CBS News star hacked: the big chill

by Jon Rappoport

May 22, 2013

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Sharyl Attkisson (twitter) 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, 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 Attkisson’s coverage of Fast&Furious. (Although, unfortunately, Attkisson should also look to someone at CBS as the possible hacker.)

All those nasty stories Attkisson’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 Attkisson 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 Attkisson 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 Attkisson 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 Attkisson 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.

The Matrix Revealed

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.

Jon Rappoport

The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

10 comments on “CBS News star hacked: the big chill

  1. Deborah says:

    Well done Jon. Again, you are a voice of reason in this abyss. Makes you want to scream that it doesn’t have to be this way!!! But it is what it is… Thank you again for doing the right thing.

  2. Deborah says:

    One other thing. Looks like fear is the operative weapon here. Makes me think of the Oz behind the curtain… 😉

  3. Sean says:

    Of course, your computer is hacked the minute you walk through the door. Companies are privy to your criminal record, drug use, facebook page, and anything else. Not only is the computer and everything in it the property of the company, so is any creative idea you produce on the job.

    Thus, “her” computer wasn’t hacked, because it wasn’t hers. Any IT department worth the name, should have known who logged on to “her” pc unless the culprit somehow stole her password. If so, how would she know someone had gained access? The simplest thing to do would be to make a copy any documents in the hard drive. The IT department might notice such a thing, but she never would. If so, why would they tell her about it?

    The story makes no sense: More cloak and dagger BS from C”BS”.

    I have known two “well-respected” journalists. They know very well how to police their own thoughts.

  4. Deborah says:

    Sorry, I’m going sap on you all. But my heart is a bit broken. Why can’t we just say what it is we THINK?? Is original thought now a crime? I’m confused.. And disheartened. But I applaud and admire any and all original thinkers — have at it.

  5. Bryan says:

    Right. Police your own thoughts. Laptop. And cuff it to your wrist.

    I imagine for high priority targets, it would nevertheless be a real bug-a-boo to keep from hitting sites that might install key logger or other malware. So, it might require some vigilance, and a good measure of expertise, but it might be possiblie to maintain data security.

    Regular backups are a big help, but one must be diciplined. The beauty of good back ups of course, is if a problem is even vaguely suspected, do a restore from last backup.

    If you keep data and operating system on separate partitions, even better — ’cause viruses, keyloggers, etc., would be stored on operating system partition, and backing that up for restore in case of trouble is a minor inconvenience compared to reinstalling, reconfiguring everything. Backing up the master boot record (first 512 bytes on drive) is a good idea too, because of boot sector viruses — many PC (including laptops) BIOSes allow write protecting the boot sector, but if your backup software takes care of boot sector too, write protecting might interfer.

    First line of defense however is avoiding malicious sites, networks, and/or using browser options, and other software to prevent, or detect problems — malicious software picked up from a network can scan all your partitions, in which case backup and restore strategy is only a secondary line of defense.

    Just to emphasize, a piece of malware installed on your computer is an ongoing threat — keylogging comes to mind especially. Also, such a program might, for instance, regularly scan all partitions, and communicate over networks. But, such a program will only reside on the operating system partition, and possibly boot sector, but this would more likely be a very small, sort of trigger for a larger program stored on operating system partition. So restoring the operating from a backup would eliminate any such problem. Don’t forget to install, configure, and backup the operating system disconnected from any network to the extent possible.

    Oh! Firewall! Install a firewall, because you never know who is snooping on any local area network (behind the same router you’re behind) you’re connecting too, and many networks (public wifi) are not secure — they’re wide open, and anyone can see everything going from your device to the wifi router. Here, a firewall is an added measure for avoided exploit vulnerability — you can control what connects to computer, and what connects from your computer.

    Be aware that if your device is on, it could be connecting to any in range public wifi without you knowing it! There’s probably software available that lets you force your computer to be less promiscuous. Short of that, disable networking until you’re ready to connect.

    Or, you could just adopt a security expert.

    I’m kidding. All of this sounds like a lot. Not really though. Most of it is configuration. The other is a simple routine of backing up. For most, backing up the operating system is a one time thing — on restore, you may have to do some minor reconfiguring with respect to ongoing system changes or software installation you might have done. And backing up data partition(s) is easy, with no need for worrying that you’re copying a virus or otherwise malware with the backup as such software could not run without software on the operating system (or boot sector) telling it to.

  6. Frank Costa says:

    Pretty basic answer, at this time in our de-evolution of society, don’t use online electronic media for anything you want to keep from prying eyes.

    We used to keep our typewriter ribbons and all copies of reportage (cassette tapes, Xeroxed stuff, note books, etc.) locked up. Same can be done with thumb drives, a small non-online laptop, and the such.

  7. bit100 says:

    Somewhat different, yet similar. A person walking into the mental health service here in the UK has all their notes recorded electronically. It’s open for NHS (national health service) workers involved in that person’s care to see, but as a nationwide service, it feels very much like a public space. Most therapists spend large chunks of time typing into this space rather than patient contact. Imagine- whole interviews, changes to medication, mental health act status, risk assessments, mental state examinations…are known. When you open up and say how how feel, it is recorded, so that involved agencies everywhere are kept up to date. Paper records not allowed. When you are on leave it is known, what you feel about your leave is known, what you did on your leave is known…
    Anyway, the point here is that this surveillance is everywhere. The journalist here in this article is a obvious target. The more insidious, but more disturbing public recording of one’s mood state, thoughts and perceptions, of a vast chunk of the population has been long underway….put on a plate… and you don’t even have to go deep undercover to gain access to it.

  8. vicfedorov says:

    I understand journalism is grounded in sources trusting you. But there’s no need to panic, right? There are title codes making the government liable for this sort of thing. If the government loses a few cases, it’s gonna stop. If you are a reporter, and have been spied on, you are going to sue; and sue to alter and reform a government that’s gotten to this point. The psychology of a government, paranoid to said extent, is not the psychology of maliciousness or desire to do evil; but the psychology of something out of control, not thinking straight; demanding to be straightened out by the very people it hurt: Government knows it wasn’t founded on Government, but public benefit, theoretically; when it hurts the people who may reform it; it wants reform.

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