At 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, police held former Washington Times journalist Audrey Hudson and her husband at gunpoint while agents from the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Maryland State Police searched their house for weapons and ammunition. But the agents were really after her notes and files from a series of stories she wrote criticizing the Federal Air Marshal Service in the mid-2000s, Hudson claims.
Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan, is forbidden from possessing firearms because he resisted arrest in 1986. Special Agent Miguel Bosch of the Coast Guard Investigative Service began looking into Flanagan months ago, according to The Daily Caller. But Hudson insists her husband’s firearms’ history was just a ruse. During the seizure, agents also confiscated documents that listed the names of confidential informants who gave her evidence Homeland Security officials lied to Congress about the number of flights they were protecting from future terrorist attacks.
“The first thing the Homeland Security officer asked me was, ‘Are you the same Audrey Hudson who wrote all the federal air marshal stories for The Washington Times?’” Hudson said in an interview with Fox News. Hudson said Bosch then identified himself to her as a former air marshal official.
A month after the raid, officials returned five files from Hudson’s office containing her notes from the air marshal stories. When she asked why they had taken only those particular files, Bosch responded that they needed to run them by the Transportation Security Administration to make sure it was “legitimate” for her to have them, The Daily Caller reported.
Coast Guard spokesperson Carlos Diaz said the records seized were labeled "For Official Use Only" and "Law Enforcement Sensitive" — which do not mean they were classified — and appeared out of place. He said the investigator properly documented the seized records. The documents were returned after concluding Hudson obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act.
“They took my notes without my knowledge and without legal authority to do so,” Hudson told The Daily Caller. “The search warrant they presented said nothing about walking out of here with a single sheet of paper.”
The seizure comes amid ongoing criticism of the Obama administration's targeting of journalists in efforts to uncover leaks in the administration. A month earlier, Attorney General Eric Holder revised the government's rules for seizing reporters' records after the Associated Press revealed records from 20 phone lines monitored by the Justice Department. The Washington Times is pursuing legal action.
Hudson said she is coming forward because she wants to let her anonymous sources know their anonymity was compromised: “I’m scared to contact them. I’m terrified to contact them … I’ve got to let these guys know somehow.”