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Posts Tagged ‘Audrey Hudson’

Fishbowl Five with John Solomon

Washington Times Editor John Solomon finds himself in the midst of a widening scandal this week involving the potential government harassment of one of TWT‘s former reporters, Audrey Hudson. Hudson and TWT both sued the Department of Homeland Security last Thursday over what they claim was an unconstitutional seizure of confidential documents during a raid on Hudson’s house by Maryland and Federal authorities. The raid was ostensibly aimed at confiscating illegal firearms owned by Hudson’s husband, Paul Flanagan. But somehow, a Department of Homeland Security agent, Miguel Bosch, also ended up seizing some of Hudson’s personal documents, including notes on stories she had written that contained sensitive information, like the names and numbers of sources.

Now Solomon and Hudson want to know why Bosch took the documents in the first place, what he did with them, and who he showed them to. They see the raid and the confiscated documents as yet another example -along with the AP phone tapping scandal and the persecution of Fox’s James Rosen -of the federal government cracking down on reporters to try to get at their sources. FishbowlDC talked with John Solomon over the weekend about the case and got him to answer some questions for the Fishbowl Five. FishbowlDC also reached out to Audrey Hudson for an interview, but were told via a representative that her lawyers recommended against talking to the press at the moment. For more information about the raid and the lawsuit, check out TWT‘s story here.

John Solomon, thanks for talking with us. So why did Maryland State Police and DHS go into Audrey Hudson’s house in the first place?

Thanks for your interest in the story! As far as we can tell –from Audrey and the law enforcement records –they had some questions about gun ownership in the house, and wanted to check what weapons were in the house, and a search warrant specified what evidence they were looking for.  In the process of executing that, they seemed to diverge from the guidance or authority of the search warrant, went into Audrey’s office, and grabbed a set of reporting files that specifically dealt with a series of stories that we had at The Washington Times a few years ago that exposed problems within DHS-specifically its Federal Air Marshall Service. At the time, Audrey didn’t even know they had been taken. She didn’t learn till a month later when they began returning her materials that they had held them for a month and, we later learned, went through them and read them. And so what started as a routine law enforcement matter has somehow turned into a First Amendment concern for us.

So you think the raid was a pretense to get access to those documents?

As a reporter, you try never to make presumptions beyond the facts. What we know is that when the Homeland Security agent got to the home, one of the first things he did was say “Are you the same Audrey Hudson who wrote those stories about the Federal Air Marshals?” So whether he figured it out when he got there, whether he knew that in advance, we don’t know. But when she confirmed that she was, that should have immediately kicked in the First Amendment concerns over reporter privileges. If anything, they should have been more sensitive about what they grabbed from the house that wasn’t covered by the warrant. We have no argument with the Maryland State Police or the DHS doing legitimate law enforcement work, but once they knew they were in a reporter’s home, the idea of going and grabbing those files, to us, is offensive. We want to know: Do they have copies? Have they gleaned any information from them? And have they used them in any way to harm sources, or infringe on the First Amendment further then they already have? That’s the purpose of the law suit.

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You Know It’s Just a TV Show Right?

Claire Danes could not be reached for comment.

Ha! Seriously though folks, The Washington Times, along with former reporter Audrey Hudson, really is suing DHS. Here are the best ‘graphs from the story:

The newspaper alleged that federal agents accompanying Maryland State Police on the raid took materials from Ms. Hudson’s office that were not covered by the search warrant that authorized the collection solely of evidence about guns and a potato launcher allegedly possessed by her husband, Paul Flanagan.

The seized materials included documents the newspaper had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as well as notes and memos that identified confidential sources from a series of investigative stories that exposed problems inside the Homeland Security Department’s Federal Air Marshal Service.

Wait, a potato launcher? Read the whole thing here.

Fishbowl5 With Daily Caller’s Pappas

993522_645733617938_1294773376_nLate last week, The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas broke the story on reporter Audrey Hudson, whose home was raided by federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security. During the 4:30 a.m. visit, they took many of her files, legal documents she had acquired through a FOIA request. We wanted to learn more from Pappas’ about the reporting of the story.

1. Without asking you to betray confidences, what can you share about the way this story came to you? In your story, the reporter says it was the only way she could inform her sources that their names may have been leaked.

A source tipped me off to it. At first, the story seemed too outrageous to be true: the feds raided a reporter’s home and took files exposing her sources? I’d never met Audrey before. But fortunately when I reached out to her, the story checked out and she was anxious to share her experience with me. Her lawyer gave her the go-ahead to go public with it. She was up front about why she was taking to me: she wanted her sources to know that they may have been been exposed. And she wanted to do this without reaching out to them directly, potentially putting her sources at more risk.

2. Does this story make you afraid for the future of journalism, not that it already doesn’t have enough problems?

I think the story is more about law enforcement than journalism. They had no problem taking her files, even though the search warrant did not give them permission to do so. Read more

How the Chips Fell At Human Events

Higher-ups at Human Events warned staff on Tuesday that there would be a big announcement at a 10:30 a.m. meeting the next day. Many employees had a feeling it would be bad news, possibly more layoffs.

Workers who showed up at the office before the meeting went to their desks and computers as usual. Then they gathered in the conference room where V.P. and Group Publisher Joe Guerriero announced that the last payday for nearly all staff members would be this Friday. After the meeting, employees returned to their computers, only to find they couldn’t use them. While the bad news was delivered, the log-in information had been changed.

Employees were told if they needed to retrieve any personal information from what was now their former computers, management would watch them while they did so. Today will be their last day in the office. Human Events will no longer be available in print. Feb. 18th was their last issue.

Guerriero would not comment on the record for this story.

What happened in the meeting…Despite the somber news, no negative energy was felt inside the conference room, a source who was present for the meeting told FBDC. Read more

Coulter on Alter: ‘Is he considered a journalist?’

Conservative author Ann Coulter showed up to her book signing at the Americans for Tax Reform headquarters 30 minutes late. “I blame it all on Human Events,” she announced when she arrived.

Coulter was interviewed by Human Events prior to the signing and it ran long. Thomas Winter, the paper’s editor, told FishbowlDC Coulter alerted him she was going to return to her hotel to change clothes before heading to ATR. “Having a wife… I know what it’s like when a woman says she’s going to be somewhere as soon as she can,” he said.

Some 70 people showed up at the event to have Coulter sign copies of her new book Mugged. She signed all of them before heading to the “First Friday” monthly gathering of young conservatives near Capitol Hill.

On CSPAN Friday morning, Coulter, known for attacking the news media, said “the entire mainstream media is pretending” her new book “doesn’t exist.” On her way out we asked her to name the most fair national reporter. “[Fox News'] Brit Hume,” she said without skipping a beat. When asked to name the least fair reporter, she said “Everyone on MSNBC.” How about one specific reporter? She named former Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter. “Is he considered a journalist? Probably not,” she said.

With that, Coulter exited the building, cup of wine in hand.

Alter responded to Coulter’s comments in an email to FBDC. He said she named him “because we appeared on television many times together before she was famous and she insisted on going on alone, and each time I owned her.”

Coulter must have struck a chord. Alter sent another email immediate after: “P.S: Does she even know what the word ‘fair’ means?” he said. “We know that if she does, she doesn’t consider it a compliment.  That means she must be saying something nice about me. Thanks, Ann!”

Notables: TWT‘s Kerry Picket; GOProud Co-Founder Jimmy LaSalvia; Town Hall‘s Derek Hunter; Human Event‘s Cathy Taylor, Neil W. McCabe and Audrey Hudson; and WMAL’s Chris Plante.

Quotable: “So we had to sit there in the cab right next to each other in complete silence.”– Picket, describing her latest troubles flying into D.C. from Denver, Colo. at 2 a.m. She said the line to hail a cab outside of Reagan National Airport was long and when she finally flagged one down, a woman jumped the line to hop in. “I guess the New York in me came out,” Picket said. The two females argued over who was going to take the cab before the driver told them he could take them both. The last time we saw Picket at a book-related event, she sported a black and blue banged up leg — the result of a mountain biking accident.

Botched Bylines Give Human Events a Blemish

Relaunching a website often comes with growing pains. We recently reported that Human Events had some kinks to work out as it reintroduced its website. Then, it was some coding issues. Today, it’s bylines.

During the switch from Site Manager to WordPress as the website’s administrative system, several stories screwed up who wrote what. For instance, former contributor Steven Robinson‘s name, which appeared as a double byline on a few stories, was deleted from the site. Articles originally bearing his name appeared are now authored by “Main Admin” or by Audrey Hudson, the publication’s congressional correspondent. Robinson recently left Eagle Publishing, which owns Human Events. He now works on the website for the Paul Revere Project, which aims to coordinate messaging among conservative groups in D.C. and nationwide.

As recently as this morning a story co-written by Robinson was changed to only show Hudson’s name. Three days ago, Robinson asked his old employers about it and was told about internal system issues. His byline was not restored until today after FishbowlDC’s inquiry.

Joe Guerriero, VP and Group Publisher of Eagle Publishing, told FBDC by email that the mix up had to do with “transferring a massive number of files to a new system” and the order in which they were sent.

Though Robinson said he thought there might be something more nefarious at hand, Human Events‘ Editor Cathy Taylor said the issue also happened with at least one other author out of the 200 the publication had in its system. “Steve Robinson’s byline was confused with another periodic author’s byline, Ron Robinson. Also, when Steve double-bylined with Audrey Hudson, his name apparently was dropped off,” Taylor said. “The good news is that all data transferred.”

The bad news, however, is that Robinson (the whistle blower) won’t be writing for Human Events anytime soon.

UPDATED Human Events Faces Shakeup, Layoffs

Cathy Taylor is barely four months into her gig as the editor of Human Events and the conservative weekly is already facing a massive shakeup under her leadership.

Taylor recently terminated Tony Lee who spearheaded the publication’s election blog and also dropped Brian H. Darling, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a regular columnist for nearly four years. FishbowlDC hears there are more major changes on the horizon and possibly more layoffs.

Sources close to Human Events tell us Taylor is moving the news outlet, known for its hard right conservatism, into a more “big tent” direction with an emphasis on original reporting. There will be a relaunch of the paper product and website in mid April.

Despite not pulling in a profit, Human Events isn’t thought to be in financial trouble. It is funded by its parent company Eagle Publishing.

Dismissing Lee

Lee joined Human Events in late 2010. He was initially hired to report on politics and culture but moved into political analysis with the website’s launch of “The Chase,” an opinion blog on the Republican presidential field.

Lee faced long-term health issues before and during his tenure at Human Events. A source close to the publication told FishbowlDC that this was likely a major factor in his termination, but there was also a series of conflicts between him and Taylor regarding the direction of Human Events into more centrist territory. Multiple sources expressed doubt over Taylor’s bona fides as a conservative.

The New Direction

At the core of Human Event‘s makeover…

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Human Events Snags Audrey Hudson

Award-winning investigative journalist Audrey Hudson is joining Human Events as the paper’s congressional correspondent. Editor Jason Mattera said that Hudson’s “reporting will hold this radical administration accountable for its big government schemes. So get ready, libs!”

Hudson said she was “honored” to join the Human Events team, and called the publication “the traditional must-read for conservatives.”

Human Events appears to be making it a habit to hire conservative women who worked on Capitol Hill. Emily Miller, a former aide for ex-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) worked for Human Events and is now at TWT.

Hudson, who is from Kentucky, worked on Capitol Hill as a spokeswoman in both the House and Senate. She joins Human Events from TWT, where she covered Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. One of Hudson’s reports, on drug experiments being carried out on veterans, won her first prize in investigative reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service.


Morning Reading List 09.03.09

Good morning FishbowlDC! Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

Happy belated birthday to J.P. Freire, on-time birthday wishes to John Mercurio. What know and what we’re reading this Thursday morning…



Former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) penned an op-ed on health care in WSJ, invoking the late Senator Ted Kennedy, writing, “There is no doubt about the consequences of failure.” (h/t Wake-Up Call)


Peter Osnos asks “Do You Subscribe to Fox News?

Did Rachel Maddow infect 30 Rock with swine flu?

And our favorite TVNewser post possibly ever.


Politics is still all the rage on the web- The Wrap breaks down top political sites’ traffic in 2009 (h/t Politico, who makes the cut).

A recent study found that primetime on the Internet is 11pm., owned now by Philip Anschutz‘s Clarity Media Group, is apparently about to purchase Citizen-J site NowPublic for a cool $25 million.


President Obama is taking his argument for a health care plan to a new place: Rodale magazines, where he or his wife appear on coming covers of Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and the new publication Children’s Health (via NYT).


A preview, courtesy of NYT, of Senator Kennedy’s memoir “True Compass” due out this fall.


More details, via TVNewser, on Walter Cronkite‘s Memorial Service at Lincoln Center in NY next Wednesday.

And if you haven’t already, a must-read… VF‘s Levi Johnson: “Me and Mrs. Palin.”


Congrats to TWT on the SPJ Award of Excellence in the Public Service Category for its multimedia investigative report, “Disposable Heroes” by Audrey Hudson, photographer Rod Lamkey and videographer Alex Wilson. TWT was presented this award at 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Awards event this past week in Indianapolis.

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, TVNewser

JOBS after the jump…

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Twenty-Seven Years of TWT

Yesterday TWT celebrated 27 years and in honor of this birthday, John Solomon presented two editorial staffers an internal “Excellence in Journalism” Award. Congrats to reporter Audrey Hudson and photographer Katie Falkenberg!

Hudson covers homeland security and earned SPJ’s 2009 Public Service Award for TWT‘s investigative series “Disposable Heroes” on medical experiments conducted unethically on U.S. war veterans. Falkenberg’s coverage extends from healthcare in America to human rights issues in the Middle East. She was awarded the National Press Photographers Association’s top award last year for a multi-media report on women’s shelters in Pakistan.