Sharyl Atkisson is the one thing CBS News has going for it. She’s the real article. As real as you can be in the current news climate, while still working for a major media outlet. She crashed the credibility of the CDC, as it was lying through its teeth about numbers of Swine Flu cases and overplaying the fake “epidemic.” She’s taken on the horrific effects of vaccines, to the point where her Wikipedia page, through a series of unethical maneuvers, continues to characterize her as irrationally “anti-vaccine.” She broke key elements of Fast&Furious. She’s a hound on Benghazi, and the Obama administration’s funding of “green programs.”
Now, she states that her computer was compromised in 2011, as she was covering Fast&Furious. She’s still working to find out what happened.
From Politico, Sharyl Attkisson’s computers compromised
“Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.
“‘I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter,’ Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. ‘I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public.’
“Attkisson told WPHT that irregular activity on her computer was first identified in Feb. 2011, when she was reporting on the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal and on the Obama administration’s green energy spending, which she said ‘the administration was very sensitive about.’”
end Politico excerpt
Two computers compromised. Star reporter. Somebody gained physical access or remote access to those machines. Strong likelihood it started as a government response to Atkisson’s coverage of Fast&Furious. (Although, unfortunately, Atkisson should also look to someone at CBS as the possible hacker.) All those nasty stories Atkisson’s worked on, over the years? If she ever wants to use sources from those pieces again, she’s going to have to convince them they won’t pay a steep price for talking to her. Then, for future stories, she’s going to have to convince new sources they can talk to her without getting into serious trouble.
It’s the big chill. This is the government and its allies sending a message to reporters’ sources and potential sources, confidential or not: watch out; we’re listening in; we can make you sorry.
Since Atkisson has been working for “some months” trying to figure out and confirm where the hack of her computers came from, we can assume it was no amateur job. The government doesn’t have to put reporters on trial for leaking classified information. It doesn’t have to mount a DOJ investigation against them. It can make reporters’ sources more timid and fearful. That works. What well-known mainstream reporters (who are honest) don’t realize is this: if a mere dozen of them left their networks and newspapers and started reporting online and independently, they could provoke a firestorm. The hypnotic public trust in corporate media depends on a united front maintained by networks and big newspapers: “we’re the real source of the news.” This is a lie, of course, but it’s all about perception. If Atkisson and a few others broke ranks, a piece of the trance would crack and shatter.
I’m not talking about joining Politico or other such “reputable” online sites. I’m talking about reporters like Atkisson setting up shop on their own sites and leaving all their chains behind them. There is an illusion that mainstream reporters need the kinds of sources for stories they can only obtain if they work for CBS or CNN or the Washington Post. That’s not true. Most of those sources are useless, when it comes to real investigative work. The unwillingness to leave major networks is really about money, prestige, and job security. The big three. The truly vital journalistic investigations, which go unreported by the mainstream, are done and achieved without the need for the big three. The fact that Atkisson has to spend time trying to figure out who hacked her computers shows that the mainstream is no haven for any kind of investigative reporter.
Stories are derailed, spiked, postponed indefinitely, and twisted in the world of conventional journalism. They are also hacked.
Government has been spying on reporters for decades. The CIA has formed close relationships with reporters for decades. What’s happened lately is nothing new. In fact, when the dust finally settles on this recent scandal, government will come out as the winner. Why? Because reporters’ sources will feel less confident about talking to reporters. And that will satisfy the big mainstream news outlets as well—because they don’t really want to employ reporters who dig far below the surface and threaten to expose elite power players.
Back in 1982, when I was starting out as a reporter, I had a brief experience in this regard. On assignment from LA Weekly to expose behind-the-scenes players in Central America, where left-wing revolutions were spreading, I went to New York to do research. I was homing in on one group that looked like it was funding fascist death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua. I met with a man who I thought could provide me with information. The conversation took a strange turn. He told me he could hook me up with an editor at a newspaper who needed “bright reporters.” The money, he said, would be good, much better than I was making working for LA Weekly. I turned him down. Later, I discovered that the editor he wanted me to meet was supporting the group who was funding death squads. I probably could have taken a job with that newspaper. I could have covered a wide range of interesting stories…but not the story I was working on. Definitely not that one.
When you work as a staff employee for a major newspaper or television news outlet, you deal with two censorship poisons. The government and your own employer.
It’s a party, but not one you want to sign up for, unless you’re excited about giving up your freedom. The money is there, and I have nothing against money, but there is a heavy downside. You’re a slave, and you know it every time you wander off the reservation and touch the electrified fence. In a real sense, your computer is hacked the minute you walk through the door, sign the papers, and take the job.
Computer hacked, mind on hold. Hell of a life.
Phi Beta Iota: Politico also reports DOJ: We haven’t ‘compromised’ Sharyl Attkisson’s computers. This is the same DOJ that has told the Courts in writing it has the right to lie to the courts in cases of national security; the same DOJ that has outdone the Bush-Cheney regime in every single category of unconstitutional behavior. Cyber-space is a “wild west” where the government varies between incompetence and warrantless intrusion; and where corporations also vary between incompetence and severe misbehavior. Who dun it remains to be identified — what stands out for our readership is a) no computer is safe from intrusion given the gross persistent irresponsibility of the computer industry and the government; b) no one trusts the US government; and c) mainstream media, a few stars such as Atkisson and Sy Hersh not-with-standing, runs an information prison.