CRIME

FBI Arrests Man Over Alleged Threats To Kill Journalists

Robert Chain, 68, allegedly called The Boston Globe more than a dozen times, referring to its employees as the "enemy of the people."

A California man has been arrested after making more than a dozen calls to The Boston Globe newspaper threatening to kill its employees.

The FBI arrested Robert D. Chain, 68, on Thursday in connection with calls he allegedly made earlier this month after the Globe announced it was encouraging other newspapers around the country to address political attacks on the media.

Transcripts of the threats, submitted in charging documents, contain explicit language that appears uncensored below.

“Hey, how’s your pussy smell today, nice and fresh?” Chain allegedly said in one of the 14 calls he placed over the course of August. “We are going to shoot you motherfuckers in the head, you Boston Globe cocksuckers. Shoot every fucking one of you.”

In another, Chain allegedly admitted that the calls threatening to kill the newspaper’s employees were in response to what he perceived as negative coverage of President Donald Trump.

“Because you are the enemy of the people and I want you to go fuck yourself,” he said in an Aug. 22 phone call to a Globe journalist, according to charging documents. “As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threats [sic], harass, and annoy the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, the other fake news.”

Trump has repeatedly called journalists the “enemy of the people” and “fake news.”

In June, a gunman killed five people at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland in a “targeted” attack on journalists, city officials said at the time. Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Robert Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara were killed in the shooting. And earlier this month, a C-SPAN caller threatened to shoot CNN anchors Brian Stelter and Don Lemon.

“They started the war,” the caller said. “If I see ’em, I’m going to shoot ’em.”

Instead of addressing the continued threats on journalists’ lives, Trump has instead bragged about “providing a great service” in calling media the “enemy of the people.” 

Another call transcript has Chain encouraging a journalist to “call Mueller,” the special counsel looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. “You going to trace my call?” he then allegedly asked. “What are you going to do motherfucker? You ain’t going to do shit. I’m going to shoot you in the head later today, at 4 o’clock. Goodbye.”

Records obtained by the FBI show Chain owned several firearms, including a newly purchased 9 mm carbine rifle.

In a statement, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said threats like those made by Chain would not be tolerated.

“Anyone ― regardless of political affiliation ― who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,” Lelling said. “In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”

Chain has been charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce.

Trump has been predictably silent on the arrest. The day of Chain’s arrest, however, Trump once again called the media enemies, saying they have only “hatred.”

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