- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee weighed in Tuesday on a settlement reached between The Washington Times and the Department of Homeland Security over the seizure of a reporter’s notes.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, wrote several letters to the U.S. Coast Guard, one of whom’s investigative agents was involved in a raid that seized notes and other material from Times reporter Audrey Hudson.

Federal agents entered Ms. Hudson’s home with a warrant to check out guns owned by her husband, but instead took documents that included the names of confidential sources who were providing information about ongoing problems at the Homeland Security Department.

“This case seems to have had a positive outcome for the First Amendment, but the Department of Homeland Security’s claims that it did not record the names of individual whistleblowers before returning the documents cannot be checked,” Mr. Grassley said. “Homeland Security should continue to ensure that there is no reprisal against any whistleblower.”

The senator also said the case has serious implications for government overreach.

“It’s outrageous that the Department of Homeland Security seized non-classified documents from any individual’s custody without the authorization of a search warrant,” Mr. Grassley said. “Government agencies must be reminded in the future that unless documents are classified or prohibited from distribution by Congress, internal protections of information do not give an agency the authority to seize documents once they are outside of its control.”

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