An investigative reporter in the Washington, D.C., area says armed federal agents stormed her home in August and confiscated stacks of confidential documents, leading her to fear that her undercover government sources have been exposed.
Audrey Hudson, a freelance reporter for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer, said the Department of Homeland Security and the Maryland State Police raided her home in Shady Side, Md., in August, the Daily Caller reported.
A copy of the search warrant shows law enforcement officials were cleared to search her home for firearms, according to the Daily Caller. Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 of resisting arrest and is forbidden by law from owning or possessing a firearm, explaining why the raid allowed authorities to search their shared property for firearms.
But Hudson told the Daily Caller that agents also confiscated documents containing information on sources within the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. She said no subpoena was presented for the documents and said the confiscation was outside the bounds of the warrant.
She said about seven officers dressed in full body armor arrived at her home at 4:30 a.m. Aug. 6 and presented her with a search warrant. Hudson said an investigator with the Coast Guard’s Investigative Service identified her as the reporter responsible for writing a series of articles critical of air marshals for The Washington Times newspaper.
The investigator who identified Hudson as the former Washington Times journalist is reportedly a former air marshal.
Hudson’s husband is currently employed as an ordinance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore, which is why they were involved in the raid, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security.
“They took my notes without my knowledge and without legal authority to do so,” Hudson told the Daily Caller this week. “The search warrant they presented said nothing about walking out of here with a single sheet of paper.”
Hudson said she didn’t realize until Sept. 10 that her notes containing information on government sources had gone missing in the raid.
“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 there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,” Hudson told the site.
When she asked investigators why they had confiscated her files, she was reportedly told that officials needed to check with the TSA to make sure that it was “legitimate” for the notes to be in her possession.
“‘Legitimate’ for me to have my own notes?” she told the Daily Caller.
She said “a lot” of her sources have now been exposed: “More than one. There were a lot of names in those files.”
“This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,” Hudson said. “And these guys still work there.”
A spokesman for the Maryland State Police told the TheBlaze that the situation is still under review.
“Evidence and information developed during this investigation is currently under review by both the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office and the United State’s Attorney’s Office,” the spokesman said. “A determination will be made by officials in these offices regarding the state and or federal charges that may be placed as a result of this investigation.”
“Due to the ongoing criminal investigation and the potential for pending criminal charges at the state and/or federal level, the Maryland State Police will not discuss specific information about this investigation at this time,” he added.
The Coast Guard offered the Daily Caller an explanation for its actions.
“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,” Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Díaz said. “The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act.”
Hudson said she was able to retrieve her notes, but only after her sources had been uncovered.
“None of the documents were classified,” she said. “There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files.”
Hudson has reported from the nation’s capital for about 15 years and was nominated twice by The Washington Times for the Pulitzer Prize.