Federal Agents Raid Reporter’s Home In Search of Illegal Weapons and Allegedly Question Her About Prior Negative Stories And Seize Documents and Notes

1e18267250px-swat_teamThere is a troubling story outside of Washington where journalist Audrey Hudson’s home was searched by federal agents who took documents related to stories and reportedly asked her about stories that she had written that were critical of the Federal Air Marshal program.  The agents had a warrant to search for unregistered firearms and a “potato gun.”  That apparently required a pre-dawn raid by armed agents of the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security.  Presumably, the family was believed to have a whole bushel of potatoes that were considered an arsenal.

Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant stated that police were to search the residence and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

Hudson was called by her husband who was in the driveway in their Chesapeake home to say that they were surrounded by the officers in full body armor (which appears to also protect against potato weapons). Hudson insists that they were held by the officers as they searched for the weapons. They apparently could not find nary a potato chip.

What they did find were government documents and notes from the Hudson’s files. A Washington Times reporter, Hudson alleges that one of the agents asked if she was the same person who had written a series of stories critical of the Federal Air Marshal program in the mid-2000s. When she said that she was, she says that the officer said that “Those stories were embarrassing to the agency.” According to one report, Hudson said that investigator, Miguel Bosch, identified himself as a former air marshal official.

Even more troubling is her claim that she was not informed of the seizure of the documents. She was only told that “miscellaneous documents” were taken. When she was called by Homeland Security to pick up the documents weeks later, she realized that they had taken the government records. Such documents were not listed in the warrant and all dealt with the Federal Air Marshal stories. The newspaper is preparing a legal action.

The government insists that its agents considered the documents to be “law enforcement sensitive.” The Coast Guard also took her personal, handwritten notes and accessed her personal Facebook page.

Neither Hudson nor her husband were charged or arrested. Given the Administration’s prior surveillance of journalists and their families, it was another troubling case that warrants review. The government is citing fellow employees at the Coast Guard as implicating Flanagan from alleged statements he made referring to himself as a gun collector. Even so, it would be extremely inappropriate to use such a raid to question a reporter about negative stories and remark on the government’s displeasure with her coverage. That concern is magnified by the seizure of such documents from the home of the journalist without even asking for an explanation. The fact that the agent felt comfortable in allegedly raising the negative coverage would reflect a troubling sense of impunity by officers.

73 thoughts on “Federal Agents Raid Reporter’s Home In Search of Illegal Weapons and Allegedly Question Her About Prior Negative Stories And Seize Documents and Notes”

  1. The notes were a ruse, Flanagan wasn’t supposed to own or be in possession of firearms there is a lot more to this story, how did he obtain a job with the coast guard as an ordnance tech, working on gun systems if he wasn’t allowed to own a gun. Mr. Flanagan has a serious criminal record not just the resisting arrest charge. He is a conservative coo coo bird.

  2. This sounds a little too contrived and, given the reporter works for the Moonie Times, I wonder if there has been some dramatic license taken in describing the event to appeal to the editorial sensibilities of her employer. Can we really believe one of these agents actually said, ‘you made the agency look bad?’ That sounds like bad dialogue from an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.

  3. The libertarians I know simply take it for granted that the roads will be there for their use whenever they need them

  4. Juliet,
    Bron has argued that exact same thing on this forum.

    A true libertarian paradise actually exists, and I have suggest that those who advocate such a governmental model might want to move there. It’s called Somalia.

  5. My gut feeling about this raid is that the administration is “throwing an elbow” as a warning to the Fourth Estate. With more of Snowdon’s revelations coming to light, there would be a growing sense of urgency within the administration to discourage further critical investigative reporting on the surveillance program.

    Popularity surrounding the spy program is developing into a “chicken and egg” situation, where it becomes difficult to tell whether surveillance is unpopular with the public because of its association with Obama, or the President losing favor as a result of the revelations over the program; the President’s poll numbers are falling, partly as a result of the whistleblowing.

    If poll numbers continue to drop, support for the spy program could fall below the point where Congress would no longer sanction it.

    One thing is clear, this was a Russian-style act of intimidation against a journalist. We’re heading towards a one-world rule of “law”. How long before a journalist is executed on their doorstep?

  6. I actually had a libertarian try to argue that individuals should be required to maintain the roads where they live, act as their own police force and fight their own fires.

  7. lottakatz @ 1:32PM:
    Responding to your question regarding the ballistic masks in the link provided. Those are obviously scary looking, and I suspect the designers meant them to be. The color of either black or dark gray, and the android appearance has psychological implications. Remember all the slasher movies with the hockey masks. That appearance is no accident.

    As a sometime student of military tactics as well as military vulnerabilities, any defense can be defeated. Sun Tzu had many lessons in which he explained the best way to deal with such enemies. One of the things the US military, and the Soviets before them, was the fact they were not prepared to deal with asymmetrical warfare. Only an idiot would take on that group directly or head-on. However, there are other effective ways of dealing with that kind of power.

    So, while those guys are scary looking, they are not invincible. If one reads Sun Tzu carefully, those guys are far more vulnerable than they appear.

  8. SwM,

    Former employer … sorry, I misread that. But they are the ones with the power to do what she could not … go after the government.

    As to the private contractors … enibob just sent me a couple of links that you might find interesting. The first one deals with research on hacking car’s computer systems:

    “With a modest amount of expertise, computer hackers could gain remote access to someone’s car — just as they do to people’s personal computers — and take over the vehicle’s basic functions, including control of its engine, according to a report by computer scientists from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington.” ( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/business/10hack.html?_r=0)

    But the second one takes a look at possibilities surrounding private military contractors:

    ” … those same private, militarized forces may be bringing the war home as they deploy technology and battlefield-honed tactics to ensure that deeper truths remain unseen — and that nothing threatens the bottom line.” (http://www.occupy.com/article/exclusive-who-killed-michael-hastings)

  9. Juliet, libertarianism is not a monolith any more than are Dems or Rep. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think for you, when you think libertarian you think Rand Paul? Maybe not. And, I know you’ve been around, that’s one of the things I like about you. But, there are a lot of libertarians in San Diego that are NOTHING like libertarians in Kentucky. of course, legal cannabis is their #1 issue. Jefferson took us to feudalism? Damn, I thought he took us the other way?

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