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An award-winning ABC News investigative reporter who was working on a book about President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan has not been seen in months after his apartment was raided by the FBI reportedly in connection with having classified material on his computer.
Rolling Stone broke the story about 52-year-old James Gordon Meek, an Emmy-winning journalist, on Tuesday. Meek was also former senior counterterrorism adviser and investigator for the House Homeland Security Committee.
The FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid on his upscale apartment in Arlington, Virginia, back in April and he has not been seen since.
The publication claims that sources familiar with matter said that he was the target of a federal investigation and that the FBI allegedly found classified information on his laptop during the raid.
None of Meek’s neighbors have seen him since the raid, the report said. “He fell off the face of the Earth,” one neighbor said, noting that they’ve asked around, “but no one knew the answer.”
A spokesperson for ABC News said that Meeks “resigned very abruptly” and that he “hasn’t worked for us for months.”
“Mr. Meek is unaware of what allegations anonymous sources are making about his possession of classified documents,” Eugene Gorokhov, Meeks’ attorney, said 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.”
The report said that it was unclear what story Meeks could have been working on that would’ve led to the raid, but it noted that the entire situation was “even stranger” because Meeks was finishing a book titled, “Operation Pineapple Express: The Incredible Story of a Group of Americans Who Undertook One Last Mission and Honored a Promise in Afghanistan.”
Lt. Col. Scott Mann, who was co-authoring the book, said that he got a call from Meeks earlier this year indicating that something was going on.
“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 said. “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.”
The report suggested that based on new Justice Department policy outlined by Attorney General Merrick Garland, in order to seize materials from a journalist, authorities would have to believe that the reporter was working for a hostile foreign power or terrorist organization or involved in situations like kidnappings or crimes against children.