DHS raids Human Events alumnus, seizes list of whistleblowers
HUMAN EVENTS alumnus Audrey Hudson was the target of a Department of Homeland Security raid in August that was ostensibly related to firearms, but in a new interview with the Daily Caller, she revealed that DHS and the Maryland State Police also just happened to confiscate her files and notes… which included information about whistleblowers inside Homeland Security.
Hudson says the files were taken without her knowledge, and without a subpoena. The Daily Caller confirmed that the search warrant pertained to firearms and ammunition. Even that part of the story seems rather flimsy, but then we get to all those juicy files that got hoovered up during the raid:
At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the 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.
The Coast Guard was involved because Audrey’s husband works for them as an ordinance technician. What was the reason given for grabbing his wife’s files?
She said she asked Bosch why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was “legitimate” for her to have them.
“‘Legitimate’ for me to have my own notes?” she said incredulously on Wednesday.
Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: “A lot. 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.”
Hudson says none of the documents were classified, and no laws were broken in obtaining them. She said the government papers in her possession were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, an assertion the Coast Guard confirmed. And how did they confirm it? They handed the material over to the “source agency” for review – or, as Hudson put it, they turned the whisteblower information over to the agency that had the whistle blown against it.
It wasn’t just official documents that were sized, however. Hudson says they also “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.” One of her major reasons for coming forward with the story is to give the whistleblowers a heads-up, because she’s “terrified to contact them” directly.
Not surprisingly, nobody involved with the document seizure was eager to answer questions about it. Miguel Bosch said he was “probably going to have to run this by our legal department” when the Caller asked him to comment. The Maryland State Police trooper named on the search warrant, Victor Hodgin, did not return calls. A spokesman for the police said “the 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 States Attorney’s Office.”
Since everyone seems so worked up about the reporting Audrey did about the TSA and Air Marshals for the Washington Times, here’s an example from 2005:
Flight reports by the Federal Air Marshal Service show that federal agents were on less than 10 percent of the nation’s flights in December, a number several air marshals say was inflated to make it appear to Congress that commercial air travel is better protected than it is.
“The numbers reported to headquarters come back higher than originally reported and are sometimes upwards of double the number of what is actually flown,” an air marshal said. “Everyone knows they are padding the numbers.”
FAMS flight reports for December, obtained by The Washington Times, show air marshals were on about 9.4 percent of the nearly 30,800 daily domestic and international flights.
But the marshals say that figure is impossible, because more flights are reported as having armed agents aboard than the service’s 21 field offices can deploy.
We live in an age where the government does many impossible things, don’t we? Or is “unthinkable” a better word?
Full disclosure: Audrey and I put in some long hours covering the 2012 primaries for HUMAN EVENTS. She’s a friend, a respected colleague of the highest character, and a superb reporter. But I would find this story equally disturbing if none of those things were true.