Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another skirmish in the war on whistle-blowers

This one is actually pretty frightening.

Exclusive: Feds confiscate investigative reporter’s confidential files during raid

After the search began, Hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

Hudson said that investigator, Miguel Bosch, identified himself as a former air marshal official.

But it wasn’t until a month later, on Sept. 10, that Hudson was informed by Bosch that five files including her handwritten and typed notes from interviews with numerous confidential sources and other documents had been taken during 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 wrote in a summary about the raid provided to TheDC.
Assuming that Hudson is telling the truth, then this is an outrageous abuse of power by someone. The search warrant covered firearms not documents. Further,

While at the Times, Hudson reported extensively on the air marshal program — specifically about whether Homeland Security officials had lied to Congress and reported protecting more flights than they really were. Using her sources inside the government, Hudson has also reported for years about possible terrorist “dry-runs” on airplanes.

Unlike some other reporters whose sources have been targeted in recent years by the government, Hudson said none of the information she had was classified or given to her by someone who broke the law.

“None of the documents were classified,” she said. “There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files.”
R.S. McCain who worked with Hudson at the Washington Times weighs in here:

Police State: Feds Raid Investigative Reporter @AudreyHudson, Seize Notes
RDBrewer makes a good point:

Feds Use Search for Weapons as Pretext for Confiscation of Reporter's Confidential Files

I know, abuse of authority. Dog bites man. But at some point we have to reconsider the scope of the benefit of the doubt we grant to bureaucrats like these, that they're always acting lawfully. A while back Ace discussed public choice theory which is the the idea that political actors are self-concerned and act to maximize their own position.

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