I still haven’t received my copy of former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s new book, Stonewalled, though I hope one of us will have a review of it here as soon as possible. The early impressions of it, however, are already capturing a lot of attention with the promise of more goodness to come. Attkisson would be the first to admit that she has been a huge thorn in the side of not only the White House, elected officials and government agencies, but to her former bosses at CBS. She has probably done more than anyone in recent memory to put a face to the fight against not only government corruption and secrecy, but uncomfortably cozy relationship between politicians and a timid, if not outright owned media who are supposedly charged with monitoring them. She continues those efforts to this day with her own blog.
The New York Post has an early look at her book, providing a rather explosive headline. EX-CBS reporter: Government-related entity bugged my computer.
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.”
The analyst told Attkisson that the spyware was initially installed through an innocuous e-mail back in 2012 and was remotely updated at least twice. The unnamed intruders logged keystrokes, accessed e-mails and captured passwords for applications including her personal financial accounts. The program also allegedly was able to initiate her Skype account and collect audio. (That’s better than a wire tap on a phone, if you think about it.)
Had I not come of age during Nixon’s second term myself I would probably find a story like this shocking to the point of straining credulity. Unfortunately for all of us, if true, it’s probably not even all that surprising during the era of The Most Transparent Administration Evah. The White House expects a press corps which is, if not compliant, at least meek enough to dutifully print whatever edited versions of events – from the mundane to the critical – they see fit to release without asking too many pesky questions. And if somebody does start getting too nosy, they certainly have the tools to take action.
Possibly more disturbing than any sort of direct assault on Attkisson is the question of whether or not the alleged snoopers were able to identify all of the reporter’s sources. That could lead to either repercussions for them or quiet removals of people from the loop to shut down the flow of information. Either way, assuming this is true, it’s not good at all.