It “is not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack.” --David Scantling, cyber-security expert.
I’m frequently asked about the status of my lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over the secret, unlawful intrusions into my computers, exposed in 2013. As my federal case moves slowly through court system, there is a new development: ongoing forensic work of my computer laptop system has revealed a second government Internet Protocol (IP) address used in the illegal cyber-attacks on my computer laptop system.
The IP addresses don’t belong there.
In a new affidavit filed in federal court last week, cyber-security expert David Scantling states, “[T]he presence of these USPS addresses on [Attkisson’s] computer is not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack."
Scantling served as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and as a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employee. He’s familiar with “Advanced Persistent Threat” (“APT”) cyber-attacks. In fact, he developed and deployed similar APT cyber-attacks against foreign government, commercial, insurgent and terrorist targets. He also developed and deployed cyber-security countermeasures in the private sector to defend against such attacks.
Interestingly, both government IP addresses found embedded deep in my computer system trace to the U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.), which has been known to cooperate with intelligence agencies on various levels. The U.S.P.S. refused to cooperate with me, prior to my lawsuit, after my forensics expert recovered evidence of an IP address mysteriously residing in my computer. At the time, an agency official dismissed the forensics evidence as some sort of unexplainable mistake, and refused to help us learn how its IP addresses are maintained and accessed so we could identify the perpetrators.
Tracing the evidence of the government-related intrusion to individual participants hasn’t been easy. The attackers attempted to erase their tracks once they were discovered. And neither the U.S.P.S. nor the Department of Justice (DOJ) are voluntarily cooperating. But experts familiar with the tools and tradecraft that are proprietary to government intelligence agencies have painstakingly recovered and pieced together compelling forensic proof as to attribution.
“There can be no reasonable question that an [Advanced Persistent Threat]-style cyber-attack was carried on Attkisson’s computer systems and Internet connection,” stated Scantling in an affidavit filed last week. “Specifically, the APT methods deployed against [Attkisson’s] computers and Internet connection…were sophisticated and of the type only available to government-type activities and operations.”
This latest information builds upon earlier forensic examinations already conducted by: a confidential government-linked source, an independent forensics specialist hired by CBS, and a forensics expert consulting on my lawsuit.
The facts at hand are at odds with widespread attempts to establish public counter-narratives, resulting in reckless reporting in the past that wrongly implied the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) had rejected any notion of an intrusion into my computer(s). In fact, the IG never even reviewed the primary computer in question—a CBS laptop—because CBS News would not permit it. I had asked the IG to examine my personal computer, in which two independent forensics examiners had also identified evidence of intrusions. The IG investigators found and described to me significant suspicious anomalies in that system much like the CBS laptop, unearthing similar efforts by someone to erase data and evidence. However, when the IG computer experts finished their review, the findings went to higher ups and the resulting report was inexplicably withheld from me in its entirety.
I was shut out.
Many months later, under pressure from Congress, the IG eventually released a very different-sounding summary of its forensics report to the press. It recast or excluded much of what the investigators had told me they’d found. I attempted to obtain the full report and original notes, some of which I reviewed while the investigation was underway, describing the suspicious activity found on my personal computer. However, the IG has stonewalled my Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for these documents for several years. If the Department of Justice won’t comply with FOI law, then what recourse does a citizen have?
Meantime, instead of helping us get at the facts, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has attempted to block the federal lawsuit at every turn. For example, their lawyers improperly ignored our first notice asking that the appropriate U.S. Postal Service employee(s) appear to give testimony for discovery. The DOJ lawyers didn’t even go through the appropriate legal processes to oppose discovery; they literally ignored the motion entirely. If the nation’s top law enforcement body doesn’t follow the rule of law, what recourse does a citizen have?
If the Department of Justice wishes to establish that it had nothing to do with the forensically verified intrusions into my computers, it should help us get to the bottom of who did -- instead of obstructing the effort. Above all, in the interest of justice, the Justice Department should want to identify who would have spied on a national journalist reporting on a number of international news stories impacting political officials. To me, there are few more chilling scenarios from the standpoint of constitutional press freedoms and protections in our society.
Deep gratitude to the honest patriots who have been sources for my case because they believe the government attack on a member of the free press is so egregious. (As the case progresses, it's better to be on the side of the law than exposed as someone who knew but kept silent. Government whistleblowers will receive legal protection.)
Contact for Whistleblowers, and for more information: Attorney Tab Turner 501-791-2277
Sharyl Attkisson is a five-time Emmy award winning investigative correspondent and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting. She hosts the Sinclair weekly Sunday TV program: Full Measure, and is author of two New York Times bestsellers, including the new book: "The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think and How You Vote."