Fishbowl5 With Daily Caller’s Pappas

Late 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.

3. What was the reaction, both good and bad, to your story?

The story broke on Friday. I probably got more emails and calls about it than from any story I’ve ever written. And unlike most stories I write, most — if not all — of those emails were from people outraged over what happened to Audrey.

4. Will the reporter continue being a journalist, what sense did you get from her on that?

It hasn’t stopped Audrey from doing journalism yet. She now works as a freelance reporter for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer.

5. If her husband was legally not supposed to have guns why did he and did the woman have anything to say to explain that?

The search warrant said agents raided Audrey’s home because her husband isn’t allowed to have guns because of a past criminal conviction. He was found guilty of resisting arrest almost 30 years ago. What made them go after him now? Audrey suggested to me that she’s more convinced the raid was not really about guns, but about obtaining her files. Now, is that really true? The law enforcement involved right now is not really saying much, citing the on-going gun case, except to say they took the files because they wanted to know why she had official government documents. (She had obtained them legally, through a Freedom of Information Act request).

Bonus Q: Did the reporter go on and off record throughout the interview process or was she anxious to spill and get everything out there? What I’m getting at here is was she, is she afraid about saying what she did in your story, could there be repercussions?

It was great interviewing a reporter for this story instead of a spokesman. I spoke to her for a long time. Audrey answered every question I had.