Illegal Search and Seizure Of Reporter’s Files By Armed Agents

Published on October 27, 2013

By Guy Taylor , The Washington Times

Maryland state police and  federal agents used a search warrant in an  unrelated criminal investigation to  seize the private reporting files of  an award-winning former investigative  journalist for The Washington  Times who had exposed problems in the Homeland  Security Department’s  Federal Air Marshal Service.

Reporter Audrey Hudson said the  investigators, who included an agent  for Homeland’s  Coast Guard service, took her private notes and  government documents that  she had obtained under the Freedom of  Information Act during a predawn raid of  her family home on Aug. 6.

The documents, some which chronicled her sources and her work at the  Times  about problems inside the Homeland  Security Department, were  seized under a warrant to search for unregistered  firearms and a “potato  gun” suspected of belonging to her husband, Paul  Flanagan, a Coast  Guard employee. Mr.  Flanagan has not been charged with any wrongdoing  since the raid.

The warrant, obtained by the Times, offered no specific permission to seize  reporting notes or files.

The Washington Times said Friday it is preparing legal action to  fight what  it called an unwarranted intrusion on the First Amendment.

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