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CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Probably Not Hacked After All

CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Probably Not Hacked After All

by P. H. MadoreFebruary 4, 2015

Last year, the former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson claimed that someone, probably the government, had hacked into her computer and manipulated documents and deleted files. She firmly believed she was under surveillance and that it was related to her reporting on incidents which were not favorable to the current administration. Her claims seemed spectacular at the time, and now it appears they might have been all along. The government has looked at her complaint of hacking and determined that it is not legitimate.

For instance, the video she submitted which appeared to show the computer deleting text without a user present was determined to be a stuck backspace key by the government. Attkisson decided not to share the findings of the examiner who looked at her computer and determined it had been hacked. This meant that the government was unable to analyze for itself if any of its agencies had been involved in the compromise of the reporter’s computer. For her part, she said the findings were not yet in a state ready to share with the government. But what, really, could that mean? This unwillingness to share definitely sheds a measure of doubt on the reporter’s claims.

No Hack Ever Took Place, Government Says

hackWhether the government collects data or not is no longer a question for American citizens, since the Edward Snowden leaks have shown us that the government is engaged in quite a deep amount of such. Whether the government actively spies on journalists it finds to be troublesome is another question altogether, and in the case of Sharyl Attkisson this is what was thought to be had.

To begin with, she claimed she had been forced off CBS for her reporting on issues which the administration might find disgraceful. Then this hacking incident happened, and it looked as if the reporter were being pushed around by an administration which was as actively engaged in, if not more so than, its predecessors in intelligence gathering on US citizens. For the government to hack its own citizens now did not seem outside of the realm of possibility. The only question with a thing like this is what’s next. If the government will do something such as that, what will it not do? But then we find out that perhaps this journalist wasn’t pushed around in quite the way she said in the first place.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General conducted its own forensic investigation of the reporter’s computer. In part, they found that the previous inspection had taken place. Additionally:

The OIG computer forensic analysis of Attkisson’s personal iMac computer did not find evidence of remote or unauthorized access. The analysis determined that the computer’s system logs that we were able to examine were complete and unaltered except for time and date changes that occurred in February 2013, approximately two weeks after the live examination was performed.

Until Attkisson’s team releases the results of its own analysis, all we have is this from the government, which says no hack ever took place. Indeed, while such things could be covered up, it appears at this time that no hack ever did take place.

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    I wonder what this means?

  • Chris Webb

    The government is only claiming there was no “unauthorized” access, it is not denying that they performed “authorized” access. Besides, pretty much every word uttered by a government agent is a lie, why would this instance be any different?

  • J.D. Heyes

    Yeah. ‘No hack took place’ because ‘the government said so.’ OMG.

  • LAPick

    So let me get this straight. The government is accused of intrusion into her computer. The government does their own internal investigation. The same government that’s accused. They issue a statement that limits their denial to “remote or unauthorized” access to her personal iMac. You extrapolate that into “perhaps this journalist wasn’t pushed around in quite the way she said in the first place.” I wonder which government department helped write this?

  • ebliever

    I’m agnostic on the question of whether her computer was actually hacked, but this is like someone claiming that John Doe burglarized their house, and the reporter runs to John Doe to ask if they did so, and breathlessly reports “John Doe did NOT burglarize the house, he said so!” as if we can just take that as gospel truth. What a bizarre story.