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Government The Media

Feds Confiscate Investigative Reporter's Confidential Files During Raid 622

schwit1 writes "Using a warrant to search for guns, Homeland security officers and Maryland police confiscated a journalist's confidential files. The reporter had written a series of articles critical of the TSA. It appears that the raid was specifically designed to get her files, which contain identifying information about her sources in the TSA. 'In particular, the files included notes that were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,' Hudson [the reporter] wrote in a summary about the raid provided to The Daily Caller. Recalling the experience during an interview this week, Hudson said: 'When they called and told me about it, I just about had a heart attack.' She said she asked Bosch [the investigator heading the raid] why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was 'legitimate' for her to have them. '"Legitimate" for me to have my own notes?' she said incredulously on Wednesday. Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: 'A lot. More than one. There were a lot of names in those files. This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,' Hudson said. 'And these guys still work there.'"
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Feds Confiscate Investigative Reporter's Confidential Files During Raid

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  • by imnes ( 605429 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @05:27PM (#45239925)
    Oops wrong link should have been: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org]
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @05:54PM (#45240283) Journal

    Also, the government is not subject to any law it finds inconvenient, limiting, or uncomfortable. Or any damn law it feels like ignoring.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 25, 2013 @05:59PM (#45240377)

    If you read the article, ya ya, I know, there were pictures on their facebook account with guns that belonged to her and not her husband, that is barred for life from owning a gun.

    But this also means that anytime the government wants to raid their home, all the government has to do is claim that there is guns in their home and they have free reign.

  • by herrnova ( 2534538 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @06:00PM (#45240387)
    Considering the warrant, at least according to the article, was for the search of guns inside her home, the only items they were allowed to seize were guns. Her files are not guns, so they are violating the terms of the search order. Not that that will do her no longer confidential sources any good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 25, 2013 @06:03PM (#45240421)

    But if you think the US is a police state, then you don't know what a police state is.

    I define "Police State": any situation where government officials can deprive you of your freedom before a court hearing and decision by a judge/jury.

  • This cannot be true (Score:5, Informative)

    by real gumby ( 11516 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @06:13PM (#45240541)

    I cannot believe that the Feds would do anything to hurt a whistleblower. After all, this text still appears (despite scurrilous reports to the contrary [huffingtonpost.com]) on the Obama/Biden campaign website: [change.gov]

    • Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

    The politician said it, I believe it, that settles it.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @06:30PM (#45240737)

    Bush didn't invent the Free Speech Zone. It was actually the democrats who first did that, at their 1988 convention. Bush is associated with the zones because he used them at far more events than any previous president, and under him the Secret Service took a much more active role in establishing the zones and in making sure the protesters were kept in their designated place. During his time the Secret Service also adopted a less politically neutral role in managing the protests - rather than directing all activists into free speech zones they would work to place pro-Bush campaigners in the most visible areas of crowds ahead of time, preemptively denying the prime territory to anti-Bush campaigners and making them easier to separate and shunt off to the FSZ safely out of view of any cameras.

    But he didn't invent them. No need to falsely attribute that part to him: The things he actually did do are quite damning enough.

  • Some Salient Points (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Friday October 25, 2013 @06:34PM (#45240771) Homepage

    Here are a few key points from the original story in The Daily Caller [dailycaller.com]:

    Warrant Basis:

    The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George's County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

    Militarization of Police Angle:

    At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

    Document Seizure Justification:

    Diaz explained that the files were taken because they found official government papers, which Hudson had obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    "During the course of the search, the CGIS agent discovered government documents labeled FOUO - For Official Use Only (FOUO) - and LES - Law Enforcement Sensitive. The files that contained these documents were cataloged on the search warrant inventory and taken from the premises," Diaz said.

    "The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act," he said.

    Document Seizure Counterpoint:

    But Hudson doesn't buy the explanation: "That explains the one file they took but does not explain why they took four other files with my handwritten and typed interview notes with confidential sources, that I staked my reputation as a journalist to protect under the auspices of the First Amendment of the Constitution," she said.

    They Did Have Guns:

    During the raid, the officers also went after Hudson's three pistols and three long guns, which she obtained legally.

    "I'm a Kentucky girl," she said. "I come kitchen trained, and firearm ready. I grew up with guns and I've always been around guns."

    She Is A "Real" Reporter:

    Hudson has been a reporter in Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years and was nominated twice by The Washington Times for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a freelancer for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer.

    Her Investigative Reporting:

    While at the Times, Hudson reported extensively on the air marshal program - specifically about whether Homeland Security officials had lied to Congress and reported protecting more flights than they really were. Using her sources inside the government, Hudson has also reported for years about possible terrorist "dry-runs" on airplanes.

    Unlike some other reporters whose sources have been targeted in recent years by the government, Hudson said none of the information she had was classified or given to her by someone who broke the law.

    "None of the documents were classified," she said. "There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 25, 2013 @07:14PM (#45241141)

    Doesn't seem that way.

    I mean, seriously? What kind of journalist, investigating malfeasance by federal agencies, would have the names of her sources in plain text? Sounds like someone on the local newspaper who would ordinarily be writing the horoscopes and gardening news.

    Obviously one who thinks they live in a "free" country......The dropped to 47th in the world as far as freedom of the press,


    Makes you wonder how much further they will drop by the next rankings? And you also have to wonder how many other reports have had this happen on false warrants, I smell a large lawsuit.......

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant