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Reporter sues Homeland Security over confiscated documents

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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A reporter for the Colorado Observer and the Washington Times is suing the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that the agency illegally took her notes and documents related to her reporting about problems inside its federal Air Marshal Service.

Audrey Hudson said the materials weren’t covered in a search warrant presented to her by federal agents during a raid on her Maryland home in August. The warrant only authorized agents to collect evidence of potential gun violations by her husband. (RELATED: Feds confiscate investigative reporter’s confidential files during raid)

The Washington Times joined Hudson in the suit, saying that the documents were legally obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and included the names of Hudson’s confidential sources.

“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,” according to the Times article.

The lawsuit asks for the materials to be returned and for permission to take testimony from a Homeland Security agent who was present during the raid.

The legal filing says one of the federal agents specifically asked Hudson whether she was the reporter who wrote “the air marshal stories” for the Washington Times, referencing a series of articles in 2005 that highlighted how fewer than 10 percent of flights were protected by the service.

The stories led to a congressional investigation.

The Times also reported that Hudson’s documents were removed from an evidence room by a federal agent and returned an hour later. Evidence logs from the Maryland State Police don’t say why they were removed or what was done with them.

Hudson has said she believes the agency is attempting to intimidate her because her stories exposed problems within Homeland Security.

“It’s clearly intimidation,” she told FoxNews’ Gretchen Carlson last month. “I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another reporter. Because we can’t just have the government coming into your house on a minor warrant and walk out with whatever files they please of our work product.”

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