WASHINGTON: Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is the mainstream media journalist to break the Fast and Furious story. Atkinson found that the Obama administration sold thousands of weapons to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel. Attkisson has started a GoFundMe page to “finance her landmark lawsuit against the Department of Justice for spying on her computers.”
Reading the Go Fund Me page is not only eye-opening, what it reveals is frightening.
Hacking a journalist not a hack
In 2013, a CBS News spokesman released findings from its investigation into the hack:
“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 is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”
Instead of working to “identify the responsible party,” CBS instead sidelined Attkisson, who eventually left the network in frustration.
All the president’s men
White House emails later obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests
Filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, conservative legal firm Judicial Watch was able to obtain emails between Attorney General Eric Holder’s communications head, Tracy Schmaler, and White House deputy press secretary, Eric Schultz. Both were less than pleased with Attkisson.
Schmaler: “I’m also calling Sharyl’s editor and reaching out to [Bob] Schieffer. She [Attkisson] is out of control.”
Schultz: “Good, her piece was really bad for the AG [Attorney General Eric Holder].”
In the very same email exchange, Schultz says he arranged for National Journal reporter Susan Davis to write a hit piece on California GOP Rep. Darryl Issa, then chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee. Issa was leading the Senate Fast and Furious operation, putting Holder on the hot seat.
Schultz tells Schmaler to “load her [Davis] up on the leaks, etc.”
Smearing one of their own
But members of the pro-Obama press worked to tarnish Attkisson’s reputation as well.
Dylan Byers at POLITICO observed:
“Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS News correspondent who claims that her computers were hacked by the federal government, is refusing to address inconsistencies in her explanation about the hacking brought forth by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.”
Attkisson expressed surprise that “anyone treats them [Media Matters] as a credible source – while never seeming to seriously address allegations from its right-wing counterparts,” she told POLITICO.
Vox’s Timothy B. Lee says it was “more likely” Attkisson’s computers “suffered from garden-variety technical glitches that had nothing to do with government surveillance.” Why?
Spying on all
But when it was revealed the Obama administration used US intelligence agencies to spy on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Attkisson wrote a column for The Hill:
“Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes. The prospect of our own NSA, CIA, and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations, and justifications.”
Enter Stage Left: James Clapper and John Brennan
She cited former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s lie to Congress that US intelligence agencies were not collecting data on “millions or hundreds of millions of Americans” through Obama’s expanded Patriot Act program, codenamed PRISM.
Or that the CIA spied on members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, while Director John Brennan vehemently denied it.
As Sharyl Attkisson’s GoFundMe page states:
“Forensic analysis uncovered government Internet Protocol (IP addresses) used in the [computer hacking] operation. Additionally, software installed remotely monitored Sharyl’s keystrokes and activated her computer’s microphones to listen in on conversations. Analysts tracked the path of exfiltrated data from Sharyl’s home to the FBI center in Quantico, Virginia.”
Obama’s true legacy
It seems the weaponization of the Internal Revenue Service against Tea Party and conservative groups ahead of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign later expanded to include US intelligence agencies.
Fearful its weapons sales to Mexican drug cartels faced exposure, the administration spied on Sharyl Attkisson in a manner that presaged its counterintelligence operations against the Trump presidential campaign, which continues today under the auspices of former FBI director and Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
A promise made and not kept
During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump met with the family of slain US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. A weapon found at his murder scene was just one of the thousands the Obama administration sold to Mexican drug lords.
Trump’s promise if elected president, was that he would uncover the truth behind Terry’s murder and Operation Fast and Furious.
Kelly Terry-Willis, sister of the murdered border agent, told The Hill that…
“… the men who killed him… came to retrieve guns that our government supplied. They came ready to fight and kill, if needed, to get those weapons back to Mexico and into drug cartel’s hands. They did just that when they took by brother’s life.”
Two years after his election as the nation’s 45th president, Trump has yet to make good on his solemn promise to a grieving family and slain border sentinel.
Finishing the story
Perhaps Sharyl Attkisson’s publicly-funded lawsuit will bear fruit, shedding much-needed light on the government’s weaponized intelligence activities against American citizens. Because if we have to pay for the truth, we will.
Top Images: Former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports
on Operation Fast and Furious, CBS News screen capture.
Inset of video showing a computer hacker remotely erasing text from a story on Attkisson’s laptop.