Officials Seize Journalist's Papers While Serving Search Warrant for Potato Launcher
Updated: Tuesday, October 29 2013, 10:04 PM EDT
A raid on a journalist's Maryland home is garnering national attention after homeland security officials seized documents which disclosed some of her confidential sources.
The raid happened in the early morning hours of August 6 at the Anne Arundel County home of former Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson. Hudson was assigned to cover the then-new Homeland Security Agency after the events of 9/11. She broke numerous stories, including a 2004 story on the lack of air marshals on flights.
In her home she has stacks of research notes, public records and sources, some of which were seized by law enforcement after a judge signed off on a search warrant for illegal firearms linked to her husband, Paul.
"I could see there were a number of men advancing toward the house in full body armor," Hudson recalled of that Tuesday morning. "I let them in the door. They presented us with a search warrant for a potato launcher."
Hudson says her husband had purchased a potato gun online a couple years back which he ended up throwing out. She says the agents spent several hours in her office - and asked her an unusual question.
"The homeland security official comes back into the kitchen and says, 'Are you the same Audrey Hudson who wrote all the federal air marshal stories for the Washington Times?' I said, 'Yes,'" Hudson recalled.
Hudson says her notes were held by the department of homeland security for five weeks.
"It wasn't just a couple of sheets of paper," Hudson said. "This is a significant chunk of research here."
Maryland State Police issued a statement in the case saying in part that the evidence is currently under review by local and federal state's attorney's offices who will determine whether charges will be filed. Hudson says her former employer, the Washington Times, is weighing legal action.
"[It's] gut wrenching. Absolutely gut wrenching. I'm still in shock," Hudson said. "He took notes that blew the whistle on this agency and turned it over to the very agency that we blew the whistle on."
Asked whether this will stop her reporting, Hudson emphatically said, "no."
The raid comes on the heels of the justice department targeting Fox News journalist James Rosen and subpoenaing phone records of 21 Associated Press phone lines.