“Worse than anything Nixon ever did,” former CBS reporter Sharly Attkisson says in her new book.
In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.
“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.”
According to Attkisson’s contact, the agency was able to scoop up all of her keystrokes and therefore all of her passwords. That gave them access to her financial records and to programs like Skype, which they turned on “heavily” and probably used to listen to Attkisson in her home and wherever she happened to be with her computer at the time.
The agency also, according to Attkisson, placed three classified documents on her machine, “buried deep” in her operating system. She would have been extremely unlikely to find them, but a criminal forensics probe would probably have turned them up. Attkisson’s freedom would have been in serious jeopardy. She could have been cast by the government as a criminal, even a threat to national security.
Of all of the crimes that the government has committed during the Obama era, with the IRS targeting scandal leading the way, the computer assault on Attkisson may be the most frightening and pernicious. It is the targeting of a single individual who was exercising a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, possibly with the aim of jailing her and destroying her reputation in order to silence her and frighten others.
The Obama administration, all the way up to the top of the Justice Department, has spied on a number of journalists. It targeted and considered bringing charges against Fox’s James Rosen. The Obama administration also spied on the Associated Press through a wide sweep of reporters’ phone records.
The spying on Attkisson, though, went deep into her home and her personal life. It looks like it was engineered to put her in jail. At the time it was going on, the Obama administration was embroiled in two scandals that Attkisson was a key reporter on: Fast and Furious, and Benghazi. At that same time, Attkisson worked for CBS News, helmed by CBS News president David Rhodes. His brother, Ben Rhodes, is a national security adviser to President Barack Obama, and was deeply involved in editing the controversial Benghazi talking points blaming an obscure YouTube movie for the attack that killed four Americans. CBS began to kill Attkisson’s stories about the scandal, and she eventually left the network.
Attkisson doesn’t name the three-letter agency that spied on her, but given DoJ’s role in the first scandal and its foot-dragging to investigate the second, and Attorney General Eric Holder’s personal loyalty to President Obama, the three-letter agency seems most likely to be the Federal Bureau of Investigation.