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FBI raids Area 51 journalist; seizes computers, files, holds girlfriend at gunpoint: Report

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)
November 14, 2022

The FBI reportedly raided the Las Vegas and Rachel, Nevada homes of prominent Area 51 researcher Joerg Arnu earlier this month, seized his computers and files and held his girlfriend at gunpoint. This reported raid comes after President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice implemented new measures meant to limit federal law enforcement records seizures against journalists.

In a Nov. 7 post on his website, Arnu said, “Last Thursday very early in the morning my homes in Rachel and in Vegas were searched by a combined team of FBI and AF OSI.”

AF OSI appears to reference the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations.

“I will spare you the details but it got quite tense and humiliating for me in Rachel and for my girlfriend in Vegas,” Arnu wrote. “All my laptops, phones, memory sticks, cameras, drone and other items were seized. When it was all over I was left in Rachel with two broken doors, broken furniture inside the house and zero means to communicate. Our Vegas home fared a little better, with only a broken front door and torn down blinds. Each location saw at least 15-20 agents rummaging through our homes and about 8 vehicles.”

“Needless to say it was a spectacle for curious neighbors, both in Rachel and in Vegas. In the process I lost ALL my data, medical files, financial and tax records, passwords, everything,” Arnu added. “On top of that I am stuck with thousands in cost for repairs and replacement of the most essential electronics and expected legal fees. I will speak with an attorney tomorrow about how to proceed. To the best of my knowledge I have not broken the law. The search warrants are not very specific but aerial photos of Area 51 and other installations came up repeatedly. So I have taken those down for now to defuse the situation.”

Arnu said he was telling his side of the story “to avoid any more speculation” and “I am concerned that overzealous government agents may use bogus charges against me to ‘send a message.'” He said, “Putting the truth out there can not hurt.”

Arnu has several documentary film and television credits, including for the UFO documentary “The Road To Rachel,” an episode of the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” television show and an episode of “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.” In addition to his film credits, Arnu’s DreamLand Resort website regularly publishes information and observations about the activities going on around Area 51 and other parts of Nevada.

The FBI’s Las Vegas field office did not immediately respond to an American Military News request for comment.

This alleged federal law enforcement raid on Arnu’s homes came within days of Attorney General Merrick Garland implementing new guidance prohibiting the U.S. Department of Justice from using subpoenas, search warrants and other court orders to seize communications and notes related to a journalist’s work, in most cases.

The new DOJ policy does include some exceptions that allow DOJ employees to seize such records if it is “necessary to prevent an imminent or concrete risk of death or serious bodily harm, including terrorist acts, kidnappings, specified offenses against a minor or incapacitation or destruction of critical infrastructure.” The policy also allows DOJ employees to carry out compulsory records seizures for records for conduct it deems to be “outside the scope of newsgathering.”

Garland’s new policy also states that if a person’s status as a member of the news media is in question, it will be up to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division to make a judgement call. It is unclear if the Biden DOJ considers UFO researchers like Arnu to be legitimate members of the news media.

The new DOJ policy codifies guidance Garland put in place in July of 2021 to prohibit the DOJ targeting journalists work communications and notes. Meer months after implementing that guidance, FBI agents raided the home of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe. Project Veritas is a news organization that’s famous for using hidden-camera sting operations.