Actual Hacking: Every Reporter Needs To Understand Sharyl Attkisson’s Case Against The US Government
Sharyl Attkisson was a star investigative reporter for CBS News. After two decades at the network, she resigned on March 10, 2014.
Among the controversial stories she covered: the Fast and Furious gun-walking program, in which the government “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them” (LA Times, 10/3/11); the Benghazi attacks and murders; the CDC fraud in grossly overestimating the number of Swine Flu cases in America.
Attkisson now hosts a weekly television news program, Full Measure, for the Sinclair Broadcast Group. She writes at sharylattkisson.com.
Attkisson is also engaged in a struggle with the federal government.
Attkisson writes: “I just filed my latest appeal to the FBI’s improper withholding of my FBI file. You may not know it, but every American citizen—even a lowly reporter—is entitled to see his FBI file, if one exists.”
I queried Attkisson about this yesterday, and she replied: “I find it unacceptable that the federal government, and specifically the nation’s top law enforcement agency (DOJ), would be party to improperly—and I believe unlawfully—withholding public and personal materials that we (not they) own.”
For some reason, Attkisson isn’t permitted to see her FBI file. Why? The answer may lie in the government’s role as a hacker. A hacker of Attkisson’s computers.
Attkisson writes at her website: “I have a separate federal lawsuit underway against the federal government over illegal surveillance of my work and home computers by intruders using software proprietary to a U.S. intelligence agency. The intrusions were detected and confirmed by three independent forensics exams in 2013.”
“So far, the government has not cooperated with my lawsuit. For example, without even filing the required motion, government officials failed to show up for a properly-noticed deposition in the case.”
Here, from a press release, are details about the hack of Attkisson’s computers:
“On December, 27, 2014, Investigative Journalist Sharyl Attkisson filed administrative claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Service, and certain unnamed employees and/or agents of the federal government. Shortly thereafter, a lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia alleging certain violations of Attkisson’s constitutional rights based on information implicating the federal government in illegal electronic monitoring and surveillance of her home and business computers and phones.”
“As outlined in the claims, three separate computer forensics exams revealed that intruders used sophisticated, remote capabilities to monitor Attkisson’s work. The intruders installed and periodically ‘refreshed’ software used to exfiltrate data, obtain Attkisson’s passwords to various personal and work accounts, access the CBS News computer system, and monitor Attkisson’s audio using a Skype account. Forensics also revealed evidence of U.S. government-related involvement in the surveillance.”
“Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Attkisson learned that the F.B.I. opened a case on her computer intrusions in 2013, listing her as the victim, but the agency failed to interview her in the investigation or even notify her that one had been opened. To date, U.S. government officials have failed to fully cooperate with Attkisson’s efforts to learn about the intrusions, and have failed to fully respond to numerous requests to help provide information necessary to learn the truth. As a consequence of the government’s choice to ignore Attkisson’s requests, Attkisson and her family have chosen the only available option left to them.”
Yesterday, I asked Attkisson: in your opinion, why were your computers hacked?
She wrote: “On the lawsuit over the hacking: The reason I had my computers analyzed in the first place is because government sources had approached me and told me I was likely being ‘surveilled’ due to the reporting I had been conducting, especially some of my CBS News stories that were published online. They specifically mentioned my Benghazi reporting, which I began in fall of 2012. The forensics analyses were able to determine multiple unauthorized remote intrusions of my computers using software (proprietary to a federal government agency) that occurred prior to my Benghazi reporting, however. One such intrusion, for example, occurred in February 2012 (we have the date, time and method of entry) and another in July 2012. Stories I covered during this time period included Green Energy Waste stories that the Obama administration worked very hard to stop from airing on CBS, as well as Fast and Furious reports, among others. Among other details, the forensics exams were able to determine that the intruders not only accessed the CBS system, and used Skype to surreptitiously listen in on conversations, but also examined several files and photos related to Fast and Furious.”
“In addition to two separate forensics exams that I had conducted, CBS hired a forensics company that confirmed the remote intrusions. The analyst informed CBS, among other things, ‘I have definitive evidence that shows commands were run from Sharyl’s user account that she did not personally authorize during the timeframe of concern’ and ‘This history has been deliberately removed from Sharyl’s hard drive’ by a third party.”
—Read Attkisson’s next paragraph carefully. It’s explosive. It indicates Dept. of Justice (DOJ) lying and cover-up:
“A fourth forensics exam conducted by DOJ Inspector General of a different computer (only my personal computer that I asked them to examine in hopes they would recognize the government software, CBS would not give them the CBS computers in question) also confirmed the suspicious activities and that a third party deliberately removed files from my personal computers to cover their tracks. However, this information was omitted from a summary the DOJ IG released, which instead made it incorrectly sound as though intrusions had been ruled out. (The DOJ IG will not lawfully respond to FOIA requests for the documentation showing the investigators confirming the suspicious activities. I know the documents exist because the investigators let me review them during the investigation and briefed me on their findings.)”
“The 2012 intrusion dates I mentioned were NOT the sum total of intrusions—they were two dates we know of during which software was planted in my computers. The software was then used on an ongoing basis to access files, watch my keystrokes, etc.”
CBS agrees that Attkisson’s computers were hacked. Here is an excerpt from an August 7, 2013, article posted at the CBS news site:
“CBS News announced Friday that correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by ‘an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,’ confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.”
“CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said that a cybersecurity firm hired by CBS News ‘has determined through forensic analysis’ that ‘Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012’.”
“Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion. CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”
“Several months ago, Attkisson had reported suspected intrusions of her computers, including her CBS News work computer, prompting CBS News to hire a firm to look into the hacking.”
My comment: As indicated at the beginning of this article, Attkisson is unable to see her FBI file. The FBI won’t show it to her. This is a breach of law. They won’t show it to her because it would reveal the FBI and DOJ stance on her investigative work at CBS. They didn’t like her work. They considered it a threat. They considered it an exposure of truths they wanted kept under wraps, relating to Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Green Energy Waste, etc.
That FBI file would lend further strength to Attkisson’s claim that the Dept. of Justice has been lying about what they found when they investigated the hacking of her computers.
For example: They found that some of their own people (FBI/DOJ) and/or people at other government agencies had done the hacking.
Major media consider this story “dead until further notice.” But independent journalists all over the world shouldn’t. They should cover it aggressively and keep the pot boiling, and make sure the public understands what is at stake: the right to report actual news, free from government interference and intimidation.
And the right to call government on the carpet, in court, under oath, to account for their crimes.
Along with thanks and compliments to the sources for the shared data
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