Gossip: In The Know

FBI investigated death threat against Tim Russert and his family

The FBI investigated a death threat made against the late Tim Russert, the longtime host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

According to Russert’s FBI file, obtained by ITK through a Freedom of Information Act request, there was a threatening voicemail left for Russert at the television show’s Washington office on March 7, 2001, around 9:20 p.m.

{mosads}“Yeah, Tim Russert, Mr. Clinton’s, uh, polls are down and yours is down. We haven’t forgotten I’ve called you a couple years ago and we still got you on the f—king platter. Believe you me, motherf—ker. That goes for your 15- or 16-year-old kid, too. You protect him, you motherf—ker. You’re no good, you’re absolutely no good, and nothing would treat me or do me any better than to put a bullet right between your f—king eyes, you p—k,” said the caller, according to an FBI transcript of the voice mail.

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department also reported that a similar telephone call was made to Russert roughly four months before the March 2001 voicemail. That caller’s voice sounded similar to the one on the voice mail. He said he “didn’t like the way someone had been treated, possibly ALBERT GORE, and advised he knew where RUSSERT lived and where his son attended school,” according to FBI documents.

D.C. police requested the FBI’s assistance in the investigation “due to technical limitations,” the documents show.

Eventually, the FBI’s San Francisco office was able to track down a likely suspect for the call.

Living in Castro Valley, Calif., the man, his name redacted, was a 75-year-old World War II veteran who was “extremely difficult” to live with, according to FBI interview notes taken during questioning of the man’s wife on June 6, 2001. He suffered from diabetes and arthritis and had suffered a heart attack and a stroke.

Justice Department lawyers declined to file charges against the suspected caller, but the FBI told him if he continued to make threats, he could be prosecuted.

The alleged caller refused to admit he left the voicemail, but promised not to make threatening phone calls. The case was closed.

Tim Russert’s son, Luke, did not respond to an email seeking comment. Luke now works for NBC News.

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