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A man from Michigan has been arrested after threatening to go on a killing spree at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.
According to federal court documents obtained by WGCL-TV, Brandon Griesemer, a 19-year-old from a suburb of Detroit, made 22 nuisance phone calls to CNN Center last week. The calls began with Griesemer berating the network as “fake news” and escalated to threats of mass murder.
WGCL-TV reports that Griesemer told a CNN operator he was “coming to gun you all down.”
Griesemer also reportedly said in another call, “I’m smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours.”
He continued, “I am coming to Georgia right now to go to the CNN headquarters to f—ing gun every single last one of you.”
After the FBI was alerted, investigators were able to trace the caller and stop him from traveling to Atlanta to carry out his violent threats, WGCL-TV reports.
Late on Monday night, CNN released a statement addressing the reports. “We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces around the world extremely seriously. This one is no exception. We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people.”
Since he took office, President Donald Trump and his supporters have attacked the press, and CNN in particular, for what the administration deems “fake news.” On numerous occasions over the last year, Trump has retweeted memes and gifs of himself attacking CNN physically in some way, including short clips of him “body slamming” the network.
On Tuesday, CNN chief Jeff Zucker wrote a memo to staff addressing the threat. His full memo is below:
As you may have seen in press reports overnight, there was a significant security threat that was aimed at our employees at the CNN Center in Atlanta earlier this month.
I want to make sure you all know that we were in close contact with local and federal law enforcement from the moment the threats were made, throughout the entire investigation, and up until the suspect was arrested last week. We continue to remain in contact with them about this matter.
I know the details of this will seem frightening to some of you, and I understand. I can tell you that, at no time, as these phone calls came in did the federal law enforcement officials feel that there was an immediate threat of danger to any of our employees. With that said, we still stepped up our security procedures in Atlanta and elsewhere, as a precautionary measure.
Sadly, this is part of the reality we live in, as members of the media. I want to assure you that at every level of this company, nothing is more important than your safety. While you know we don’t talk publicly about security measures, let me assure you that we have addressed this situation.
I have a regularly scheduled broadcast town hall on Thursday at 1pm ET. I’ve asked Jeff Gilbert, who heads up Turner Security, to join me to update all of us, with as much detail as he reasonably can, on security at CNN. Please join me then, and send me your questions in advance or during the town hall.
Jan 23, 8:20 am PST Updated with memo from Jeff Zucker.
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