Conservative investigative journalist Audrey Hudson says that her reporting notes were taken during a search of her home by the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland police. Hudson's husband, Paul Flanagan, is legally prohibited from owning a gun, and cops searched their home in Shady Side, Maryland for firearms in the early morning of August 6, the Daily Caller's Alex Pappas reports. Hudson is now afraid her sources have been compromised, and suggests she's being punished for her reporting. The Coast Guard says it's because she had original government documents.
"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 Daily Caller says Hudson produced a photo showing "the stack of file folders in a bag marked 'evidence/property.'" The site also obtained a copy of the search warrant:
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.
So why does Hudson think she was the real target of the raid? Hudson once worked for the conservative Washington Times, and Newsmax, and the Colorado Observer. She told the Daily Caller that an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Miguel Bosch, asked her of she was the reporter who'd written articles for the Washington Times critical of arm marshals. Then, on September 10, Bosch told her that five files with interview notes were taken during the raid. Those files had the names of government sources, and "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 says. She says Bosch said the files had to be run by the TSA to make sure it was "legitimate" for her to have them. Bosch would not give the Daily Caller a comment.
Why would the Coast Guard Investigative Service be involved with a raid to make sure Flanagan wasn't violating gun laws? The Coast Guard said it was because Flanagan is an ordnance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore. Why take someone's files during a gun raid? The Coast Guard says it's because some were original government documents, which Hudson says she got 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," a Coast Guard spokesperson said. Hudson says that doesn't explain why her handwritten notes were taken.
Update: The Coast Guard sent this statement:
"In the course of a joint Federal & Maryland State Police investigation, a lawful search warrant was served on August 6, 2013 in Shadyside, MD. The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) was asked to participate since the search involved a Coast Guard employee. 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. The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act. The CG employee was notified that the documents were cleared and the CG employee picked them up after signing for the documents."
Correction: This post originally erroneously said the air marshals are under the Coast Guard.
(Photo via Audrey Hudson's Facebook page.)