DENVER — A Texas congressman is calling for congressional action in response to the federal raid on the home of TCO Washington correspondent Audrey Hudson.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said in remarks Tuesday on the House floor that Congress should move to defund the Department of Homeland Security, which was involved in the Aug. 6 pre-dawn raid at Hudson’s Maryland home.
“This is unbelievable this is happening in America,” said Gohmert. “Mr. Speaker, I think we should defund the DHS until such time as they start being honest about what they’re doing and we get answers from the Justice Department.”
During the raid, Homeland Security agents seized five files containing notes on Hudson’s stories written in the mid-2000s for the Washington Times on problems with the DHS’s Federal Air Marshals service—even though the search warrant was for firearms and a potato launcher.
Gohmert read from an article in Human Events about the raid, which was based in part on an Oct. 25 story in the Daily Caller. Hudson previously worked for Human Events.
Hudson said she didn’t realize her files had been confiscated until they were returned to her earlier this month. The Daily Caller article said that a federal investigator told Hudson he “needed to run them by TSA [Transportation Security Administration] to make sure it was ‘legitimate’ for her to have them.”
“I’m sorry–legitimate for a reporter to have her own handwritten notes?” said Gohmert. “What kind of country are we living in that busts into somebody’s home at 4:30 in the morning to take her notes regarding whistleblowers and Homeland Security? We’re living in a scary time.”
The Daily Caller reported that the search warrant “called for the taking of any guns in the house because Hudson’s husband, according to police, cannot own firearms because of a nearly 30-year-old criminal conviction.”
A former judge, Gohmert said he doubted the agents had the authority to remove Hudson’s notes, based on the information contained in the article.
“I would say if the subpoena did not allow them to take her notes pertaining to the DHS whistleblowers, it begs the question if perhaps these law enforcement officers acting under color of state or federal law stole these without due process,” said Gohmert.
The Washington Times said in an Oct. 25 article that the newspaper is preparing an “appropriate legal response.”
Gohmert also said he thought the incident warranted a Justice Department investigation, but that he wasn’t holding his breath.
“So it bears looking into,” said Gohmert, “and if we had a Justice Department that was going to do justice in such an abuse of power–the same kind that would actually prosecute people who brought a billy club and intimidated voters at a voting location–but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”
The congressman also criticized the Obama administration for what he described as its lack of transparency and aggressive prosecution of government whistleblowers.
“We also know this administration, instead of being the most transparent, has the dubious honor or dishonor of having prosecuted more whistleblowers or leakers than any other administration, in fact [more] than all other administrations put together,” said Gohmert. “It’s ruling with an iron fist.”
He ended his floor remarks by saying, “We’ve got to stop the abuse. We have the power to do it. All we got to do is defund it.”
Hudson has appeared on national television and radio programs this week discussing the incident. She was interviewed Wednesday by Peter Boyles on KNUS-AM radio, and Thursday by National Public Radio for its “On the Media” segment.