A late night FBI raid in Dearborn involves a national security issue, but it's not about a planned terror attack or explosives or anyone locally, the Free Press has learned.
According to a source familiar with the operation , the Thursday raid at a house in Dearborn appears to have nothing to do with metro Detroit or the young adult male who lives in house that was raided. That person was not in the home at the time of the raid and no charges are imminent, the source said, noting it is not clear if that person has been detained by authorities.
According to multiple sources, the FBI in Detroit is working with the FBI in another state about a national security issue.
For ex-FBI chief Andy Arena, who was the former head of terrorism operations in Detroit, national security means one of two things:
"It tells me it's either a terrorism case, or B, an espionage spying case," Arena said, noting if it were an explosives case, the raid would have involved bomb-sniffing dogs and nearby neighbors would have been evacuated.
Neither of those things happened, which for Arena suggests they went looking for the following:
"They likely went in there looking for people or records or computers, cell phones, iphones, those types of things," Arena said. "What they're doing now is they are looking at what they took from there – the people, the evidence – and they're trying to decipher it. 'Where does it fit?' "
Arena said he understands why the FBI is being tight-lipped about the operation.
"Obviously, the public wants to know what's going on, but the last thing law enforcement wants to do is mess up an ongoing investigation," Arena said.
Mary Laundroche, director of public information for the city of Dearborn, issued this statement:
"The city is directing inquiries to the FBI, as it is their investigation. We have been told that there is no danger to our community."
The operation wrapped up just before midnight Thursday at the home on the 7200 block of Jonathon Street.
Detroit's FBI spokesperson Tim Wiley declined to comment on specifics of the operation, stating only:
"FBI personnel (were) on scene conducting a law enforcement operation. There is no threat to public safety."
On Friday, the home appeared no different from neighboring residences. There was a football in the driveway and flower pots near the front door, but nobody answered.
A neighbor who declined to give her name said she saw law enforcement officers Thursday evening surrounding the house and removing boxes. But she didn't see anyone taken into custody.
The woman first saw the officers there at about 5:30 p.m., and they didn't leave until about midnight. She said she used to live in an upper unit at the residence, and that the people who live there are a man with two children. Recently, the man's father had come to visit.
The woman declined to give more details on the neighbors but said it's a safe, quiet neighborhood.
More details about the raid were expected to be released sometime today, though the FBI has indicated new information may not be forthcoming until this weekend.
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