A well-armed California man angry at The Boston Globe’s editorial response to President Donald Trump’s attacks on press freedom was arrested Thursday for threatening to kill the newspaper’s journalists.
Calling it the “enemy of the people,” Robert Chain telephoned the Globe at least 14 times in August and threatened to travel to the newspaper’s office and shoot its workers, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, which is prosecuting the case.
Chain was arrested without incident in an dawn raid on his Encino home by an FBI SWAT team, the Boston Globe reports. Chain, 68, faces one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce, and a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to prosecutors.
The FBI seized 20 firearms from Chain, including a semi-automatic 9mm carbine he purchased in May, according the Associated Press and the criminal complaint against him, obtained by Oxygen.com.
Chain appeared in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon. Federal prosecutors said that Chain was a danger to the community and should be kept in jail, but Federal Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams set Chain's bond at $50,000.
Chain’s alleged campaign of telephonic terrorism started on Aug. 10, immediately after the Globe appealed to newspapers across the country to condemn what it called a “dirty war against the free press,” according to the criminal complaint. Then, on Aug. 13, he called the Globe and said "We are gonns shoot you motherf---ers in the head, you Boston Globe cocksuckers. Shoot every f---ing one of you."
Meanwhile, hundreds of newspapers across the country answered the Globe's call, and on April 16 delivered full-throated criticism covering all aspects of his presidency and, even, personal character -- the Globe called him out as a liar and charlatan, for example.
The day these editorials were published, Chain called the Globe and furiously told a staffer “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f---ing one of you ... I’m going to shoot you in the f---ing head later today, at 4 o’clock. Goodbye.”
As a result of Chain’s threats, the court filings disclose, ”Boston Globe employees reported feeling threatened and scared.The Boston Globe reported the calls to law enforcement and contracted with a private security firm to protect its employees.”
Afterward, Chain allegedly continued to make threatening telephone calls to the Globe because, he said, “you are the enemy of the people.
“As long as you keep attacking the President,” Chain continued, "the duly elected President of the United States, in the continuation of your treasonous and seditious acts, I will continue to threats, harass, and annoy the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, the other fake news,” according to the criminal complaint.
The “enemy of the people” phrase Chain parroted is a phrase repeatedly directed by President Trump in his serial attacks on the news media, especially when he is under pressure, according to the New York Times. As the FBI was arresting Chain Thursday morning, for example, Trump again tweeted the phrase in his ongoing attack on the news media.
The FBI traced a number Chain called from back to his wife, who lives with him at the house where he was arrested Thursday.
One of Chain’s neighbors, Tim McGowan, told the Associated Press that Chain was loud, bombastic and could frequently be heard yelling at his television set. While McGown’s sense of the man was that he would not follow through on threats of violence, “I could see him making the threats because he’s such a loudmouth.”
McGowan added that he and his wife were awakened this morning by three loud explosions. When his wife called police to report the unusual activity, they told her they were the source of the noise. When he looked out his window, he saw about 30 heavily armed officers, a tank-like vehicle and Chain -- wearing only boxer shorts and handcuffs.