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Friday, November 22, 2013

Paper sues Homeland Security
over seizure of reporter's notes

By Latara Appleby
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Washington Times is suing the Department of Homeland Security in Maryland federal court for what it says was an unlawful search and seizure of a reporter's newsgathering material.

The residence of Audrey Hudson, a former Times reporter, was searched by the Maryland State Police and federal officials on Aug. 6. The warrant permitted them to search for unregistered firearms and a potato launcher belonging to Hudson’s husband. But officials also took documents from the residence, including Hudson's reporting notes naming confidential sources in the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Air Marshal Service.

The Washington Times also reported that the documents, once in police custody, were removed from the evidence holding room for one hour on Sept. 3 without a record of why they were removed or what was done with them.

The newspaper and Hudson are asking the court to order that any of Hudson's "property that has been unlawfully seized" be returned to Hudson. Additionally, they are seeking permission to take testimony from an agent involved in the search to inquire how and with whom the documents were shared within the government.

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