Award winning investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has announced she is suing the Department of Justice “alleging certain violations of her constitutional rights based on information implicating the federal government in illegal electronic monitoring and surveillance of her home and business computers and phones from 2011 to 2013.”
In her book “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington,” Attkisson alleges that the Obama Administration spied on her via a “government-related entity” that also planted classified documents on her computer in an attempt to have one of her sources or Attkisson herself arrested. She also provided a video showing one of the times her computer was taken over (Below).
According to the press release announcing the suit:
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.
In May 2013, the Department of Justice issued a written response to questions from the news media stating, “To our knowledge, the Justice Department has never compromised Ms. Attkisson’s computers, or otherwise sought any information from or concerning any telephone, computer, or other media device she may own or use.”
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Attkisson learned that the F.B.I. opened a case on her computer intrusions in June 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. Based on the government’s decision to ignore Attkisson’s requests, Attkisson and her family have chosen the only available option left to them.
Attkisson stated, “The personal rights secured by our Constitution have a long and accepted history. At the very core of those rights is the right to be free in our own homes from unreasonable governmental intrusion. Although I would have much preferred to have resolved this efficiently with dialogue and disclosure, until the government is open, honest, and fully truthful with my family about what transpired, we have chosen to use the only means available to us as citizens to try and force full disclosure and honest answers to the many questions that have been raised during the investigation conducted to date.”
The NY Post published part of Attkisson’s account of learning about the computer hack:
This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.
She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did.
Attkisson says her source — identified only as “Number One” — told her the spying was most likely not court-authorized because it went on far longer than most legal taps.
The source also reported to Attkisson the government planted three classified documents that were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
Last week Attkisson announced she was joining with Judicial Watch on a Freedom of Information Act suit to obtain all documents relating to the FBI surveillance of the journalist relating to Fast and Furious.
Some (such as Dylan Byers of Politico) have claimed Attkisson’s fighting against the govt. intrusion for self-promotion. These claims avoid one crucial fact, she don’t need the self- promotion. Sharyl Attkisson is an award winning journalists whose reputation has only grown since she told CBS News to shove it for trying to limit what and how she covered a story.
Ms. Attkisson’s lawsuit and her claims of government surveillance all have a foundation in fact and like any good reporter is trying to pursue the truth. Her tale should be as frightening to Americans as was the NSA scandal of a year ago.