The following is the fifth in a series of excerpts from my New York Times bestseller “Stonewalled,” which recounts the government intrusions of my computers. More excerpts to follow.[hr]
| I Spy |
The Government’s Secrets
On January 8, 2013, I’m on my way to meet the contact who will be part of the process that gets my computer analyzed by a confidential source inside the government. I refer to my direct contact as “Number One.” He’s suggested a rendezvous at a McDonald’s in Northern Virginia. When I enter with my laptop tucked under one arm, I scan the patrons and correctly guess which one is my guy. I slip into his booth and we shake hands across the table. No need for formal intro- ductions. After a little small talk, he addresses the issue at hand. He’s a matter-of-fact kind of guy.[hr]
Read excerpt #1 here: The Computer Intrusions: Up at Night
Read excerpt #2 here: Big Brother: First Warnings
Read excerpt #3 here: The Computer Intrusions: Disappearing Act
Read excerpt #4 here: The Incredible, Elusive "Verizon Man"
[hr]“I’ll tell you one thing. People would be shocked to know what this administration is doing in terms of spying on the American pub- lic.” That’s uncannily close to what Jeff had said to me just a few weeks before. And the two men don’t know each other. But both are connected to government three-letter agencies.
Number One explains his arrangements to have my computer analyzed. What I’ll receive is a verbal report. Because of who’s help- ing me, it can’t be anything formal or written. I understand the terms.
The next day, I’m working at my desk at CBS News when my mobile phone rings. It’s Number One.[hr]
Support the Attkisson v. DOJ/FBI Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund to fight the government computer intrusions
[hr]“I thought I’d give you an update,” he says. “Our friend started looking at the product. He’s not finished yet but it’s proving very . . . interesting.”
“Did he find something?” I ask, filling the silence.
“Yes. It’s positive.”
Positive. For what? Positive that nothing is wrong? Positive for some sort of spyware?
“Really?” I say.
“Yeah,” Number One continues. “I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s
pretty shocking. We’re all kind of in a state of shock right now. I don’t want to say too much on the phone. In fact, I’d advise you to start using a burner phone. Do you know what that is?”
I do. The kind of phone that drug dealers and terrorists use so they can’t easily be followed. He says I should use burner phones and switch them out frequently. At least every month. And don’t use them from my house.
“I’ll be able to give you more information tomorrow,” he says.[hr]
A diverse group of Constitutional free press and privacy advocates is supporting Attkisson v. Dept. of Justice/FBI to fight the government computer intrusions. Click here to support.[hr]
We meet at the same place. We settle into a McDonald’s booth and look around. For what, I don’t know, but we look. Number One hands me my laptop and a piece of paper containing some typed notes. For both of us, our worldview has changed just a little.
“First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” says Number One.
He’s impassioned. My attention level escalates. Just two days ago, I’d been fully prepared to be told there was nothing suspicious in my computer. Or maybe that all the evidence was gone. I might be told that the idea of the computer being tapped was the stuff of science fiction or an Orwellian novel. I never thought I’d hear what I was hearing.[hr]
To be continued…[hr]