Notifying CBS About the Government Computer Intrusions

The following is the seventh 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]
page299image5824160page299image5824368Number One has firsthand experience in covert government surveillance. “Reporters used to be off-limits,” he opines. “Even when we had a court order on a bad guy, if a reporter even lived anywhere in the vicinity, we stayed away. You just didn’t go near journalists. It was sacrosanct. Obviously, that’s changed.”

I tell him about the extra fiber optics line on the back of my house.

“It’s possible somebody was using that,” he tells me. “But taps aren’t usually done at people’s homes anymore. It’s all done through Verizon. They cooperate. There’s no need to come to your house; we can get everything we want through the phone company.”

[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]

This is months before Edward Snowden would reveal exactly that, building on revelations by New York Times reporter Risen and others who had written as far back as 2005 of phone companies assisting the government with surveillance.

I gather my laptop and notes, get a Coke to go, and know that the next step I need to take is notifying my supervisor at CBS News. The implications far surpass my own computer and personal life. The infiltration includes the CBS email system and the news division’s proprietary software used in writing scripts and organizing the daily news broadcasts. The intruders could have accessed the entire CBS corporate system. This is huge. I can’t reveal to CBS who’s helping me or exactly how I know what I know, but they’re aware that I have well-placed sources.


I walk straight into the CBS News Washington bureau and look for my bureau chief, Chris Isham. Isham is a longtime investigative reporter with plenty of knowledge about the way the government operates. He’ll understand more than most the implications of what I’m about to tell him. He invites me into his office and closes the door. He sits on a short couch, and I plop into an adjacent chair with my notes and fill him in.

“I can’t be the only one they’re doing this to,” I conclude.
“I know,” he agrees. “You can’t be.”
But Isham doesn’t want to sound the corporation’s alarm bells yet.

[hr]Support the Attkisson v. DOJ/FBI Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund to fight the government computer intrusions[hr]

He explains that since my sources have to be protected, even from CBS, we will reach out to a trusted, private analysis firm and see if they can duplicate the findings of an intrusion on the CBS computer. If so, he says, we can then go to CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and CBS News president David Rhodes with the information.

But there’s a challenge with this plan: I notice that that typewritten note from Number One says my computer is now “clean.” Does that mean everything has been wiped from it?

I communicate with Number One to ask the question. The next day, he returns with an answer. The inside government analyst did wipe the computer.

“Why did he do that?” I ask Number One. I’m forever grateful for the help he’s given. Without it I probably wouldn’t even know today that I’d been the subject of a criminal intrusion. But why did he wipe the evidence?

“I don’t know. I’m not sure in the beginning we really expected to find anything. And I guess we never talked about what the procedure would be if we did,” says Number One.

It’s true. In fact, I’m pretty sure none of us in the group actually expected any real evidence to be discovered. We never played out the scenario.

“Maybe he thought he was doing me a favor,” I suggest. “Maybe he thought he was helping me by cleaning up my computer and get- ting it running smoothly again.” Cleaned up. Running smoothly, say the notes on the typewritten paper.

Duplicating the evidence now will take a miracle.[hr]To be continued…[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”

Read excerpt #5 here: I Spy: The Government’s Secrets

Read excerpt #6 here: The Computer Intrusions: The Discovery [hr]

Support the Attkisson v. DOJ/FBI Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund to fight the government computer intrusions[hr]

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