Multiple Emmy award-winning journalist Christopher Sign, who broke the story about former President Bill Clinton’s secret June 27, 2016, meeting on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and who later wrote a book called SECRET ON THE TARMAC, was found dead Saturday.
Police and fire first responders found Sign inside a Hoover, Alabama, residence at 8:17AM after a 911 call was placed. Chris Sign was 45 years old, married to his college sweetheart, and was the father of three sons. A native of Dallas-Fort Worth, he’d been working since 2017 as evening news anchor for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham. According to a police spokesman, his death is being investigated as an apparent suicide.
The general manager at the station, Eric Land, called Sign a “revered colleague whose indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty, and journalistic integrity.”
Sign’s book about the tarmac meeting was released in late 2019. Here’s a story FOX NEWS ran about it in February of 2020.
Sign is quoted as saying his book “details everything that they don’t want you to know and everything they think you forgot, but Bill Clinton was on that plane for over 20 minutes and it wasn’t just about golf, grandkids and Brexit. There’s so much that doesn’t add up.”
Here’s more about the book on his publisher’s website.
Sign said he’d received death threats for telling this story. He was then working in Phoenix, for the ABC affiliate KNXT-TV. “Credit cards hacked,” he said. “You know, my children, we have code words. We have secret code words that they know what to do.” It was in 2017 that he and his family decided to move for their safety from Phoenix to the Birmingham area for him take the job he held until his death. One post about him said, “His family was the single most important thing in his life, which is why he ended up returning to ABC 33/40 four years ago.”
A week before he died, he posted a happy selfie in the park, with the caption, “Enjoying a beautiful morning.”
In his account of the infamous meeting, Sign cited a source who was already there at the airport and said Clinton was “waiting for” Lynch, in his car, with his motorcade. After Lynch’s plane pulled up and came to a stop, her airstairs came down, most of her staff exited the plane, and then he boarded. According to the source, the Secret Service and FBI agents who were there were looking around and trying to figure out what they were supposed to do. Because, of course, it wasn’t on the official itinerary.
Lynch, who supposedly headed the federal investigation into Hillary’s criminal use of unsecured email, testified before the House Oversight Committee in December 2018 that she and Bill talked about how things were going at the Justice Department and also about her job performance –- not “golf and grandkids.” She testified that he “flattered” her and that they also talked about Eric Holder.
Recall that this highly inappropriate meeting took place just days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced on July 5 that it would not be pursuing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email server for official business as secretary of state, nor for obstruction of justice and destroying evidence. “No reasonable prosecutor” would take that case, Comey said, though I think we could’ve come up with a long list of prosecutors who would have jumped at the chance. We later learned that in internal communications, they had changed terminology such as “criminally negligent” to the more benign-sounding “extremely careless.”
Both Lynch and Bill Clinton testified that the email investigation never came up in their conversation. According to the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Bill Clinton was asked by investigators about this meeting, and he said, “...I don’t know whether I’m more offended that they think I’m crooked or that they think I’m stupid.” Personally, I don’t know anyone who thinks Bill Clinton is stupid.
At least one report, that of Britain’s THE SUN, leaves open the possibility that Sign was still clinging to life when the police were contacted or when they first arrived on the scene. Their wording: “Local police chief Keith Czeskleba said the death is being investigation as a suicide after the reporter was found unresponsive in his home.” No details have been given about how Sign allegedly did this, either, or whether a note was found.
It’s interesting that a British publication would offer the most thorough and humanizing coverage of this story. We learn a lot about the life of this journalist --- a real journalist, part of that rare, endangered species --- from reading the posts and pictures they include.
THE SUN also covers what Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert said about this in a tweet: “Why is it that so many who cross the Clinton Crime Syndicate end up dead?” They mention, without elaborating, that Boebert has “been linked to QAnon conspiracies in the past.” Well, I guess that’s all it takes to dismiss her concerns about foul play! (I know Stephen Colbert has called her a “gun fetishist,” a title that, coming from him, should be worn as a badge of honor.)
THE SUN ran the video clip Boebert had included with her tweet, featuring Sign being interviewed on FOX & FRIENDS and expressing his concerns about “significant death threats,” bad enough to make him leave Phoenix and return to Birmingham, where his friends and colleagues rallied around him and made him feel safer.
It’s not always possible to know when someone is depressed enough to commit suicide. And perhaps he was that desperate. There might have been something very wrong that even his family and close friends didn’t know about. But looking at this man’s accomplishments in life, his obviously bright future, the respect he’d earned as a journalist, and the happy pictures of his beautiful wife and three boys so shortly before his death (with Father’s Day coming up this Sunday), it’s hard to fathom he would do such a thing.
Chris was obviously beloved by his friends and colleagues. The NEW YORK POST ran a story that quoted Jamie Hale, the network’s sports anchor: “I can’t believe we have an article with this title. It doesn’t feel real. Last night, we were in the office together cutting up the way we always do.”
In none of the accounts we’ve turned up so far has there been even one word about any problem in this man’s life, other than the threats that had been made on it. I’m not saying it didn’t happen that way. But will this tremendous loss quickly be chalked up to suicide when it deserves a thorough investigation? Ironically, it's Hillary's email case that shows us how easily an investigation can be blown off.