CBS News: Someone was pulling data from Sharyl Attkisson’s computer; Update: CBS report added

posted at 12:01 pm on June 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember this from last month?  On the heels of the revelation that the Department of Justice had been snooping on James Rosen’s e-mails because of his attempt to gain classified information on the administration’s efforts on North Korea from a leaker, Sharyl Attkisson told Chris Stigall on his radio show that her computer had been mysteriously hacked.  Attkisson, who has reported on Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi and sparked ire from the White House while doing do, demurred on the source of the hacking but said CBS News was investigating it.

Erik Wemple reported earlier that CBS has corroborated Attkisson’s claim, and that whoever conducted it went after her material:

“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 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.”

Attkisson took to Twitter to report the official statement herself:

What was going on in “late 2012″?  Well, that would have been the controversy over the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi.  And, checking the record, we see that Attkisson had a very interesting scoop on October 20th, relying on anonymous military sources that called into question the Obama administration’s claim that they couldn’t have responded in time to assist in the attack:

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

But it was too late to help the Americans in Benghazi. The ambassador and three others were dead.

A White House official told CBS News that a “small group of reinforcements” was sent from Tripoli to Benghazi, but declined to say how many or what time they arrived.

Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen believes help could have come much sooner. He commanded CIA counter-terrorism missions targeting Osama bin Laden and led the team that responded after bombings of the U.S. Embassy in East Africa.

“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen says. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”

Until CBS News releases more from its investigation, we won’t know who hacked into Attkisson’s computer.  It could have been a competitor, or someone else with a grudge against her, although one would expect that kind of hack to go after personal details rather than work product. Before the Rosen revelation, the DoJ would have been unthinkable as a suspect.  If I were CBS now, though, I’d be executing a FOIA demand to know whether Eric Holder and the Department of Justice acquired a Rosen-like warrant on Attkisson in the days after that scoop went live.

Update: Thanks to Drudge for the link.  Also, it took a while, but CBS News has reported on this development … carefully:

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.

Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of last month’s revelation that the Justice Department had seized the emails and phone records of Fox News correspondent James Rosen.

To be clear, the federal government has not been accused in the intrusion of Attkisson’s computer; CBS News is continuing to work to identify the responsible party.

To be sure, it doesn’t pay to jump to conclusions, but it also doesn’t pay to dismiss possibilities, either.

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I worked as a reporter.

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

What caused you to fail?

Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Obama with his NSA snoops, now has the tools to blackmail and intimidate anyone. Don’t be surprised when normally stalwart conservatives start caving in to the entire Obama agenda.

Obama’s and his NSA snoops have enough goods on everybody that nobody is save from blackmail or intimidation. Don’t think for a minute he isn’t using it to it’s full potential.

What do you think happened to General Petraeus?

What do you think happened to John Roberts at the Supreme Court with the Obamacare decision?

Axion on June 14, 2013 at 5:31 PM

From one of the Power Line posters, an excellent point:

The fun part now is that, given the burgeoning scandals, the Obama White House is on the defensive. It is now up to THEM to prove that they did NOT have anything to do with Ms. Attkisson’s breakin… because it’s all too easy to believe that they had everything to do with it.

Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 5:34 PM

It’s like that every thread. You all complain about how I should be ignored or dismissed. Yet you all find a way to comment directly in reply to my remarks. There are people begging for others to ignore me.

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

That’s a dirty little secret here, although I don’t know why, but the truth is that the trolls are the queen of the prom, or the only woman in a completely straight orgy. You pick the metaphor, but you guys make the comments go round.

DFCtomm on June 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM

That’s a dirty little secret here, although I don’t know why, but the truth is that the trolls are the queen of the prom, or the only woman in a completely straight orgy. You pick the metaphor, but you guys make the comments go round.

DFCtomm on June 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM

I don’t get why people whine about so called trolls on here. I love beating up on little kids because I am kind of a d1ck. There are just too many sissies in the conservative movement who wilt at the thought of confrontation.

ClassicCon on June 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

When I didn’t care about money or dressing like a bum, I worked as a reporter.

Now that explains a lot, leastwise your pompously ignorant attitude.

NotCoach on June 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I worked as a reporter.

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

What caused you to fail?

Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM

It’s a liberal.

CW on June 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM

I wouldn’t do any banking or paying bills over the net…Why make it too easy?

But that’s me…and I refuse to use a smart phone.

workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I’m bad as I do that and have an iphone, but if I were up to no good I’d certainly be a lot more careful and the smart bad guys are always adjusting.

That’s why a lot of this NSA stuff is BS – the real bad guys know they’re being watched. It’s the low hanging fruit, which can still cause some damage, that are getting nabbed, if at all. Boston didn’t get stopped.

To stop the extremely damaging terrorism and bad guys like 9/11 requires more than just surveillance and reading grandma’s emails, it requires changing the system to a point where the politicians don’t have the stomach to do; ie, who is being let into the country.

kim roy on June 14, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Yeah…But I don’t think they care.

The real enemy…are those native citizens balking at the consolidated power grab.

That’s what this is about.

They’re changing the narrative.

I see a Putsch coming down the pike.

workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013

You’re a TROLL and unhappy b*tch.

CW on June 14, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Plenty of Low-IQ O’bama Voters commenting at the WaPo link:

The conspiracy minded wing nuts here have yet to explain why the President would order an illegal hack of a reporter on a story that has no legs, had nothing to do with him and has not and will not harm him politically.

I suspect the answer have something to do with our President being a Kenyan/Socialist/Dictator/Baby Killer/Muslim. And we all know what kind of answer that is… the answer springing from an incurable tea bagger fantasy.

Yet another shiny object to keep the tea baggers happy.

And it could have all been a set-up too ala Karl Rove et. al.

Looks more like a competitor hacking in. Doesn’t Murdoch have a whole team with a lot of experience at this?

What is truly amusing (and sad, when in a more reflective mood), is that with each new ridiculous “scandal,” the wingers get more convinced that their paranoia is fact.

“It Burns!”

Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 6:16 PM

I don’t get why people whine about so called trolls on here. I love beating up on little kids because I am kind of a d1ck. There are just too many sissies in the conservative movement who wilt at the thought of confrontation.
ClassicCon on June 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

AMEN!

GhoulAid on June 14, 2013 at 6:24 PM

I don’t get why people whine about so called trolls on here. I love beating up on little kids because I am kind of a d1ck. There are just too many sissies in the conservative movement who wilt at the thought of confrontation.

ClassicCon on June 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

As one of the whiners, it’s not because I don’t enjoy a good bloodletting. I do. However, I’m here for the discussion and if there’s eight comments in a row of “you’re an idiot”, “no, you’re a bigot” and in there somewhere is an actual informational post, it gets lost in the noise.

It’s like you are out to lunch and having a great conversation and the next table starts to loudly bicker. It’s a distraction, right? It ruins the mood and the discussion, right? You end up paying more attention to the sideshow than the actual discussion at your table, right?

Confrontation is wonderful, but it should be to the right people and while it’s fun to smack trolls around and play with them, they can take over a thread, derail it and make discussion useless.

MHO, or course.

kim roy on June 14, 2013 at 6:33 PM

I hope Stephen Hayes has had his computer checked…he’s not letting up on Dear Leader.

d1carter on June 14, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I worked as a reporter.

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Mom’s Basement Quarterly?

I heard it quickly folded after the typewriter broke and the angry voices between the ears turned violently inwards …

viking01 on June 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM

rogerb on June 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

 
apparently you’re some kind of legend or something.
 
Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 1:36 PM

 
rogerb on June 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

 

I’m sorry you’re not more memorable…
 
Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

 
For the win.

rogerb on June 14, 2013 at 6:59 PM

In a related matter…

U.S. Government Uses Early Knowledge Of Microsoft Bugs For Spying

Best case scenario, this information is used to protect critical government online infrastructure first, making sure that vital functions are the most secure. The official line from Microsoft is that this gives government “an early start” in stopping risks. But it also gives government agencies a window to exploit these gaps for intelligence collection purposes.

Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

rogerb is a legend at HA.

Fastest most comprehensive quote researcher in the blogosphere.

viking01 on June 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM

It’s too bad that CBS can’t ask for the Justice Department’s help. But DOJ is a prime suspect.

kozmocostello on June 14, 2013 at 7:56 PM

It’s too bad that CBS can’t ask for the Justice Department’s help. But DOJ is a prime suspect.

kozmocostello on June 14, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Yes, because repeated success at hacking CBS computers and CBS related twitter accounts last year and as recently as immediately after the Boston marathon bombing by groups like Anonymous isn’t at all public knowledge…

It must be Obama!

bileduct on June 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM

>> I worked as a reporter.

>> Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

> What caused you to fail?

> Del Dolemonte on June 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM

I’m guessing they may have told the truth.

To ask how far this sort of thing goes back, consider all the New York Times reporters who were denied their stories being printed because Jayson Blair’s fake stories, written without ever leaving his apartment, were deemed better than ones actually written by people who had gone to the place the news was and reported the legitimate news, because Blair’s editors thought his fake ones sounded better? Ms. Atkisson is going against the grain, doing the old school Joe Friday get the facts approach we like to think that all reporters would do. She deserves a medal for that. She’s showing a whole generation what that is about. That someone hacked into her computer says a lot about whoever hacked her, it says they are underhanded punks and it says they’re afraid.

Jersey Dave on June 14, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Gotta admit it — she looks kind of hot in that photo…

Jaibones on June 14, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Of course they hacked her computer. The government feels any journalists developing informants on government activities is a possible traitor.
archer52 on June 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

They might have intended to let her know she was being hacked, to intimidate her

Any pc/laptop of mine has never had a webcam, I have always been that suspicious!!
I also do not own a smart phone either…
Scrumpy on June 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM

My webcam and mic have been used against me by ratters. Worth going to Control Panel/Security to disable cam. Keep a smart phone on, might as well wear a dog collar

Does “Hot Air” know its computers have not been hacked by the government? ignatzk on June 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I pick up computer ticks at HA. Usually related to political season. Funny also how some reserve userid/pwd to control political fires. I am a typical evangelical and I can tell you we all want amnesty –

How hard would it be to hack Team Romney’s vaunted internet tool. Remember it being a giant fail. Makes me wonder if the communications were re-routed/disrupted.
workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM

heh had same thought. 1. he was set up to hire someone 2. backbone was what? You could build in back doors. I would have gotten some kids who wrote a grocery store website and stuck with them. Suspect Romney thought computer code was a commodity and not an entry point
Ho hum mite as well point out that this was linked to Drudge, so seems some folk are trying to stall the conversation until it rolls off. That is how the game is played

entagor on June 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

How hard would it be to hack Team Romney’s vaunted internet tool. Remember it being a giant fail. Makes me wonder if the communications were re-routed/disrupted.
workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM

heh had same thought. 1. he was set up to hire someone 2. backbone was what? You could build in back doors. I would have gotten some kids who wrote a grocery store website and stuck with them. Suspect Romney thought computer code was a commodity and not an entry point
Ho hum mite as well point out that this was linked to Drudge, so seems some folk are trying to stall the conversation until it rolls off. That is how the game is played

entagor on June 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

This is all so….demoralizing

I mean even though Romney was a right dirty bastard during the primary (Politics aint’ beanbag)…I voted for him in the national and thought he’d be way better then Obama. Thought he’d be decent somehow…But maybe he never had a chance.

And that kind of crap pisses me off and as corny as it sounds…It’s damned Un-American.

workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM

And it doesn’t pay to report anything negative about Obama or Clinton, at least in the short run.

flataffect on June 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM

This is all so….demoralizing

…But maybe he never had a chance.

workingclass artist on June 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM

wish I hadn’t worked in computers. I am no hacker. My skills are logic. But, as soon as I heard he had a big azz project created for his campaign, recommended by friend my ears went up. Unless they are using a turnkey program, they can sucker you like you do not know. And make it look like a failure instead of a sabotage.

He is a businessman and used to getting a project done, assigning people to write specs, get bids, and make a deal. That is why I think he looked at it as a commodity. Computer field is loaded with libs. Why not put out an ad: looking for honest man to help me win election.

I assume he was smart enough to get it done via ‘friends’ for safety. That is the sad part.

He was getting a lot of bad advice on many issues

entagor on June 14, 2013 at 11:48 PM

I worked as a reporter.

Capitalist Hog on June 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Mom’s Basement Quarterly?

viking01 on June 14, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Hey, don’t laugh!
CH is a big shot at MBQ.
He controls the bucket of crayons.

BoxHead1 on June 14, 2013 at 11:50 PM

When I stand up against you anti-gay, anti-Muslim bigots I am expressing love for God.

Capital Hogbreath on June 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Of course you are, because you are a rare, delicate and special little flower; and gosh darn it, people like you!

Solaratov on June 14, 2013 at 11:57 PM

Well at least Obama got his fundraiser in.
They let those people die, they allowed it to happen, troops were ready to go but not sent, told to stand down. Obama and his crew of scum, and the equally scummy media that made them are virtually accessories to murder.

arand on June 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

The fun part now is that, given the burgeoning scandals, the Obama White House is on the defensive. It is now up to THEM to prove that they did NOT have anything to do with Ms. Attkisson’s breakin… because it’s all too easy to believe that they had everything to do with it.

So they’ll use the standard response:

It was BUSH who hacked her computer!

Duh!

LagunaDave on June 15, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Sheryl Atkisson = Lois Lane.

falcon on June 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Capitalist Hog is pretending to know or understand something which he believes that only the very smartest people know or understand. The fact is, there is more than one functional definition of the term “hacking”, and for all intents and purposes, it truly doesn’t matter.

What matters is that someone got their hands on information which didn’t belong to them. How they did so, whether by masterfully programming some code which broke through strong security, or by artfully acquiring their victim’s login, is irrelevant. Having done so, they are criminals.

An interesting point in the Attkisson case is that the security experts hired by CBS to perform the forensic analysis of her system have discovered clear evidence of intrusion. If someone gained access to her data via her own login, there would be no such evidence. In other words, she was hacked.

An interesting point in the Palin email case is that while the perpetrator used Yahoo’s poor security to gain password recovery data, and then logged in using “her own credentials”, he was convicted of cyber crimes with the potential for over 50 years worth of federal prison time.

Phishing, keylogging, and other forms of snooping may not meet the eclectic “l33t” definition of hacking, but dude, it’s hacking. Throw away the straw, and deal with the real issue.

Freelancer on June 17, 2013 at 8:11 PM

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