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March 21, 2023

Rolling Stone Lied to Readers, Claiming a Journalist's Home Was Raided Because He Was Hot on the Trail of a National Security Story.
That Wasn't Why He Was Raided.

Or at least, that's not the official FBI justification for the raid. Who knows, maybe the raid was pretextual.

But Rolling Stone spun the raid as having to do with national secrecy skullduggery.

In fact, he was raided for child pron allegations.

This is NPR -- state media -- so skepticism is warranted.

But Rolling Stone knew the official reason for the raid at the time they reported; why did they hide this from readers?

Warning: This story contains references to disturbing accusations and incidents of child sex abuse.

Last Oct. 18, Rolling Stone served up a foreboding scoop: The FBI had raided the home of a renowned journalist at the top of his game months earlier, and he had disappeared from public view.

It should have been a coup. Instead, acrimony inside the newsroom over how that scoop was edited led to accusations that the magazine's brash leader pulled punches in overseeing coverage of someone he knew. The reporter who wrote the story, enraged, accepted a position at a sister publication two months later. And her complaints prompted a senior attorney for the magazine's parent company to review what happened.


The Rolling Stone story created a stir. Reporter Tatiana Siegel stated that the April 22 raid was "quite possibly, the first" carried out by the Biden administration on a journalist.

In this case, the journalist was ABC News national security producer James Gordon Meek. A former investigator for the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Meek had been with ABC News since 2013. He also was a producer of 3212 Un-Redacted, an investigative documentary that streamed on Hulu.

As published, the Rolling Stone article's first two paragraphs lionized Meek's record and swashbuckling style.

"Meek appears to be on the wrong side of the national-security apparatus," it stated.

As the story noted, Siegel's sources told her "federal agents allegedly found classified information on Meek's laptop during their raid." Siegel reported that Meek left his job at ABC after the raid; a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster evaporated.

As edited by Rolling Stone Editor-in-Chief Noah Shachtman, however, the article omitted a key fact that Siegel initially intended to include: Siegel had learned from her sources that Meek had been raided as part of a federal investigation into images of child sex abuse, something not publicly revealed until last month.

Why did Rolling Stone suggest Meek was targeted for his coverage of national security, rather than something unrelated to his journalism?

Neither Siegel nor Shachtman would comment for this story. This article is based on a review of some contemporaneous communications and also interviews with 10 people with knowledge of incidents described here, including several individuals at Rolling Stone, as well as people at ABC and federal law enforcement agencies.

Each asked not to be named because they were not authorized to disclose these matters publicly.

The raid on Meek's apartment occurred in April but did not become public knowledge. In September, Siegel learned details of the raid from Meek's neighbors, yet she felt the story was languishing. At a staff meeting late that month, Shachtman asked her what she was working on. She reminded him.

The next week, Shachtman stepped in to edit Siegel's story. It was rare for him to do so for her work.

As a longtime national security reporter himself, Shachtman has periodically expressed to colleagues at various outlets his skepticism of the veracity of government sources. When Siegel detailed the seriousness of the allegations against Meek, Shachtman warned her against turning in a story that included the words "child pornography" in it.

According to two people with knowledge, Mark S. Zaid, a Washington attorney who often handles national security matters and represents government whistleblowers, called Shachtman on Meek's behalf while Siegel was preparing her story. Zaid previously represented the Daily Beast on Freedom of Information Act cases while Shachtman was editor of the site.

Mark Zaid again -- whenever there's some leftwing conspiracy-theory type of cause, Mark Zaid gets involved on the side of the leftwing conspiracy theorists.

He's also a 52 year old man with a big, big interest in Disney princesses.

Zaid confirms that he called Shachtman, and he tells NPR that Meek was a longtime friend and client on Freedom of Information issues. Zaid says he was representing Meek on any possible prosecution or investigation of his potential possession of classified material.

The accounts given by the associates, colleagues and friends of the two key figures -- Siegel and Shachtman -- diverge here. According to what Siegel told others, Shachtman and she agreed that the article would reflect that the FBI's interest stemmed from concerns of possible criminal behavior outside the scope of Meek's work -- that is, it had nothing to do with national security or journalism.


In the hours leading up to publication, Shachtman changed Siegel's draft to remove all suggestions that the investigation was not related to Meek's reporting. He left in the finding that federal agents had allegedly found "classified information" on Meek's devices.

The article left many readers with the distinct impression that the investigation was linked to Meek's reporting -- which could lead to a clash of the government and the press. Rolling Stone's official Twitter account promoted the story this way: "Exclusive: Emmy-winning ABC News producer James Gordon Meek had his home raided by the FBI. His colleagues say they haven't seen him since." The tweet's thrust was echoed by WikiLeaks, Glenn Beck and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which wrote, "If this was related to his work, as this @RollingStone report suggests it might be, it is a gross press freedom violation."

On Feb. 1, the Justice Department unveiled criminal charges against Meek related to images of child sex abuse. Among other accusations, authorities say Meek shared a video showing the rape of an infant. Meek has pleaded not guilty and currently sits in federal custody.

Colleagues and friends say Siegel said she didn't know of the changes to her story until after it appeared online. Associates characterize Siegel as infuriated by what she considered Shachtman's interference in the independence of her reporting.

Siegel suggests that Schactman -- who has long been a scumbag on the left blogosphere -- if his "friendly" relations with Meek affected his reporting. Nothing against the Guild.

I remember covering this story, what, two years ago? And I remember being very spun up by Rolling Stone's suggestion that Biden had raided the guy because he had a Big Scoop about the national security state.

Turns out, no, it was just Rolling Stone and Noah Schactman lying as usual for their own agenda and interests.

More about the case and Rolling Stone's history of agenda-advancing lies at Instapundit.

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posted by Ace at 07:42 PM

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