where he is or what has happened to him.
“He fell off the face of the earth,” recounted one colleague, “and people asked, but no one knew the answer.”
Those closest to the scenario say that David Gordon Meek was the target of the raid in April, and at least one FBI representative reportedly confirmed that agents were indeed on the scene “at the 2300 block of Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia,” that morning and that the agents were “conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity.”
The representative also referred to the situation as “an ongoing investigation” but could comment no further.
Over the course of his career, Meek has covered a number of very sensitive news topics and stories, including one about an ambush in 2017 by ISIS that cost the lives of four American Green Berets, as well as stories about terrorists, so if he is indeed the target of the raid, it’s unclear which of the many stories covered is at the center of the raid.
And while the mystery remains about Meek’s whereabouts, some note another mystery–asking questions about whether the current administration is taking aim at a news journalist for his work as part of his reporting. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened.
The Espionage Act of 1917 makes it illegal to obtain information, record photos, or “copy descriptions of any information relating to the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information may be used for the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” Its controversy lies in the way that the law offers no distinction between individuals and groups who mean to harm the U. S. and those who are attempting to expose those who are abusing power.
If the raid on Meek’s apartment is a target on the producer for information gained with respect to the United States’ alleged involvement with Ukraine and its plight against enemy forces from Russia, or any of the countless stories Meek has covered over the years, it won’t be the first incidence.
“During the First World War, some two thousand people were prosecuted under the act for their opposition to the draft and the war, many of them for political speech that we would recognize today as fully protected by the First Amendment,” reads a post from The New Yorker. “In the nineteen-seventies, the government charged Daniel Ellsberg under the act for supplying the Pentagon Papers, a classified study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, to the Washington Post and the New York Times. The government was forced to abandon the prosecution after it came to light that the FBI had unlawfully tapped Ellsberg’s phone and that agents of the White House had broken into the office of his psychiatrist.”
Only one person has ever been convicted under the Act, however, for giving information to the press. In 1984, United States Navy intelligence analyst Samuel Loring Morison was charged with, and convicted of, supplying a publication with classified photos that showed an ahead-of-its-time Soviet aircraft carrier being built.
He was given a Presidential pardon in 2001.
At this time, the ABC News producer has not been charged with any crime. But since the FBI raid at his upscale Virginia apartment, Meek has seemingly vanished. According to Rolling Stone, Meek reportedly “resigned very abruptly and hasn’t worked for [ABC News] in months.”
It’s important to note that another ABC News investigative journalist abruptly left the network shortly before Meek resigned and vanished. Brian Epstein worked as a director, producer, and cinematographer for the Hulu documentary with which Meek was also involved, titled 3212 Un-Redacted, which accuses some prominent in the United States Army of a massive coverup of events that allegedly left four U. S. servicemen dead in 2017 in the West African country of Niger.
Mann, the author of the book and a retired Lt. Col. with the Army, says Meek contacted him in the spring.
“He contacted me and was really distraught,” Mann explained. “[He] told me that he had some serious personal issues going on and that he needed to withdraw from the project. 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.”
Mann says he has no idea what has happened to Meek.
“I just want to know what happened,” says another person who worked on the Hulu documentary project, 3212 Un-Redacted, with Meek. “This is making me nervous. I’m just gonna deadbolt my door.”