Times sues Home­land Se­cu­rity over reporter’s notes

Ac­cuses feds of il­le­gal search, seizure

The Washington Times Daily - - Front Page - BY KEL­LAN HOW­ELL

by the search war­rant that au­tho­rized the col­lec­tion solely of ev­i­dence about guns and a po­tato launcher al­legedly pos­sessed by her hus­band, Paul Flana­gan.

The seized ma­te­ri­als in­cluded doc­u­ments the news­pa­per had ob­tained un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act as

well as notes and memos that iden­ti­fied con­fi­den­tial sources from a se­ries of in­ves­tiga­tive sto­ries that ex­posed prob­lems in­side the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment’s Fed­eral Air Mar­shal Ser­vice.

The seizure vi­o­lated Ms. Hud­son’s and the news­pa­per’s con­sti­tu­tional rights, the court fil­ing ar­gued.

The fil­ing asks a fed­eral judge to or­der the re­turn of “prop­erty that has been un­law­fully seized … in vi­o­la­tion of the Fourth and First Amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States.”

The news­pa­per also asked for per­mis­sion to take tes­ti­mony from an agent for Home­land Se­cu­rity’s Coast Guard In­ves­tiga­tive Ser­vice who at­tended the raid and was in­volved in col­lect­ing the reporter’s ma­te­ri­als to de­ter­mine how widely in­for­ma­tion from the news­pa­per’s doc­u­ments was dis­trib­uted within the gov­ern­ment.

The news­pa­per has “sub­stan­tial rea­son to be­lieve that the in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the five file fold­ers seized from Hud­son’s home of­fice has been dis­sem­i­nated to or within” mul­ti­ple fed­eral agen­cies, the court fil­ing said.

Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials de­clined Thurs­day night to com­ment about the le­gal case.

The news­pa­per’s mo­tion told the court that the gov­ern­ment had am­ple rea­son to know it was tak­ing First Amend­ment pro­tected ma­te­ri­als not cov­ered by the search war­rant, not­ing that one of the fed­eral agents on the raid specif­i­cally asked Ms. Hud­son whether she was the reporter who wrote the sto­ries about the Air Mar­shal Ser­vice.

The court fil­ing also stressed how sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion in Ms. Hud­son’s seized files were, not­ing that they con­tained in­for­ma­tion di­rectly from con­fi­den­tial sources and in­cluded “a mem­o­ran­dum from Hud­son to an ed­i­tor at The Wash­ing­ton Times out­lin­ing Hud­son’s con­cern that some of her con­fi­den­tial sources were be­ing re­tal­i­ated against” by Home­land Se­cu­rity.

“There was no ba­sis for the law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to open and in­spect the file fold­ers dur­ing the search, much less to seize the con­tents,” the news­pa­per ar­gued.

Ms. Hud­son’s home was raided by Mary­land State Po­lice at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6. The investigators, in­clud­ing Miguel Bosch, a fed­eral agent with the Home­land Se­cu­rity’s Coast Guard In­ves­tiga­tive Ser­vice, had a war­rant to search for un­reg­is­tered firearms and a po­tato launcher be­long­ing to Ms. Hud­son’s hus­band. To date, Mr. Flana­gan has not been charged with any wrong­do­ing in the case.

The war­rant did not give investigators per­mis­sion to seize per­sonal records and doc­u­ments un­re­lated to the firearms in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the news­pa­per’s court fil­ing ar­gued.

An ev­i­dence log from Mary­land State Po­lice shows that on Sept. 3, the doc­u­ments were re­moved from the ev­i­dence hold­ing room by a fed­eral agent and re­turned an hour later, but the log gives no record of what was done with the doc­u­ments and why they were re­moved.

The le­gal fil­ing re­counts how Ms. Hud­son told The Times that Mr. Bosch, who had worked for the Fed­eral Air Mar­shal Ser­vice, specif­i­cally asked her whether she was the same “Au­drey Hud­son” who wrote “The Air Mar­shal sto­ries” for The Wash­ing­ton Times.

In March 2005, Ms. Hud­son au­thored a se­ries of ar­ti­cles for The Times that were crit­i­cal of the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment, the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Fed­eral Air Mar­shal Ser­vice. Her re­port de­tailed how air mar­shals were pro­tect­ing less than 10 per­cent of flights dur­ing the month of De­cem­ber 2004.

The in­for­ma­tion pub­lished by The Times led to a con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Fed­eral Air Mar­shal Ser­vice. From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Hud­son wrote sev­eral more in­ves­tiga­tive re­ports on op­er­a­tional de­fi­cien­cies within the Fed­eral Air Mar­shal Ser­vice, the TSA and the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity

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