Yes and the FBI has always performed numerous illegal tactics, false testimony, false statements, in order to make sure bullshit cases that have really no evidence to the offending charges, can go to trial or entrap someone to make a plea deal.
So what was done here beside piling charges on and then removing them once they were challenged?
"making threats to an FBI agent and his family." what could have said did he actually threaten to kill him and his family? Or did he threaten to write up a story on him and his family to drag him thru the mud? SO its okay for the feds to do it, but not okay for someone to fight fire with fire?
It is illegal any time you threaten or retaliate unlawfully on any public employee or elected official over something they did in the course of their employment. If he just did it, it wouldn't be illegal but when he threatens because of performing a responsibility of the job, it became illegal. That's the law as it is written. It can be challenged in court but as of now, your elected representatives intended to have it law and a duly elected president signed it into law so it is the law that has to be followed until it is repealed or overturned.
He is a journalist, and was suppose to have protections, hiding the laptops protects any information either about people involved, or incriminating evidence that he knows will be used against him. Freedom of Press allows that. [it used to anyway]
I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way. I'm prejudging my interpretations on actually real world examples and not theory spouted as a defense or ideal.
Whether you like the guy or not, it is these types of cases that have allowed the government to take away more and more freedoms from not only the press [the mainstream press peddle government BS anyway and really are worthless] but from the people.
The only way these kind of cases can allow the government to take more and more freedoms away from the people is for it to either not come to conclusion or to have the hyperbole associated with it overwhelm the facts making it more then what it is. In the later scenario, everything will be considered fine up until the exaggerations happen which doesn't seem to have happened in this case.
Anyways, if it is as you say, then either the government can already do as it pleases or the courts will stop them and the only way for that to happen is for the courts to stop them or allow it to happen. Courts are not supposed to be subject to public opinion, only juries.