Feds confiscate investigative reporter’s confidential files

dailycaller.com

A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August — leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

A search warrant … indicates that the August raid allowed law enforcement to search for firearms inside her home.

The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, pleaded guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

But without Hudson’s knowledge, the agents also confiscated a batch of documents that contained information about sources inside the Department of Homeland Security

After the search began … she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service [ under Homeland Security ] if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

I'll lead with the caveat that "we don't know the whole story yet".

Caveat aside, this sounds really really bad.

1) In 1986 a man committed a crime and was punished for it.
2) Today, a quarter of a century later, the man's house gets raided by a tactical team…and a Department of Homeland Security investigator.
3) …and the investigator asks if the woman has been criticizing the Department of Homeland Security in print
4) files relating to the Department of Homeland Security are seized, despite the warrant not specifying them.

The phrase "police state" gets thrown around a lot. I've got a long post on the topic of "what is a police state, and are we in one?" queued up. For now though I'll say two things:

1) police states aren't boolean: there are shades of corruption and danger in between "Stalinist hell" and "Libertarian Utopia".
2) whether this raid is what it looks like or not, I really don't like the direction this country has been going for the last ( 10 / 20 / 40 ) years.

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. BBnet3000 says

    I am disappointed Clark. The Daily Caller is bullshit and its stories are frequently too. They never show up anywhere else other than even less reputable sites, and no, this isnt a sign of exclusivity.

  2. Lambster says

    Holy cow, what happened to due process? Trouble is, how do you do something about something you knew nothing about at the time? Is there any way to defend yourself against this kind of intrusion…Probably not methinks.

  3. Dirkmaster says

    A one degree course adjustment might be imperceptible to passengers. But 180 of them will cause you to be going in the opposite direction.

  4. says

    @BBnet3000

    I am disappointed Clark. The Daily Caller is bullshit and its stories are frequently too. They never show up anywhere else other than even less reputable sites, and no, this isnt a sign of exclusivity.

    Hmm.

    Wikipedia.org

    The genetic fallacy, also known as fallacy of origins … is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context.

  5. says

    @That Anonymous Coward

    When did we make the left turn into 1984?

    Or, for that matter – in the spirit of ecumenicism – right turn.

  6. Noxx says

    Fair enough, but anecdotal experience suggests that stories of impact from the caller should vetted elsewhere before being passed along.

  7. qwints says

    So, the key part of the article appears to be here:

    “During the course of the search, the CGIS agent discovered government documents labeled FOUO – For Official Use Only (FOUO) – and LES – Law Enforcement Sensitive. The files that contained these documents were cataloged on the search warrant inventory and taken from the premises,” Díaz said.

    “The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act,” he said.

    That seems like confirmation from a government source that they did indeed seize the papers, but I'm confused what theory they'd use to seize unclassified papers. Google suggests that those labels are merely for internal control and thus wouldn't be evidence of a crime.

  8. says

    Unless the warrant specified papers, that was theft, striaght up.

    And since when do the feds get to accompany locals serving a warrant for a state investigation and take shit for themselves?

  9. Chris says

    A relevant piece of information not found in Clark's summary:

    the Coast Guard Investigative Service was asked to participate in the raid because the search involved a Coast Guard employee. Flanagan is an ordinance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore.

  10. Craig says

    The Daily Caller is bullshit and its stories are frequently too. They never show up anywhere else other than even less reputable sites…

    You mean like The Atlantic?

  11. BackToYouJim says

    Fair enough, but anecdotal experience suggests that stories of impact from the caller should vetted elsewhere before being passed along.

    Would you be kind enough to list which sources are acceptable in this program/newletter? Does popehat.com count?

  12. Chris says

    Would you be kind enough to list which sources are acceptable in this program/newletter? Does popehat.com count?

    Only if the post was written by Via Angus.

  13. Dan says

    "Flanagan is an ordinance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore." I'll assume they mean ordnance technician and not someone involved in city council regulations. How is it that someone can be banned from owning firearms based on a nearly 30 year old misdemeanor bust for resisting arrest? And how is it that someone can work as a Coast Guard ordnance tech who is banned from owning firearms? As you say, some of this don't make no sense.

  14. says

    In terms of validation/verification — the article names names, as opposed to "a prominent reporter whose name and bona fides we won't mention". This is a good sign towards legitimacy. As to being a veteran investigative journalist, some quick googling shows that she's mostly published by the Washington Times, which is widely considered a Moonie front and more than a little biased, though not at the WorldNet Daily level of out-and-out kookery. Since the term "veteran investigative journalist" has no legal meaning — you can't be arrested for calling yourself one, as opposed to calling yourself a lawyer (hmm, lawmakers are mostly lawyers, and pass laws to control who can compete with them professionally and not be jailed… wonder how THAT happened…), it's up to each individual to decide how much the term applies. My analysis: She has articles and references dating back at least to the early 2000s, which I think qualifies as "veteran", she's professionally published in a widely-circulated, widely-read newspaper (however biased it may be — bias does not mean "false" or "fraudulent" — omission vs. commission), which would meet the "reasonable man" definition of "journalist", and she does more than just edit and post press releases, which supports "investigative", a particularly slippery and subjective term.

    My call? Ms. Hudson and Daily Caller seem legitimate enough that the risks of out-and-out lying are too great just to publish a sadly generic "police overreach" report. We've seen far more atrocious acts of law enforcement reported here for this to be considered extreme or a priori improbable or false. The facts, as reported, are probably true. There is also probably some degree of spin and sins of omission involved, which I'll rely on others to dig up, because I'm a lazy bastich.

    The article goes on two more pages than the first, which includes explanations of what prompted the raid, according to the police. They didn't simply show up out of the blue on the basis of a 1986 order. They have a claim of a reason to believe that there were guns present. Flanagan was contacted in February, according to Hudson, and asked about gun-related issues, and the cops apparently also poked around Flanagan's Coast Guard buddies, asking questions. So, either this was a legal raid based on at least quasi-legitimate suspicion of weapon possession (I will leave aside the legitimacy of those laws), where the cops did do some investigating and checking to gather suitable evidence to justify a warrant for a search, OR, they were targeting Ms. Hudson and did a lot of legwork to create a justification to "accidentally" find her documents and evidence. From what little I've seen of Ms. Hudson's work, it doesn't look like she's nearly important enough for that degree of effort for a cover story for a raid targeting her and not her husband — but who knows? Others have criticized the DHS as much or more, and not faced this, but we don't know who might have gotten their knickers in a twist, and her relatively low prominence might cause them to assume there'd be less blowback if they targeted her as a "warning" to more prominent writers. I can't provie it, so this is speculation, but I wouldn't find it shocking or surprising.

    Assuming there isn't something major omitted, I'm with Clark on this. The seizure of a journalist's documents, clearly not related to the warrant, is something to look at very, very, critically.

  15. says

    Search warrants specify what the agents are allowed to take. If it's not on this list, they are only supposed to take it if they encounter it legitimately while searching (e.g., no opening files if you are searching for stolen snow tires) and it is evidence of a crime.

    But in my experience, that's too complicated for agents, who typically grab anything that strikes their fancy.

    Ran a multi-agency takedown — 20 arrests and 8 searches — in 1999. Did a full-day briefing with all the agents, carefully explaining what they could seize, and carefully reviewing the list of items to be seized.

    lolwut

    The result was like that scene in Jaws where Hooper and Brody cut the shark open and pull out license plates and shit. The carefully instructed agents went all SEIZE ALL THE DOCUMENTS.

    I have never — NEVER — seen a search warrant executed where the seizure did not include a substantial element of WTF.

  16. Nicholas weaver says

    Partially its also both criminal lawyers and journalists needs to practice much better operational security.

    E.g: All email servers must be in house. Computers must utilize full disk encryption and be turned off when not in use. Etc etc etc.

  17. Dan Weber says

    When raided by the cops, there are a few things you have to worry about.

    If it's confidentiality, you want everything in your house.

    If it's availability, you want things stored someplace like Google.

    In the latter case, after the cops image your stuff at the server, they go away, and the server stays up.

    If you want both, you need to spend significant time and money getting both. Dropping encrypted tombs offsite automatically when keys that are stored in your brain or your safe-deposit box.

  18. says

    @Noxx

    anecdotal experience suggests that stories of impact from the caller should vetted elsewhere before being passed along.

    Shorter: I don't like your tribe and I'm annoyed that HateyMcWrongTribe.com got this one right.

    @BackToYouJim

    Would you be kind enough to list which sources are acceptable in this program/newletter?

    Heh.

  19. says

    @Lizard

    the Washington Times, which is widely considered a
    Moonie front and more than a little biased,

    Oh, please.

    NWC sold it three years ago, and even if they hadn't, that would be about as fair and classy as saying that because the New York Times is run by the Sulzberger's that you can't trust anything in it because it's the mouthpiece of International Jewry ™.

    I mean, it's true, you shouldn't blindly trust the NYT, but that's because it's as biased as every other paper in existence, including the WT.

    The article goes on two more pages than the first

    Either the article is longer now than when I first viewed it, or I just missed the additional pages (absolutely possible). I do note that much of the material on page 2 was present on what I recall as a 1 page version early this morning, so it's possible that the article has been expanded.

    …not that I percieved you as attacking me here, but I just want to be clear that there was no intent to elide information on my part. That's be unsporting, and not my style.

  20. Aaron says

    Ken, is there a way to prevent such WTF-ery? Would it be advisable, say, for homeowners to read the warrant and carefully supervise the collection, asking questions like "This isn't listed on the warrant. What crime might it be evidence of?" along the way?

    Or to hold a video camera and ask the same questions?

  21. Tarrou says

    But, but Clark, GUNS. They said they were looking for guns, and so there is no procedural protection for people who might have guns. It's like "Terrorism" or "Children". You say the word, and then you do whatever you like! Suspend a kid for having a finger, or a bite of a sandwich! Illegally seize documents! Rape livestock! Promote French Post-structuralism! "Guns" is the magic word!

  22. Chris says

    Would it be advisable, say, for homeowners to read the warrant and carefully supervise the collection, asking questions like "This isn't listed on the warrant. What crime might it be evidence of?" along the way?

    Or to hold a video camera and ask the same questions?

    While I don't have anywhere near the depth or breadth of Ken's experience with these issues, I'd say this is a good place to apply some excellent advice that I've been given in the past: Never argue with the cops. Let them do whatever they are going to do and then have your lawyer argue in front of a judge later.

  23. ChicagoTom says

    Ken, is there a way to prevent such WTF-ery? Would it be advisable, say, for homeowners to read the warrant and carefully supervise the collection, asking questions like "This isn't listed on the warrant. What crime might it be evidence of?" along the way?

    Awww that's cute!

  24. Earle says

    @Aaron,

    I hope you're not suggesting that Ken endorse such behavior, as there is a non-trivial probability that such questions, particularly with a camera rolling, would be interpreted as resistance. Per just about every article posted by Clark that would not end well for the homeowner, nor for their dog.

  25. ZarroTsu says

    The news sucks, the media sucks, the music sucks, the legal system sucks, the police suck…

    It's a good thing I'm already Canadian, or I'd threaten to move to Canada.

  26. says

    Folks seem to be missing the point. The records seizure is permissable — regardless of any little warrant/excuse. It isn't as if they're going to be used in a real trial, with rules of evidence and -giggle- constitutional limitations. Father- Mother- Homeland [In]Security is going to use that for extrajudicial harassment and punishment, silly people.

    Heck, I'm only surprised that they bothered with the excuse of a warrant based on a 27 year old conviction of a third party, instead of just black-bagging what/who they want.

  27. Troutwaxer says

    Clark, thank you for a very nice story which is not satirical and covers an important issue.

    As for the arguments over the story's provenance, it appears that this story has been widely reported in the conservative media, plus the Atlantic. No other major media has covered the story, but that isn't terribly surprising – both the conservatives and liberals at this site know that such stories don't get the coverage they deserve.

    The story itself is very disturbing.

  28. Resolute says

    @Ken (the lesser known one)

    Wonder how the one likes gun control laws now, given the pretext for the fishing expedition?

    Speaking of fallacies…. The existence of gun control laws and supporters has no bearing on the existence of federal agents looking for a pretext to strike back at someone critical of them.

  29. says

    Even if this reporter is small fry, what added chilling effect does this give more mainstream reporters? Mainstream media has gotten pretty snarky about Obamacare. Maybe it was time for another show of force?

  30. says

    Ken, is there a way to prevent such WTF-ery? Would it be advisable, say, for homeowners to read the warrant and carefully supervise the collection, asking questions like "This isn't listed on the warrant. What crime might it be evidence of?" along the way?

    Or to hold a video camera and ask the same questions?

    That sounds like an excellent way to find out what pavement tastes like.

    Slightly more seriously, agents will often handcuff you and move you out of the area being searched. Conduct like you describe will be characterized as interfering with the search.

  31. says

    I'm not sure that going after a reporter critical of the DHS is going to shut up Jon Stewart. If you want to "send a message", it needs to be correctly addressed — that is, go after someone who is critical of the ACA, if that's your goal.

    The timing seems wrong, to. If the pretext started in February, that was long before the ACA website mess was a blip on anyone's horizon. It seems dubious to me that the Powers That Be would start random investigations of journalist's husbands so that they can strike at any time, months later. ("Hey, people are making jokes about healthcare.gov! What do we got?" "We've got a dozen minor league reporters vaguely connected to trivial offenses we've been sort of looking into in a casual way for six months now, just in case we need to harass a reporter and look like we have an excuse!" "Ok, pick a name from the hat.")

    It is much more likely, if she was targeted, it was for her DHS reporting, and the fishing expedition was to provide an excuse to justify a raid and "accidentally" seizing material not covered by the warrant. Trying to tie this into the ACA seems like a stretch.

  32. Aaron says

    @Ken (and everyone else)

    Alright, thanks. So I suppose the best answer is probably Chris':

    Let them do whatever they are going to do and then have your lawyer argue in front of a judge later.

  33. HamOnRye says

    I forgot to add the juicy bits.

    It seems that the Feds were after the POTATO LAUNCHER that was supposedly in the possession of Mrs Hudson's husband.

    No doubt he was caught up in the vicious cycle of starchy root vegetable culture, causing him to dispense mashed vengance on rival culinary travelers. Grisly visages of butter, brown gravy, and potatoe detritus come to mind.

  34. says

    @Ken, @Nicholas – a while ago, Ken mentioned that he instructs clients to put all correspondence in a sealed envelope with Atty Correspondence and then sealing it again if memory serves. If one hypothetically put stuff in a double sealed folder like that, and it wasn't atty/client privilege stuff and it was confiscated, would you have grounds to get it excluded (or at least maybe like sealed [pardon non-atty stupidity])? If you had stuff that wasn't illegal, but stuff you wouldn't want on the front page, 'leaked' to the media , would the fact it wasn't actual atty/client stuff invalidate a claim that it shouldn't have been seized?

    On the same note, Nicholas, you mention keeping stuff in-house. If the hardware is in your house, doesn't that give them a head start? You also mentioned encryption which would mitigate that particular danger, but I thought I read somewhere that a judge compelled someone to produce the password (i guess I should google again before mentioning it). I'm recommending a way more paranoid approach – use Virtual machines running off disposable disks that you swap out frequently and getting in the habit of getting all Walter White /Ricin vial in terms of hiding them frequently. The "If you didn't do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about" mantra is a lie no one believes any more. Even if you're Jesus level honest, seems like you need to be paranoid these days, b/c at least one client or acquaintance is likely to be a target at some point. Kudos for emphasizing the operation security aspect.

  35. says

    @Pete – I'm not in the outrage business but when it comes to this sort of crap, I have plenty to spare – I can be outraged about both, no?

  36. says

    @Clark: No, I don't think you were hiding information. It would be rather silly, since anyone could link to the article for themselves. I didn't notice the additional pages the first time I read it, so I was highlighting their existence for those who might wonder where I was getting this from. (The fact the article actually quotes the police and provides their excu.. I mean, rationale… is a very positive sign that it's truthful. Being willing to get the other side's story generally indicates confidence the truth is on your side and you'll prevail.)

    On the WT/Moonie connection — I have no particular axe to grind on that score, either. I was trying to spell out all the factors feeding into my "veracity evaluation algorithm", and that included seeing if the Washington Times was a "real" newspaper. (For whatever that's worth, I think it is.) I've seen a number of stories originating from generically-named sources like "The Bay Area Courier-Chronicle Daily Times" or whatever, and found out they were run out of someone's basement by an aggregation bot. I heartily oppose any attempt to create a legally-recognized class of "journalists", but if the title is used so as to create an aura of professionalism, it's best to check out where they've been published and judge for yourself. Others may be a lot more familiar with the WT than I am; it's never been on my personal radar and I had to look it up.

  37. Jacob H says

    @Clark

    The genetic fallacy, also known as fallacy of origins … is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context

    Do you notice the important qualifier "solely"? That's because it's not a fallacy to take into account the credibility of a source when making a decision to trust the story at face value, or whether to do further research. A source's possible bias and/or credibility is one factor among many, and even if not decisive, can signal when further investigation is warranted. There's nothing fallacious about that; although this story appears to be as reported in this case, it is true that many other DC stories are not, not even remotely. The person you were responding to was simply saying that this is not a credible source, and another source would be more convincing. If the story came from the National Inquirer, it would not prove it was false, but it would seem odd to choose that source to cite.

    I personally lost any inclination to give Tucker Carlson the benefit of the doubt when he admitted to impersonating an ideological opponent for the purposes of smearing him (yes, he really did do that, chucklingly: https://www.google.com/#q=tucker+carlson+olbermann+emails). Not that any particular story on the DC is therefore false, but I prefer not to get news from someone who shows no compunction about lying when it suits him, someone who I would feel I would have to fact-check too often. This isn't a partisan issue, there are plenty of folks on the left I feel the same way about (Piers Morgan, Ed Schultz, etc)

    tldr:
    Simply saying "consider the source," as one consideration among many, does not qualify as the genetic fallacy, and should not be dismissed as such. nb "solely" in description

  38. says

    The genetic fallacy, also known as fallacy of origins … is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context.

    Meh. I don't think that it's a logical error to dismiss articles from, say, NaturalNews.com without much thought, or that pointing out that an article comes from "The Onion" means it's satirical. (Congressman Fleming and the Beijing Evening News might disagree.)

    There's an important difference between "biased" and "insane". Everyone is biased, and so is every news source. Dismissing an article because it's "biased" means dismissing everything that doesn't support your point of view. Not everyone, however, is insane. Daily Caller is biased? It has to be — it's run by humans. Insane? Doesn't seem to be. The DC doesn't nearly reach the "Everything they print is suspect" level, IMO, and dismissing the story solely based on where it first broke strikes me as unjustified.

  39. says

    @Jacob

    @Clark

    The genetic fallacy, also known as fallacy of origins … is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context

    Do you notice the important qualifier "solely"?

    Yes. I did.

    I was responding to @BBnet3000's comment, and questioning the Daily Caller was 100% of his argument:

    The Daily Caller is bullshit and its stories are frequently too. They never show up anywhere else other than even less reputable sites, and no, this isnt a sign of exclusivity.

    Back to Jacob:

    tldr:
    Simply saying "consider the source," as one consideration among many, does not qualify as the genetic fallacy, and should not be dismissed as such. nb "solely" in description

    Yep. But @BBnet3000 didn't say it as one consideration among many; and he didn't say "consider the source"; he said that we should ignore it, because – and I quote – it's "bullshit".

    You're batting 0 for 2 on this argument.

  40. Jacob H says

    again, not solely. Just that it is a source, in my own opinion, that requires more fact-checking, looking for secondary sources, than a "straight" (was that enough scare-quotes? better be safe """"""""""") news source would, eg the NYT.

  41. Jacob H says

    sorry, I didn't catch where he said we should ignore it. I got the feeling that he was saying that it was a low-quality source, nothing more.

    I think our point of disagreement is that you saw him as "suggesting a conclusion" (namely that we should ignore this story), and I didn't

  42. Jacob H says

    You're batting 0 for 2 on this argument

    Comments like this are just off-putting. Even if we end this exchange still disagreeing, should we just end every comment along the way with "and you're 100% wrong!" "no you are" "nuh-uh!"

    Are you the home plate ump as well as the pitcher?

  43. Michael K. says

    @Ken

    Ran a multi-agency takedown — 20 arrests and 8 searches — in 1999. Did a full-day briefing with all the agents, carefully explaining what they could seize, and carefully reviewing the list of items to be seized.

    lolwut

    The result was like that scene in Jaws where Hooper and Brody cut the shark open and pull out license plates and shit. The carefully instructed agents went all SEIZE ALL THE DOCUMENTS.

    As distasteful as it seems to me now, I suppose there's at least a little comfort in knowing that my 8 and 10-year-old children have what it takes to be Federal agents.

    Unfortunately, I suspect they'll grow out of it before they have a chance to earn a paycheck.

  44. En Passant says

    One of the better outcomes for a fishing expedition search – it's in the first few seconds. Unfortunately it's fictional. But one can always dream: Repo Man.

  45. says

    @Jacob H

    You're batting 0 for 2 on this argument

    Comments like this are just off-putting.

    Valid point. I retract the above and apologize for the unwarranted snark.

  46. says

    @Michael K.

    there's at least a little comfort in knowing that my 8 and 10-year-old children have what it takes to be Federal agents.

    Ender's Other Game.

  47. Zinc says

    Besides leaving out her name…you also failed to mention that her husband is a CG employee.

    The couple also describe themselves as "gun collectors" when apparently he isn't supposed to have any.

  48. Jacob H says

    @Clark

    Thank you.

    I completely agree with the point of the blog post, the issue of the source aside.

    And, it is possible that BBnet3000 (is that the BoingBoing commenting account or something? Don't answer if it would violate commenter/moderator anonymity) really did mean that we should ignore this based on the source, although they didn't say so.

  49. Rich Rostrom says

    Clark • Oct 25, 2013 @12:10 pm:

    @Lizard: the Washington Times, which is widely considered a Moonie front…

    Oh, please.

    NWC sold it three years ago, and even if they hadn't, that would be about as fair and classy as saying that because the New York Times is run by the Sulzberger's that you can't trust anything in it because it's the mouthpiece of International Jewry ™.

    Not a fair comparison. The NYTimes is owned by people who happen to be members of a somewhat nebulous group (Jews), who are not Jewish activists, and made a profit, indeed a fortune from it. The WTimes was owned by a specific organized religious body, with a very dubious reputation, which subsidized it for political reasons.

    The two cases are very different. If the NYTimes was owned and subsidized by, say, a notoriously political labor union, and had never made a profit, its bona fides would be comparably open to question.

    I write as someone who trusts the WTimes a lot more. I just feel that the Moonie connection does raise credibility issues. Not dispositive, but worth noting.

  50. jim says

    When the whole story is known (and confirmed), I hope you'll post a follow-up. If your enumerated points are confirmed, this is indeed horrendous, if not, it's really bad reporting and an interesting story may come out of why it was published.

  51. J says

    Some news articles seem to affirm Zinc's statements:

    According to the Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas, authorities had reason to believe that Flanagan was amassing a gun collection despite being legally barred from owning firearms due to a previous conviction. The Daily Caller obtained a search warrant showing that law enforcement was given the go-ahead to conduct a raid because Flanagan had been found guilty of resisting arrest in 1986 and thus prohibited from owning weapons. Authorities believed he had broken that restriction.

    “One party that was interviewed remembered distinctly about Flanagan advising he had recently purchased a Bersa .380 handgun, and observed pictures of firearms similar to AK-47 semi-automatic rifles which were identified by Flanagan as being his,” court documents obtained by Pappas say.

    http://rt.com/usa/swat-raid-journalist-hudson-735/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

    The supposed reason for the raid involves her husband, who in 1986 was found guilty of resisting arrest, which disallows him to own guns. The husband, who works for the Coast Guard, told co-workers that he was a gun collector. The raid was executed by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and Maryland State Troopers. Among the items taken were guns owned by Hudson and her husband. The Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Air Marshall Service are both part of the same department, Homeland Security.

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Federal-Authorities-Raid-the-Home-of-Audrey-Hudson-Former-Investigative-Reporter-for-the-Washington-Times

    So the warrant seems based on actual suspicion and meaningful evidence seems to have been seized. We will probably never know whether the husband or the wife was targeted first, but this time it actually seems premature to simply blame it on wanting to expose whistleblowers. Not that they would be in any way sad about finding such information…

  52. Luke says

    @Zinc –

    In which article did the "couple also describe themselves as 'gun collectors'"? Maybe I missed it, but the only reference I found to that phrase is from an anonymous co-worker who claims the husband said it. That's far different from the couple describing themselves that way.

  53. says

    Rich Rostrom

    I just feel that the Moonie connection does raise credibility issues. Not dispositive, but worth noting.

    I think you mean "Not conclusive, but dispositive."

    …although once we start using "dispositive" in a metaphorical way stripped of the crisp legal definition, we're in gray areas.

  54. Luke says

    @J –

    Thanks for the additional links. I still don't see anywhere where the couple themselves describe themselves that way, just the co-worker. And all of the guns taken were the wife's not the husbands. The only gun the husband has admitted to owning was the potato gun.

    If person A in a house is prohibited from owning guns, but person B in the same house is not prohibited does that mean that B cannot own a gun?

  55. Rob says

    Dan • Oct 25, 2013 @11:45 am

    "Flanagan is an ordinance technician for the Coast Guard in Baltimore." I'll assume they mean ordnance technician and not someone involved in city council regulations. How is it that someone can be banned from owning firearms based on a nearly 30 year old misdemeanor bust for resisting arrest? And how is it that someone can work as a Coast Guard ordnance tech who is banned from owning firearms? As you say, some of this don't make no sense.

    Maryland is not a very friendly state for gun owners. I would not be surprised if they had expanded the list of misdemeanors that disable your 2nd Amendment rights. That would explain why he is able to be an ordnance technician in the Coast Guard but is not allowed to own firearms – because the state laws are much more strict than the federal laws.

    Zinc • Oct 25, 2013 @2:54 pm

    The couple also describe themselves as "gun collectors" when apparently he isn't supposed to have any.

    It is legally possible for one spouse to own guns even if the other spouse is a felon or otherwise barred from owning them. The guns have to be kept inaccessible, such as in a locked safe whose combination or key is only available to the non-barred spouse, and the barred spouse cannot handle or otherwise possess the firearms at any point in time.

    There are also certain types of guns — such as muzzle-loaders and other types of black-powder firearms that don't use fixed cartridges — that are not legally "firearms" under federal laws, and may be legally purchasable by felons so long as it's not prohibited by state law. I think Maryland may be one of the states that prohibits felons from owning them, though.

  56. zen accountant says

    Re guns & A & B
    Not a lawyer, but I seem to recall court documents saying both "may not own guns" and "may not be around guns." In that case, person A can't live with person B's guns. A & B can decide if the guns are more important than living together.

  57. Dan Weber says

    Whether you can be compelled to produce passwords is, last I checked, a divided issue. One court said that you can be compelled to turn over a password the same way you can be compelled to turn over financial records. Another said that you couldn't because the password itself could be self-incriminating, which doesn't seem that hard to work around. IANAL.

  58. says

    This has been picked up by Slashdot. Reading the comments is rather amusing — namely, the vast majority of commenters didn't read the source article, and immediately launched into Boilerplate Slashdot Encryption Rant #2156, and had to be gently, and then more forcibly, informed the "files" were stored on something called pay-per, and that the police seized bundles of this pay-per, each "sheet" (something like a megabyte, perhaps?) of which was covered with squiggly marks that apparently can be converted into human readable text if you scan it into a computer.

    An object lesson in how people project their own life experiences so thoroughly they can't conceive of anything different from themselves.

  59. J says

    @Luke:

    Hudson told TheDC that the couple had a run-in with the Maryland State Police about six years ago. “A neighbor complained on New Years Eve about one of us shooting a gun off the pier here,” she said. “We live right on the bay.”

    Hudson said the police gave them a slap on the wrist then. “They knew then we had these guns,” she said. “If this was a problem — that he wasn’t supposed to be around them — they should’ve told us then.”

    During the raid, the officers also went after Hudson’s three pistols and three long guns, which she obtained legally.

    “I’m a Kentucky girl,” she said. “I come kitchen trained, and firearm ready. I grew up with guns and I’ve always been around guns.”

    From the third page of the article Clark linked. The 2nd paragraph has her describing the firearms as "theirs", the 3rd references a collection of guns, in the 4rth she arguably self describes as a gun enthusiast. I'm not trying to draw too many conclusions though, the second paragraphs argument of the police already knowing about her/their possession of guns is strong. I'm really not comfortable with picking any narrative regarding the initial warrant as both of the offered versions seem more than plausible. Anything after that done to expose whistleblowers fits perfectly with the currents administrations efforts to scare the shit out of whistleblowers and hinder investigative journalism and is a scandal of its own.

  60. Luke says

    @Rob & @zen accountant – Thanks.

    @J – It's probably just me and my own preconceptions of what a "gun collector" is. I'm also from Kentucky and know plenty of people with 2-3 pistols & as many or more rifles but wouldn't describe any as gun collectors and never heard them refer to themselves like that.

  61. says

    Based on what I've heard about Maryland, owning muzzle-loading pistols dating to the Revolutionary War is likely to be described as "possessing a huge arsenal of military-grade firearms, of a type historically linked to violent anti-government extremists".

  62. Steven H. says

    @Luke

    @J – It's probably just me and my own preconceptions of what a "gun collector" is. I'm also from Kentucky and know plenty of people with 2-3 pistols & as many or more rifles but wouldn't describe any as gun collectors and never heard them refer to themselves like that.

    I think I fit that definition. I own considerably more than three rifles and three pistols, and I consider myself more "packrat" than "gun collector".

    When it comes right down to it, I hate the very idea of selling a gun, even if I don't use it anymore.

    Of course, I feel the same way about my books.

    …and my old jeans….

  63. wolfefan says

    @Clark –

    Apologies if someone raised this point earlier and I missed it, but I think your "Oh, please" is misplaced. The article you linked to says that the newspaper was indeed sold by NWC three years ago, but was sold for $1 to a group *more closely aligned* with the Unification Church. It is almost certainly more Moon-influenced now than prior to the sale; indeed, that was the point of the sale.

  64. Troutwaxer says

    A bit of advice for all concerned. If you find a story you believe to be important and you want to share it, use Google News to find a report made by a relatively neutral organization then read the story as told by the third party. This will have three important consequences: First, you will appear much more credible. Second, you will make sure that whatever tiny blog first carried the story is carrying the same version of the story as the mainstream press – you may discover that certain facts are being left out or overemphasized. Third, the discussion which follows your post is far less likely to be derailed by arguments about the provenance of the story.

  65. Tarrou says

    @ Troutwaxer,

    Your strategy also has the (unintended, I am certain) consequence of burying any story the "relatively neutral" media outlets choose, in no doubt perfectly neutral fashion, to ignore. Small price to pay for appearing credible on the internet, I think we can all agree.

  66. NI says

    Question: If the police seize something that isn't in the warrant, is that a basis for a Section 1983 lawsuit against them?

  67. says

    I have repeatedly had stories I link to on Facebook dismissed because the link is to Fox News. I then take great pleasure in pointing out the AP header at the top of the story. Some people still don't get it after that.

  68. Troutwaxer says

    Your strategy also has the (unintended, I am certain) consequence of burying any story the "relatively neutral" media outlets choose

    My experience has been that if the story is real, someone credible will always decide to go with it, if only because they need some filler on Page 8, so that's never been a problem. You may need to hit the "next" button a few times, however.

  69. says

    @wolfefan

    @Clark –

    Apologies if someone raised this point earlier and I missed it, but I think your "Oh, please" is misplaced. The article you linked to says that the newspaper was indeed sold by NWC three years ago, but was sold for $1 to a group *more closely aligned* with the Unification Church. It is almost certainly more Moon-influenced now than prior to the sale; indeed, that was the point of the sale.

    I did not read that far. I stand corrected.

  70. AlphaCentauri says

    Guns or not, no excuse to seize things so clearly unrelated to the warrant.

    BTW, any information about what he was resisting arrest for back in '86? Why the charge for resisting arrest but no charge for committing a crime that led to the arrest? If he was having alcohol or mental health problems and had to be subdued by the police, the prohibition about firearms for such a trivial offense might make sense. Mental health problems would probably rule out a Coast Guard career, but alcohol probably wouldn't.

  71. Piper says

    The Washington Times and the Daily Caller both have some credibility issues, but that didn't make this story incorrect (though the follow up does appear to shed a bit more light on the facts than the initial story).

  72. J says

    @Troutwaxer: how do you have so much certainty over what you cannot know? Stories get not covered every day, but just because you can't read about it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. The most powerful tool of journalism is the selection of what to actually report, not the way you report it.

  73. Tarrou says

    ITT thread, Troutwaxer proves a negative with his own experience. That is one experienced dude. He can tell, that in the entire world, no story of value is ever overlooked, much less for partisan reasons. Because he monitors all, and alone knows the difference. Have mercy upon us mortals, oh Troutwaxer, and give us the "relatively neutral media outlets" we should follow, for we know not which way to turn. Bestow upon us your knowledge, that we might discern the wheat from chaff.

    Let me guess, the NYT?

  74. says

    @Piper I'm still laughing at the comment upthread suggesting that those who dismiss the Daily Caller would have to "eat crow" because Stacey McCain, of all people, also covered the story…

    As always, your favored sources are vicious partisan liars, but my favored sources are lily-white bastions of honesty and integrity.

  75. Zen Accountant says

    Luke, please take Rob's comments over mine where they disagree.

    My comment about what persons A & B might have to do was personal speculation, which I should have differentiated from my professional experience of seeing "shall not possess" and "shall not have access to" separately on court orders.

    My training on interpreting the court orders was limited to the fines, fees, and assessments that the judge imposed & how to distribute them between various local government agencies, so take with a grain of salt.

    Thanks,

  76. Mike says

    The Atlantic has a statement from coasties:

    "In the course of a joint Federal & Maryland State Police investigation, a lawful search warrant was served on August 6, 2013 in Shadyside, MD. The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) was asked to participate since the search involved a Coast Guard employee. During the course of the search, the CGIS agent discovered government documents labeled FOUO – For Official Use Only (FOUO) and LES – Law Enforcement Sensitive. The files that contained these documents were cataloged on the search warrant inventory and taken from the premises. The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act. The CG employee was notified that the documents were cleared and the CG employee picked them up after signing for the documents."

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/10/conservative-reporter-says-feds-took-her-files-while-searching-home-guns/70941/

  77. Troutwaxer says

    That is one experienced dude. He can tell, that in the entire world, no story of value is ever overlooked, much less for partisan reasons.

    A long time ago, under my real name, I pushed a liberal line in a fairly hostile conservative environment, and I never had any trouble getting from "this story was covered at an obscure blog" to "oh look, National_News_Outlet is covering it too!" where "National_News_Outlet" was any major paper across the country. Finding the exact story I wanted to tell in a paper with good standing was the key to being credible.

    The key fact is this: The press is not monolithic. One paper's "that's too liberal" or "that's too conservative" is another paper's "this is an important local issue and we'll look like idiots if we don't cover it," and it's a third paper's "Our publisher hates the school board president so we're going with the story." And so on.

    You can always find a story that meets basic journalistic standards published somewhere uncontroversial. At worst you'll have to wait 24 hours.

    For the sarcastic types above, I posted my suggestion because I hate to see the discussion of something important like DHS seizing a journalist's files derailed into a gigantic discussion of whether the source is credible.* I'm not remotely omniscient; this is a lesson I learned the hard way and I'm passing it along in the hopes of avoiding ugly arguments in the future.

    In particular, I'm looking forward to Clark's piece about whether we've become a police state; I'd hate to see the follow-up discussion blown apart because he cites "Obscure Libertarian Blog" when he could be citing the Los Angeles Times.

    * I suspect that Popehat has gotten big enough to attract paid shills.

  78. Bob Brown says

    Nicholas Weaver has already mentioned operational security. With the availability of good sheet-fed scanners, I've become a fan of electronic filing. Scan it, and when it's backed up, shred it or recycle it.

    I don't encrypt very much stuff… a few financial records that are shared with my brother, who will some day be the executor of my estate. They are lists of credit card numbers, account numbers, etc. that are shared "in the cloud."

    If I were writing articles critical of the U.S. government and had confidential sources, you can bet your last nickel that my notes would be electronic, encrypted, and stored in at least two places.

    I live in the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. I think my encryption password would be safe. In any case, the fact of encryption would probably buy me enough time to consult a lawyer even if encrypted files were seized. I hope so.

  79. Tarrou says

    My problem, dear Troutwaxer, is that there are no "basic journalistic standards", there is only which side they root for. "Reasonable" and "objective" are the adjectives we use for the outlets on our side, while "shills" are "in the pocket" of our opponents. Nowhere is uncontroversial. There is only "close enough to my ideology to be relatively unobjectionable".

    I can respect your point, and in part, I agree. I do think we should do our best to source from the middle, on whatever we can. But the middle is only halfway between both sets of idiots. It is easily moved by whichever side can get nuttier. And I've seen enough to know how deep the media can bury any story they want spiked. It is not enough to trust them, occasionally, only the fringe will have an actual story, biased though it may be.

  80. The Partiot says

    @Luke

    You seem to be giving @J's "look at the sparklies" "argument" far too much attention. If the story was that little Timmy had been accused of helping himself to his granny's glaucoma medicine, and while at their home investigating, the police went next door and stole all the neighbor's garden gnomes, would you be so easily distracted by a "did granny have a legitimate prescription?" ploy?

  81. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou

    I think there are two issues:

    First, if only the fringe is carrying the story, even after waiting a couple days for the story to propagate through the various news services, there are likely problems with the story. It's sometimes possible to spend hours doing thorough research and discover that the amazing story from Conspirazy-Fringez.com is true despite that fact that major media won't cover it, but that's generally not worth the time due to my other point.

    Second: There's lots of low-hanging fruit for partisans of any vaguely sane idea. There's doubtless an amazing story about something out there that's not being covered by the major media. But there are tons of good stories about something similar that have automatic credibility because the Seattle Times or the Miami Herald have covered them. So go for the low-hanging fruit, it's much easier and probably more effective.

    My own take is that as the blogosphere has become more powerful, the media is backing off just a little. They're doing it slowly and very uncomfortably, but they know that when they screw up they will be called out for it, more or less instantly.

    At the same time we see stories like the one Clark posted above. Even though I'm a Liberal and the reporter being attacked is a Conservative, this is a very ugly story. Audrey Hudson has obviously done good work in the past, and the people who served and granted the warrant need to be taken down hard!

    ** I made some minor edits for readability after this was posted. They don't affect any of the points I was making, they just fixed some clumsy construction and a spelling error.

  82. Tarrou says

    @ Troutwaxer,

    Let me ask, is any local or national Fox "mainstream" enough? Because if not, you are basically requiring as a personal benchmark that any right-wing red meat make it past liberal newspeople, and their editors before it's kosher to talk about. And left wing red meat is the daily headline.

    Those who rest on "standards" are generally those most powerful in teh establishment, right? Isn't that the assumption on which all leftist social commentary rests? So handwaving at "journalistic standards" would generally be considered the mark of an insider who benefits from the slant of journalism today.

  83. En Passant says

    Bob Brown wrote Oct 26, 2013 @9:02 am:

    I live in the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. I think my encryption password would be safe. In any case, the fact of encryption would probably buy me enough time to consult a lawyer even if encrypted files were seized. I hope so.

    Enough time to consult a lawyer before they use the the $5 wrench decryption method? Or after?

  84. Bob Brown says

    @En Passant:
    I know about the $5 wrench method. I'm not sure much of that happens with "public-facing" government agencies. Even if it does, if files are encrypted, and not the entire disk, it will take some time to discover that fact. Unless I'm hauled off to a secret prison, a possibility that I do not entirely discount, I'm going to be on the horn to a lawyer before anyone discovers they need a wrench.

    I hope Nicholas Weaver will comment on full-disk encryption (immediately obvious) vs. file encryption (potentially less obvious.) Full disk encryption makes sense to me for lawyers because it's harder to mess up, and I think they're unlikely to get the wrench approach. I wonder about people like reporters.

    Maybe I'll make a TrueCrypt "container" called exam_questions.db (I'm a teacher.) Let 'em try opening it with Access, MySQL, etc. while I call for help.

  85. AlphaCentauri says

    @Tarrou,

    I had no trouble understanding Troutwaxer's original post, which basically says, "If you want to use a news item to prove a point, you will be more effective if you can find the same item in a news outlet that your listeners consider more reliable." He's going to be more effective at communicating than you are, because he's trying to be aware of the point of view of his audience .. and also because he isn't using insulting snark as his first-line rhetorical device.

  86. En Passant says

    Bob Brown wrote Oct 26, 2013 @10:21 am:

    Maybe I'll make a TrueCrypt "container" called exam_questions.db (I'm a teacher.) Let 'em try opening it with Access, MySQL, etc. while I call for help.

    For extra amusement, or possibly to receive benefit of more expensive wrenches, make its decrypted contents consist of actual exam questions.

  87. Fasolt says

    "I’m a Kentucky girl,” she said. “I come kitchen trained, and firearm ready. I grew up with guns and I’ve always been around guns.”

    There's your money quote for the day. All of us should be kitchen trained and firearm ready.

  88. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou,

    I think that each story needs to me evaluated on it's merits. I trend Liberal, but that doesn't mean that Conservatives aren't right sometimes. Just to pick something out of the air, Benghazi is a really important issue, and I'd applaud any media outlet that covers it despite the fact that right-wingers successfully use it to attack the Obama Administration. The problems with the ACA website are another important story where the right-wing news-stories reflect a real-world problem. I've noted with some approval that right-wingers are becoming much more concerned with civil liberties than they've been in the past; note for example the Cato Institute's Google map of botched SWAT raids and their general position against the Drug War.

    As to the idea that left-wing concerns predominate the news, any Liberal will cite example after example of right-wing media bias. The New York Times publishing Judith Miller's stories in the run-up to the Iraq war is a very good example, along with the whole "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" thing. Or note the continuing coverage of the Government Shutdown as a problem with "both sides." I could go on at some length, but I suspect that both sides are accurate in to some degree in their contempt for the media; most journalists aren't experts in anything but journalism, and the tendency of journalists to call on think tanks rather than subject-matter experts for opinions doesn't help. (I'm very much an expert on computer issues; the amount of sheer, unadulterated WRONG journalists generate on the subject is amazing!)

    As to Fox News… they have an amazing record of being Just Plain Wrong about damn near anything. I don't consider them a reliable source not because of their right-wing bias – everyone is entitled to their opinion – but because they're wrong so frequently, often in ways that are examples of completely incompetent sloppiness rather than bias. Consider the following:

    Wrong about the March on Washington. (Poor fact-checking.)

    Announced death of the wrong Ravi Shankar. (Poor fact-checking and not even political.)

    Wrong about Ron Paul. (I'm not sure whether this is an example of malice or sloppiness in handling the footage.)

    Wrong about Obama's social security number. (This one undermines a right-wing narrative.)

    That's probably enough for one post – I don't want to get moderated for having too many URLs, so I'll continue this on another post – but note that all of these URLs show an incredible level of incompetence; poor fact-checking, use of the wrong footage, etc. They aren't an acceptable source because of this problem.

  89. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou,

    Here are more examples of Fox being wrong:

    Wrong about the death of OBAMA bin Laden. (Wishful spelling error or right-wing propaganda? You decide!!)

    Footage of Greek riot not Russian protest. (Once again, they use the wrong footage! The real footage about the Russian protest is a lot more peaceful, isn't it?)

    Wrong about Polar Bears. (Multiple errors of fact due to consulting an "expert" who is a paid shill for Exxon Mobil.)

    Stuff like this is why I don't trust Fox News. The wrong is everywhere! There are a lot of organizations reporting news from a right-wing perspective. Get your news from one of them instead – Fox News simply can't get basic, obvious facts right!

    Even more Fox News errors to come in the next post!

  90. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou,

    I think you'll have to wait for my replies to your latest post. They're in moderation, probably due to too many URLs. Sorry.

  91. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou,

    Here are my last Fox News URLs. Enjoy the wrong!

    Wrong about the the Post Office. (Malice or poor fact-checking?)

    Wrong about Gas prices in the run-up to the election. (This is clearly propaganda.)

    Wrong about green jobs. (Because bar graphs are so hard to read!)

    Wrong about the Supreme Court decision. (This one made the New York Times. It looks like they were in a hurry and didn't read the whole decision. Or maybe wishful thinking. Regardless, it's a great big oops!)

  92. Tarrou says

    Question, Trout. How many boneheaded BS stories do I have to link from your favorite news organization before you concede they aren't significantly more accurate than Fox? I'm not defending Fox's accuracy, they have the accuracy of a news organization, which is perfectly 180 degrees wrong 100% of the time. If it's in a news story, you can bet they got it wrong somehow. As you say, in the areas you have expertise, you notice every little inaccuracy, and you know they never, ever get it right. Well, it's like that for every field. If you are picking your news outlet by accuracy, you might as well pick your toilet by flavor.

    Here, let's swing some NY Times "layers and layers of editors" around the room, see what flies out.

    The Times can't read its own surveys:

    http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/10/07/new-york-times-to-new-yorkers-youre-supporting-the-wrong-mayoral-candidate/

    The Times, in a feature piece about Glock, misidentifies a 1911-style Les Baer custom jobbie as a "Glock .40". The caliber is clearly legible in the picture.

    http://www.fw2a.com/pics/nytglock.jpg

    Times fucks up some basic science, leading to wildly misleading article about autism:

    http://www.autismpolicyblog.com/2013/08/bad-reporting-in-new-york-times.html

    In an article reprising Walter Cronkite's life as a newscaster, the NY Times admits: "The newspaper had wrong dates for historic events; gave incorrect information about Cronkite’s work, his colleagues and his program’s ratings; misstated the name of a news agency, and misspelled the name of a satellite."

    The Times has featured Judith Miller, Jayson Blair and Walter Duranty.

    And these were just things I had open at the time of writing. If you care to take a spin though TimesWatch, BoycottNYT, or any of the other organizations dedicated to sticking it to the Grey Lady, I'm sure you will find many, many more.

    The point is not that the NY Times is uniquely bad. They're probably more accurate than average. But the fact that Fox gets things wrong is not a mark against them. Getting stories wrong is what media does. Being twice as accurate as an outlet which gets things right less than one percent of the time doesn't make you reliable.

  93. BradnSA says

    FRAT reading all of the late "my source is better than your source" post, but did anyone mention that the Enquirer had the John Edwards story long before the mainstream press would deign to cover it.

  94. Bastardo Viejo says

    "Libertarian Utopia"

    Fantasy fiction, right? In my version of the libertarian utopia I divide my time between mixing up patented children's medicines in my bathtub (equal parts water and ethylene glycol) and mailing out mimeographed copies of Ayn Rand quotes to bereaved parents as a comfort in their time of loss.

  95. Bob Brown says

    En Passant wrote Oct 26, 2013 @11:36 am

    For extra amusement, or possibly to receive benefit of more expensive wrenches, make its decrypted contents consist of actual exam questions.

    TrueCrypt will actually let you to that… have two sets of content, opened by two different passwords. I gotta get some more tinfoil for my hat before I go to that much trouble, though.

  96. Bob Brown says

    Tice with a J wrote Oct 26, 2013 @6:46 pm

    …Fox News is the station that fought for the right to intentionally falsify the news. Really, what more needs to be said about them?

    My non-lawyer understanding is that it's OK for cops to lie to suspects, but a crime for suspects to lie to the cops.

    Let us be very careful about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys here. The cops and Fox both claim the same prerogative. Are they both evil? If not, what's the difference?

    Personal opinion: liars suck.

  97. David Schwartz says

    @Tice

    That was just the easiest way for them to win the lawsuit.

    If someone sues you for doing something you have a right to do, even if it's something awful, you too would likely argue that you have the right to do it. If someone sued you for being a rude jerk, wouldn't you likely argue that you have a right to be a rude jerk? Would it then be fair to paint you as the person who sued for the right to be a rude jerk?

  98. Troutwaxer says

    Hey Tarrou,

    What got me angry was this:

    Let me ask, is any local or national Fox "mainstream" enough? Because if not, you are basically requiring as a personal benchmark that any right-wing red meat make it past liberal newspeople, and their editors before it's kosher to talk about. And left wing red meat is the daily headline.

    It sounded like you were making my approval of Fox News into a litmus test, and that really pissed me off because I thought we were actually having a civil discussion. But the standard rightwing ideological purity test was apparently more important than anything else you could have said!

    I can haz sad now?

    For the record, I'm not a fan of the NYT for all the reasons you mentioned and more. They have more mainstream credibility than any other news organization in the US, they have a huge pool of highly trained reporters, bureaus on every continent and stringers in every country, all capable of reporting really important stuff to a very high standard… The NYT is the most chickenshit newspaper in the goddamn country; desperately afraid to lose their status in Washington and deeply deficient in moral character. You will always find the Times in a DC bathroom, their face buried ears-deep in the ass-crack of some powerful sociopath. Somehow the NYT manages to be simultaneously infuriating and pathetic.

    In the "NYT felches VIP" scenario above, Fox News is the crippled, gangrenous, half-blind cockroach hiding behind the towel dispenser. Despite all the very real errors made by other news organizations, Fox is by far the worst in terms of being ideologically motivated, inaccurate, and just plain sloppy. Finding ways in which Fox is provably wrong is like shooting fish in a barrel. The stupid just goes on and on and on… It literally takes longer to format the URL with an "a href" tag than to google something new they've been wrong about. Would you like a couple dozen more links?

    For now I'll give you just one. This particular Fox screwup blows my mind into smithereens! It's sad and skeezy beyond any other piece of idiocy I've seen from them. Fox News cited a part of the US Constitution that doesn't exist! Follow the link and you'll see that they added a new article and a new section to the Constitution. If you ever thought Fox was remotely credible, (and note Tice with a J's comment above) this should kill the idea.

  99. Anony Mouse says

    For those snearing at the police searching for a potato gun, please note that they are quite real and are not toys:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_cannon

    They may be made out of PVC, but launch anything fast enough and you can still hurt people. Furthermore, many states regulate them, or even classify them as firearms (although Maryland doesn't appear to).

  100. Anony Mouse says

    Also, Trout, you're casting your "Fox News" net awfully wide. A local affiliate isn't the cable news network any more than NBC-5 in Chicago is MSNBC. And while Bill O'Reilly is a fun punching bag, he's a commentary host. That's rather like saying that because Maureen Dowd said something stupid you can't trust the New York Times.

  101. Anony Mouse says

    Fox News cited a part of the US Constitution that doesn't exist!

    That's the one that makes your blood boil? Really? A misattribution? Because they said "U.S. Constitution, Article 28, Sec. 144" instead of "Title 28 of the U.S. Code, Section 455"? It's certainly sloppy, but "skeezy"?

  102. En Passant says

    That's the one that makes your blood boil? Really? A misattribution? Because they said "U.S. Constitution, Article 28, Sec. 144" instead of "Title 28 of the U.S. Code, Section 455"? It's certainly sloppy, but "skeezy"?

    It's also a deadly sin.

    "Suffer not to live those scribes who cite my law in error, and woe to him who preacheth their error to unwitting ears." — Second Deuteronicus 13:17

  103. J says

    @Partiot:

    "You seem to be giving @J's "look at the sparklies" "argument" far too much attention."

    There is a difference between diversion and specification. I have made no attempt whatsoever to divert anyone's attention from the fact that law enforcement seized documents they shouldn't have under the supervision of a member of an agency those documents are interesting to, I even expanded it to the bigger picture. Being able to see there might have been a reasonable explanation for the conduct before this seizure does not mean I am in favor of the conduct afterwards, nor that I am trying to divert attention from it. Just because I'm not eating everything I'm fed at once, doesn't mean we aren't rooting for the same side.

  104. Tarrou says

    See Troutwaxer, it's not about Fox. I'm not a Fox fan, I almost never watch them (Gutfeld is the only palatable person on the channel). But they are the only TV channel NOT standard line leftist. In the papers, what, the WSJ? And that's pretty establishment-level Republican leaning. Where does a Libertarian get news? At least Fox gave Stossel a show. So we primarily draw from internet sources, because there aren't any mainstream ones.

    What infuriates me is people who complain that their opponents aren't using media outlets which hate them, and are consistently ideologically biased against them.

  105. Troutwaxer says

    Troutwaxer — you missed the Fox News geography fail!

    That one is a real scream. I actually had it on my first list of URLs, but somehow forgot to post it. My bad. (It might be the one where I screwed up the URL.)

    :(

  106. Troutwaxer says

    But they are the only TV channel NOT standard line leftist. In the papers, what, the WSJ? And that's pretty establishment-level Republican leaning. Where does a Libertarian get news?

    Most American newspapers are moderately conservative. This is also true of most TV news. It's worth noting that most of Europe sees a paper like the LA Times or Chicago Tribune as disturbingly right wing. The big hint you need to understand this is that Liberals complain about the NYT just as much as Conservatives do, though for exactly the opposite reasons. (If you don't believe this hang out at Daily Kos for awhile.)

    Before you disagree, note that in the last thirty years people like Rush Limbaugh have pushed the Overton Window much further to the right than it once was, with the result that a standard, corporate, "business as usual" editorial policy is seen as damn-near communistic by much of the country. Our current version of "normal" is about fifteen degrees rightward of fairly conservative, capitalist countries like France or Germany. (Yes, I know you think of them as "socialist" but that's pretty unclear thinking.)

    Much of the "Libertarian" propaganda you hear is a purely corporate attempt to roll back Roosevelt-style reforms, which were directed at making sure two things happened: First, that the spoils of capitalism were distributed fairly, (a "New Deal" to prevent our own Bolshevik revolution, because the "old deal" was leading in a rather ugly direction) and second, that banks could either store savings and make loans, OR engage in investment, but not both, (so we didn't have another stock market crash.)

    I'm simplifying outrageously, of course, but a look at the Wikipedia articles on the New Deal and Glass-Steagal would probably be a good place to start – it sounds like you've been sucked in by the anti-Roosevelt propaganda.

  107. AlphaCentauri says

    News Corp (parent company of Fox News) bought the Wall Street Journal. The parent company just split, but Rupert Murdoch is the chairman of both of the resulting companies.

  108. Tarrou says

    Troutwaxer,

    I'm not even going to argue the media bit with someone who can say things like:

    Most American newspapers are moderately conservative. This is also true of most TV news.

    with a straight face. I just have nothing for it. I mean, I could refute, but the sheer volume of links is likely to bring the banhammer, and I doubt it would have any effect. Suffice it to say I believe you are hilariously, deludedly wrong.

    But there is a point I'd like to address, your conception of political direction. "Conservative" is not a political direction when one speaks internationally, as it is only the status quo of a given government. In America, Most democrats are conservative, with a progressive wing. Most Republicans are mildly reactionary, with a progressive wing. We don't have much in the way of radicals, and they mostly spend their time ranting about black helicopters or shitting on sidewalks.

    I would like to know your definition of "right-wing" as opposed to the mere intransigence of conservatism. Conservatism is merely the inertia of society, it is not an ideology. And free markets are traditionally a liberal, left wing marker until marxism. But marxism has only ever been implemented as dictatorial central bureaucracy, scarcely distinguishable from old, "right-wing" reactionary monarchy.

    Basically, I want to know your conception of the "left" versus "right" paradigm, which I discarded log ago as insufficiently descriptive, but which I still have to use as it is the only shorthand most understand.

  109. Joe Blow says

    She was on the local radio this morning. More details. 1) She's a Washington Times reporter who does Homeland and National Security news reporting; 2) She's a licensed firearms owner who purchased her weapons lawfully within Maryland; 3) the Coast Guard Investigations agent who was present was formerly an Air Marshall, whom her whistleblowers had implicated in irregularities; 4) During the friendly visit, he said to her, "Hey, aren't you that reporter?" and then went rifling through her professional papers. Moreover – they weren't able to obtain a warrant from any judges in her county but had to forum shop to find a judge willing to buy the story that "potato launcher" is underworld code for an unlawful silencer.

    I wouldn't worry about the questionable sources on this ("The Daily Caller." The reporter herself…)

    She indicated she and the Washington Times will be filing a lawsuit sometime this week. You'll be able to get the details from a relatively reliable document, a federal lawsuit filing provided under oath. I know, I know, "It's just an allegation…" She's also filing a second lawsuit related to the unlawful seizure of *her* weapons. The husband had no weapons.

    Here. Have some Kool Aid.

  110. Troutwaxer says

    I'm not even going to argue the media bit with someone who can say things like:


    Most American newspapers are moderately conservative. This is also true of most TV news.

    Hey Tarrou,

    Everyone else seems to have left the thread, so I'll try to keep this quick: You're not noticing that cultures other than your's have opinions. Real Liberals generally find most American news media to be horribly conservative and generally clueless on a wide range of issues and attitudes. We see the mainstream media as sexist, racist, classist, much too corporate, much too willing to believe press releases and official statements from police/governments and generally clueless about anyplace outside of the US.

    My POV is a bit more comprehensive than that of most Liberals or Conservatives. I've travelled extensively and spent time with extremists from both sides, so I know how far Liberalism stretches to the left and how far Conservatism stretches to the right.

    Most conservatives actually believe* that Bill Clinton was a liberal/socialist and don't understand that for all practical purposes he's actually a conservative democrat who rejects 70-80 percent of leftist thought. From observing this phenomena countless times I've come to the conclusion that most conservatives don't understand the difference between propaganda and actual measurement of liberalism/leftism on some kind of quantifiable scale.** As a result of this misunderstanding, conservatives actually believe that the mainstream press is Liberal. This belief essentially ignores about 70 percent of leftist thought!

    I would like to know your definition of "right-wing" as opposed to the mere intransigence of conservatism. Conservatism is merely the inertia of society, it is not an ideology.

    I tend to think of the "inertia of society" as "small-c" conservatism. I tend to be a "small-c" conservative myself and want to see that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed before I can get behind a course of action. My philosophy is fairly Liberal but I definitely want all my ducks in a row before I commit.

    "Big-C" Conservatism is a political philosophy. In the US (in functional terms) Conservatism seems to be a combination of racism, religion and a heavily pro-business ideology all mixed up with a very strong dose of fear that goes well beyond the "inertia" you mention above.

    The big problems in understanding this are that most people are pretty blind to the idea that our society is heavily influenced by business, and even the most avidly racist politician will insist that s/he's not a racist. (If you don't believe that Conservatism in the US has racist roots, I invite you to consider Lee Atwater's famous quote on the Southern Strategy.)

    I seem to have failed completely at keeping this reply brief – I usually don't make this big an effort when most of the people reading have left the thread – I hope it makes where I'm coming from a bit more clear.

    *This is a shockingly clueless belief!

    ** Obviously no attempt to quantify political thought will be incredibly rigorous, but Conservatives should at least consider that such a quantification is possible and look for evidence about where a particular politician is placed. Such evidence should be based on the politician's actual actions in office; Democrats tend to run to the left of their actual behavior while Republicans generally run to the right of their actual behavior.

  111. says

    @Troutwaxer

    Most American newspapers are moderately conservative.

    Jesus. I picked the wrong day to stop huffing paint thinner.

  112. Tarrou says

    Right, so "conservatism" or "right-wing" ideology is just racism, religion and money to you. I could have written that blind as an intellectual Turing test, but I'd have felt the need to temper it somewhat so I didn't sound like an idiot.

    You are basically the mirror image of those right-wingers whose explanation of "left-wing" thought is that they are all atheist muslim communists who hate America.

    Oh, and the Atwater bit? One guy makes one comment in the '80s, and henceforward for all time, one half of the political spectrum is racist! That's some deep and incisive thought right there. I mean, I just can't stand up to that sort of evidence. Guess I have to rethink my life, Lee Atwater was clearly a mind wizard who was capable of making everyone who voted for Reagan a racist. Tough times.