Investigative journalist Audrey Hudson complained this week about a pre-dawn raid that federal and state agents conducted at her house. She claims that the authorities not only violated the terms of their search warrant, but that the whole incident was a deliberate intimidation tactic.
On Aug. 9, fully-armored agents from the Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, and Maryland State Police came to Hudson's house with a search warrant for unregistered weapons and a “potato gun.” Several of Hudson's legal, registered firearms were seized.
A month later when she was allowed to retrieve her belongings, Hudson discovered that the agents had also seized five files, which contained personal notes from confidential interviews she had conducted with whistle-blowers. “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 [they] were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,” Hudson explained to the Daily Caller, which broke the story. A Fox report states that at some point in the ordeal, “the Coast Guard accessed her personal Facebook page.”
Federal authorities claimed they took the files because some documents were labeled "For Official Use Only" and "Law Enforcement Sensitive." They later determined that Hudson had legally attained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“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,” Hudson said. She told Fox News that “the search warrant did not allow them to walk out with those documents. They clearly violated the search warrant.”
Explaining her belief as to why the incident occurred, Hudson said, “It's clearly intimidation.” She added, “I want to make sure this doesn't happen to another reporter, because we can't just have the government coming into your house on a minor warrant and walk out with whatever files they please.”