The following is an excerpt of an article in Politico by Josh Gerstein. Read the entire article by clicking the link at the end.
A TV journalist known for against-the-grain reporting is unleashing a new flurry of litigation on Friday alleging she was subjected to illegal surveillance by U.S. officials while covering Obama administration controversies such as the Benghazi attack and Operation Fast and Furious nearly a decade ago.
Now, Sharyl Attkisson says an informant has acknowledged a role in the snooping. The journalist and her attorneys believe that development may be enough to allow her to restart the litigation and demand answers from government officials...
One of those Attkisson is now accusing of directing the surveillance was little known at the time but was regular headline fodder in the past couple of years: Rod Rosenstein. He was the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore for 12 years and went on to serve as deputy attorney general under President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019.
The suit claims that Attkisson, as well as her husband and daughter, were targeted by an interagency task force which was based in Baltimore and overseen by Rosenstein. A newly-filed suit asserts Rosenstein “ordered” four government employees “to conduct home computer surveillance on the Attkissons and other U.S. citizens.”...
...Attkisson faces an uphill legal battle in trying to revive the litigation, but she and her attorneys saw a glimmer of hope in a ruling last March from a federal appeals court. The 4th Circuit decision upheld the tossing-out of an earlier suit she brought in Virginia, but said the dismissal was “without prejudice,” leaving open the possibility she could try to proceed by revising her suit.
In addition, one judge on the appeals court panel teed-off on the federal government, calling its stance in the case “Kafkaesque.” Judge James Wynn Jr. said that the Justice Department frustrated Attkisson’s efforts to identify those involved, then urged her case be thrown out for failing to name the government officials responsible for the alleged snooping.
Wynn compared the feds’ approach to the “four corners” strategy University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith perfected a half-century ago to run out the clock on offense when his team was ahead.
“In this case, the government — not unlike Dean Smith’s Tar Heels — put up the ‘fours,’” Wynn wrote, referring to the hand sign Smith used to signal the play. “Attkisson never got a meaningful opportunity to pursue her claims because the government did everything in its power to run out the clock on Attkisson’s action.”...
...A Justice Department inspector general inquiry found no signs of illegal surveillance and suggested the problems could be due to mundane issues, like a stuck laptop key.*** But Attkisson says DOJ never managed to get access to her work computer and explanations like a stuck key don’t explain why others were logging into her Skype account or why experts found some data on her computer was being relayed to a mysterious internet server address tied to the U.S. Postal Service.
***Attkisson note: There has been widespread misreporting on this point. Please see clarifications below.
In 2014, after initial forensic exams revealed remote government intrusions into the operative computers, the CBS Toshiba Laptop and the iMac Desktop; Attkisson was working on a new computer— a MacBook Air— and managed to captured a brief video of deletions of data being made remotely on that device.
After Attkisson posted the video, a disinformation campaign was launched by the Obama and Clinton-affiliated smear group “Media Matters.” Assisted by their media associates and affiliates, they maliciously and with reckless disregard for the truth claimed a Department of Justice Inspector General exam disproved the allegations of government intrusions into Attkisson’s computers. They further alleged that the signs of intrusion were simply due to a “stuck back space key.” This is demonstrably false on multiple levels:
Importantly, the DOJ IG never examined Attkisson’s MacBook Air pictured in the video.
There is no “back space key” on the MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air was wiped remotely at speeds not possible with a “stuck” or held down key.
Neither did the DOJ IG examine the main computer at issue: the compromised CBS Toshiba laptop.
Therefore, it is false to state or imply that the DOJ IG ruled out or was in a position to rule out the remote intrusions into Attkisson’s computers, which were proven through multiple forensic exams.
To read the entire Politico story, click the link below:
Fight improper government surveillance. Support Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI over the government computer intrusions of Attkisson's work while she was a CBS News investigative correspondent. Visit the Attkisson Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund. Click here.