investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson has strong forensic
evidence that her home computer was remotely accessed by government
entities, nothing has been done about it. The Department of Justice
should be paying attention, because Attkisson believes she wasn't
the only person who was improperly spied on during the Obama years.
Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) introduced the Free Flow
of Information Act in November of 2017 "to protect the exercise of
freely reporting critical information to the American public by
establishing federal protection from compulsory disclosures for
was reporting on the Benghazi scandal for CBS News in late 2012 when
her computer records were surveilled by a government entity on
multiple occasions. She is now the host ofFull
Measure, a Sunday public affairs program.
told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) at the hearing on Tuesday that there
was no doubt in her mind that the government had intruded into her
an actual fingerprint on the software that is used for this that
they recognize themselves -- or that can be recognized -- that it's
very unique," she explained. "It's a government proprietary
software. And not only that, they didn't just look at my computer
records, according to forensics. They planted three classified
documents in my computer, they had a keystroke monitoring program in
there, they used Skype -- which was on my computer -- to secretly
activate it to exfiltrate files and listen in on audio."
noted that a lot of people, including her, didn't know that Skype
could be used for such purposes, but it's just one of many tools
spooks use to access your computer remotely.
don't believe I was unique in terms of the only journalist this
happened to,"she added. "I was just
one who found out about it because I had intel sources."
explained to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that it had never occurred to
her that the government would be spying on her, as it sounded "so
wildly crazy." However, two different individuals in the
intelligence community -- who didn't know each other -- had
approached her with the information indicating that she was being
surveilled. She said the intelligence sources told her thatthey
were seeing practices being employed that "used to be strictly
forbidden or controlled, but were now being done more liberally."
continued: "With help of another confidential source, and a FBI unit
chief who helped connect me, we were able to get the first forensics
exam, and they were literally blown away, according to them, when
they saw this evidence. They were so shocked becausethere
was a time when this would never have been done."
noted that she could not and would not reveal her source, but "it's
a government-connected person who knows exactly what government
surveillance software does and looks like," she explained.
she and her legal team were able to present all of the evidence in
court, her case was dismissed, Attkisson said.
presented some overviews and it was considered at the time plausible
and we survived many motions to dismiss along the way, but after we
added a telephone company to the lawsuit a couple months back, there
was new considerations and the case was dismissed."
Attkisson encouraged interested parties to look at the forensics --
especially at the DOJ, "for the sake of trying to find who did it or
identify for their own purposes. Because I think they should be
don't think I was the only one.I think
they really ought to be on that, personally," Attkisson added.
has good reason to feel frustrated.
2013, she turned to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz for help,
handing over one of her personal home laptops to be examined. The
investigation seemed to begin honestly and diligently, but over time
became a half-baked exercise in obfuscation and stonewalling.
a post atThe
Hillon March 1, 2018, Attkisson admits that
she was advised by some of her intel sources not to trust the IG
with her computer. She writes: “But I figured there was little
downside. We already had our irrefutable forensics findings from our
examinations. If the IG probe was competent and honest, as I
expected it might be, then it could turn up names of the government
actors responsible. If not, no harm done.”
the investigation was complete, the IG’s office stonewalled
Attkisson, refusing to let her see the final report. She was advised
to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. She writes: “I
did so; under the law, a response was due within about 30 days.It’s
IG eventually released what Attkisson's attorney called a “wiped
summary -- not the actual report or notes -- with spin that implied
there had been no intrusion. This was quickly presented, publicly,
by then-Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who had gotten a copy of
the summary with lightning speed; and it was dutifully reported by
some in an unquestioning press."
late February of this year, Attkisson discovered that the hard drive
of one of her personal computers was secretlyswitched
outwith another while it was in the
custody of the Justice Dept. inspector general:
Re: My govt. computer intrusions...What would you think if I told you the hard drive of one of my personal computers was secretly switched out w/another while in custody of the Justice Dept. Inspector General-- before they gave it back to me? (Tick-tock.) #GettingCloserToAnswers
long ago, my forensics team asked if I used that Apple computer
after the IG returned it. My team was conducting a new exam. “No,” I
replied, “it hasn’t functioned since before I gave it to the IG. I
just stored it when they returned it. Why?”
-- that’s not your hard drive inside the computer they gave back
to you,” they told me. “ … We know the serial number on the hard
drive when you bought it. We recorded the same serial number on
our earlier forensics exams. This is a different hard drive.
Completely different serial number. Not even close.”
would never have known if we hadn’t gone back in that computer for
addition to somebody changing the scope of the IG investigation
midstream, and the office withholding from me the notes and the
report on my own complaint, somebody also switched out my hard
drive before the IG returned it to me.
asks: "What does all this mean to the integrity of the DOJ’s
good obviously, since the same IG botched its report on the FBI
Hillary Clinton email investigation, and is currently investigating
the FISA abuse scandal involving the FBI and DOJ.