NEW: Decision in Attkisson government computer intrusion case

Even with airtight forensics and an admission from a former federal agent involved in some of the illegal surveillance, hope for accountability in the case of the government spying on me and my family fades further.

The judge has dismissed the case against two of the defendants: Rod Rosenstein and Shawn Henry.

The court agreed on a variety of fronts with the Department of Justice attorneys defending the pair, who have fought mightily for years, defending the guilty agents rather than holding them accountable: Too much time has passed since the crimes. The venue is wrong. The defendants enjoy immunity. 

And, in short, the court is telling us we must prove who, precisely, did which acts where— before we are entitled to discovery that would show us who, precisely, did which act where.

As one federal judge who previously agreed with our side said: It’s “Kafkaesque” and circular reasoning that makes accountability impossible. 

I went into this years ago wrongly believing if one has proof (we’ve proven the government illegally surveilled my computers) there would be immediate accountability. 

When the Department of Justice covered up instead of holding its agents accountable, I wrongly believed the proof could be presented to court and the case would, by default, be won.

For years, with the help of a tireless legal team and Fourth Amendment advocates, I have pursued a very expensive case against the Department of Justice and the responsible agents. They use unlimited taxpayer money to make sure my case doesn’t succeed.

I have since learned that all the proof in the world, a half dozen independent forensics exams, and even an admission by a guilty party, are not enough to pierce the tilted justice system when powerful interests want a case to go away. 

Since I filed my case some years ago, there have been countless other well documented examples of our Justice Department and its personnel breaking rules, laws, and failing to serve the public interest. The surveillance abuses have been confirmed by both Democrat and Republican investigators, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They are no longer theoretical.

Read more about the case here.

I firmly believe if the Department of Justice had been forced to properly handle the outrageous incidents of spying on me— and hundreds of others unnamed citizens and journalists who didn’t have the forensic contacts and connections to obtain proof that I was lucky enough to have— we might have been able to prevent the government surveillance abuses that happened post-2014, and likely continue today.

Instead, the government has been given the green light to illegally spy on any journalist, citizen, political figure, judge— you name it— and there is no way for the ones who are intruded upon to hold the guilty parties accountable.

The guilty parties are, unfortunately, the ones who get to decide justice.

What’s left?

There are still claims possible against remaining defendants in my case, but no reason to think that the outcome will be different. My legal team will be deciding the next step soon.

Two years ago this month, Judge James Wynn of the U.S. Court of Appeals commented (in a dissenting opinion that supported my case):

Not only should we disapprove of the tactics the government used to run out the clock on Attkisson’s claims, but we should also reject the troubling “game plan” it provided for the government and private parties to prevent disclosure of—and, therefore, responsibility for—their potentially unconstitutional or illegal electronic surveillance activities…

Beginning in the late 1960s, when the University of North Carolina Tar Heels seized the lead in the second half of a basketball game, Hall of Fame head coach Dean Smith would raise his arm and put up four fingers. Requiring no further instruction, two post players would run to the two corners of the court formed by the baseline and the sidelines, and two wing players would move to the corners formed by the mid-court line and the sidelines. The point guard—most famously, Phil Ford—would then dribble the ball at the top of the key as the clock ticked down, occasionally exchanging the ball with one of the wing or post players if the defense applied too much pressure. In this offense—commonly referred to as the “Four Corners”—the clock was the Tar Heels’ best friend. The longer the Tar Heels held the ball on offense, the less time their opponent had to try to score and cut into the Tar Heels’ lead. The Four Corners proved so successful that college basketball’s powers-that-be effectively outlawed it through the adoption of the shot clock in 1985. In this case, the government—not unlike Dean Smith’s Tar Heels—put up the “fours” when Plaintiff-Appellant Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist formerly employed by CBS News, filed suit against unnamed employees and agents of the federal government (the “Doe Defendants”).

Attkisson alleged that the Doe Defendants conspired to violate her constitutional and statutory rights by accessing and commandeering her home and work internet-connected devices for surveillance purposes. But 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—it filed motions challenging venue and jurisdiction, motions challenging the sufficiency of service, motions for extension of time, motions to dismiss, and motions for protective orders. And just as the Tar Heels had great success running the Four Corners, the government’s strategy worked. Although Attkisson diligently sought to identify the Doe Defendants for nearly four years—including by repeatedly serving discovery on the government and third-parties directed at identifying the Doe Defendants—the district court dismissed her case with prejudice against the Doe Defendants for failing to comply with a court order to identify the names of the Doe Defendants by a date certain. The district court did so even though the government’s delaying tactics deprived Attkisson of any meaningful opportunity to engage in the discovery necessary to identify the Doe Defendants.

Judge James Andrew Wynn, U.S. Court of Appeals

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56 thoughts on “NEW: Decision in Attkisson government computer intrusion case”

  1. So sad to hear about this! I’m not surprised and I’m sure you aren’t either. It’s a complete travesty! Thank you for your dogged determination . You are a wonderful citizen warrior!

  2. OMG. I guess you’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you. Sorry Sharyl, unless you’re part of the “lefty” team, you can forget about justice or fairness. Keep up the good fight. We need you!

  3. Michael G Marriam

    There are now three certainties in life: death, taxes, and employees of the highest law enforcement organization in the US government are not regulated by the laws they enforce on others. Tell me again why anyone questions why so many loath our government?

  4. Raymond Greenwood

    Prayers and good thoughts Sheryl, believe in right versus wrong….keep fighting for your just cause….

  5. Did the Journalists groups work with you to break the details ?
    Did the Police and the DA take the case and help ?
    Did the AG/DOJ take the case and work with you to stop illegal hacking ?
    Will you appeal again Sharyl ??

  6. Imagine the outcome of the American Revolution, if it were left to the British courts to decide whether the American patriots had proper standings

    1. Yes….violent revolution is looking more and more like the only alternative that will ever save the American experiment….born in revolution….re-born again in revolution.

  7. This isn’t the America our Founders envisioned. They are rolling over in their graves. Citizens are no longer the government. None of the three branches of our government act on the side of the Constitution, the rule of law, or on behalf the taxpayers whose dollars support their greed, graft, and corruption. We have become voiceless subjects. Serfs, not citizens.

  8. Thanks for giving it your best shot and working so hard to make those in power acknowledge their crimes against you and other citizens. You are and will continue to be an inspiration for those who fight for justice. You are a warrior-hero.

  9. Yep! The swamp is everywhere!! It’s getting worse every day! Don’t know what to do about it. We can’t question election fraud and when they did they got the same runaround you got!! Sometimes it feels as if another country has infiltrated our country and we are going to be taken down from within!!!!!!

  10. Totalitarian governments don’t issue apologies or admit wrongdoing. They steal elections before everybody’s eyes, selectively prosecute and root out any dissension. It’s what they do.

  11. Your years long pursuit to get some accountability really is “Kafkaesque” and its now reaching Salvador Dali levels of surrealism.

    Can you share any ideas as to what kind information or story projects could possibly have prompted the “hackers”? You’ve done many tremendous investigative news stories yet what kind of story from years ago would prompt an intrusion of your work & home computers?

    Is CBS providing any legal support for you? Didn’t some of the “hacking” occur at the CBS offices? Wouldn’t CBS want to learn who or why their office computers were being hacked?

    Hope your situation can be successfully resolved.

  12. Miss – this is why Black Lives Matter actually has grass roots support. Think of all the poor blacks who got royally screwed by police, the FBI, Sheriffs, ATF, prosecutors and judges. A big majority of them lie even on the witness stand, cheat, hide evidence, plant evidence, get “snitches” to tell on people in trade for time off. This is why BLM got so much support and ‘defund the police’ got so much support. But it is even worse because they got screwed by being sent to jail or prison. You just got your info and privacy messed with. Noting I don’t agree with BLM or defund the police.

      1. I weep with you Sharyl. Nonetheless, simple words of wisdom – Do what is right anyway. I unfortunately missed one of your most recent episodes about super soldiers. I don’t believe you have to look to China though – Please review in full Now so much of what we are presently going through makes too much sense. You are not alone in your deep sadness. Believe in our Constitution and continue to demand accountability. Peace A Citizen

    1. Make that: The Dept of the Deep State to serve the Deep State.
      Do we need to remind ourselves this travesty is funded by our own tax dollars.

      There can no longer be a severed connection between what we are paying for, and what we are getting in retrun. Even more so when it comes to funding public education. ROI = minus negative.

  13. This is what happens in a failing empire soon to collapse under it’s own corruption into social unrest and revolution. Did you file this complaint in the district of corruption, if you did what did you expect.

  14. No confidence at all in the justice department at any level from the FBI thru the courts and even the Supreme Court. America is dead.

  15. You already won! For what is a purpose of legal proceedings if not to tell the community of what had transpired and who is a villain. By fighting your fight and not giving in an inch you exposed them for what they are, and that is a victory. Let them hide cowardly behind their dirty lawyerly tricks. We know better!
    And THANK YOU!

  16. I thank you for your efforts despite the outcome. Too many sheeple simply sit on the sidelines and complain but won’t even take the time to advocate for their perspective. The circular logic applied in support of dismissing your case is maddening but as an ex-government drone myself, I would expect nothing less. I too have lost all faith in any government entity above local towns and even there I’ve gotten to where I expect to get burned more often than not. You’ve become my very favorite news professional because of your willingness to provide access to unbiased material that is so uncommon in your industry. Thanks once again!

  17. I am so sorry Sharyl, This is very disappointing!! I am so proud of you though for continuing to report the truth and fight for justice. I hope someday we will have people in office that really care about truth and justice and that know they work for the people. Truth will prevail in this life and or the next . God sees they won’t get away with anything in the end.

  18. I am so sorry.

    My very first court case as a new lawyer in the 1980’s was against a leading local lawyer who had abused over express probate code requirements, handling an estate of a decedent, including paying himself from estate funds without notice to the beneficiaries, court hearing and approval by the judge.

    The probate judge was a friend of this leading probate lawyer and they ruled against me every step of the way.

    Ultimately there was nothing left of the estate for my clients who were the children of the decedent’s first marriage, So we were fighting only for principle; no longer estate principal.

    The best the judge came up with after I presented my laundry list of a documented probate code abuses, backed up with court accounting figures, is the judge declared this estate lawyer had “informally” handled this case” , but there was nothing left to award the judge just got settled with a token final amount..

    No claw-back of misspent funds, no punishment, no restitution. Just split the difference of what was left and wrap it up.

    I came to accept this was the best lesson I could learn as a new lawyer – the system is rigged; even “blind justice” is not blind and the rule of law can be “informal” according to the judges personal prejudices.

    A more seasoned lawyer friend warned me up front – don’t you know the fix is already in? No, that did not stop me because I had to answer to my 20 year old client – on of four estate beneficiaries, who brought this complaint to my attention – “they cant do things like this can they?”.

    I looked him in the eye and said firmly No! And took on this case pro bono. But they did, and you proved they still do.

    Our veneer of civilization is precarious. All systems while looking good in theory are still carried out and enforced by craven humans, who are never as noble as their calling or cause.

    In a way I was glad I got this searing lesson early in my legal career – it has guided all other aspects and expectations about “the law” from that time forward. In the long run this lesson served me well. Stay out of court, get it in writing and trust, but verify.

    Judges and courts are government employees, so the deep state rules “justice” as well. It is a job and they get paid. And they drink a lot.

    1. Although I regret to hear this summary on a humanitarian level (where the thought of integrity is praised, and its definition of “incorruptible” is based on the idea that justice would be consistent and according to the constitution of the land, and unaffected by personal/professional relationships), it would make for a captivating (sounds like bet-bliks) drama.

  19. Every recent example of who controls the levels of power in our country is a very scary revelation.
    I’ve backed your journey financially. Justice was not served, once again.

    Thank you for providing the eye openers in Slanted, and for referring your listeners to Glenn Greenwald, whose writings have been spot on!

    Keep Journalism alive Sharyl!

  20. “..whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” It is the Duty of the People.

  21. I’m truly sorry. The painful truth is that the “Dept. of Justice” needs to be renamed; “The Department of Law to Serve the Deep State”. The real tragedy is that the Court system is also now so politically tainted that only those with power, influence and money have any hope of even a fair, let alone just, hearing.

    1. Make that: The Dept of the Deep State to serve the Deep State.
      Do we need to remind ourselves this travesty is funded by our own tax dollars.

      There can no longer be a severed connection between what we are paying for, and what we are getting in retrun. Even more so when it comes to funding public education. ROI = minus negative.

  22. So sorry, Sharyl! This must be really painful to keep trying to stand up against the giant – especially knowing that realistically you have little hope. But it’s on principle that you do what you do and take the blows that you continue to endure. In your humility, I know you would say that you’re not doing this for yourself, but if they can get away with this with you, then they can do this to anyone.

    Thank you for all you do! Fight the good fight. Never compromise your convictions. It matters. Know that we’re behind you.

  23. I’m in the middle of writing a satirical spy novel. Every time I think I’ve taken something to a hyperbolic extreme, reality comes along and surpasses my imagination.

  24. Michael H Telgenhof,

    Based on this decision and others in the Justice Dept,IRS,FBI, Supreme Court the republic is close to death.
    Thank you, and those that fought with you, for fighting a great fight for all Americans. I pray that some miracle or awakening will get those with the power to change the course, act before it is too late. (if it is not already). Your lifelong commitment to discover and bring to light the truth shine a great spotlight on the foes of liberty and freedom for all American citizens to see.

  25. We’ve already lost our republic. Ever since Obama corrupted our FBI and other agencies, they have become tools of the Deep State, running roughshod over anyone who gets in their way, whether it be President Trump, Sharyl Attkisson, or anyone right of center.

  26. Sharyl, I am so very sorry. Thank you for fighting this corrupted deep state government. This case., along with what we have witnessed since, shows how massive a problem we have. Our country is in real serious trouble. This is why I fully support the only option left to save it and restore what we once had through a convention of States. I hope you keep fighting the good fight, but understand if you don’t. These horrible people, including their protectors, will answer to a higher being one day for all they have done.

  27. I truly fear for our beloved country. Too many are no longer thinking of freedom & justice, but how can we tie the hands of those who think differently. They are, by definition, Lenin’s “useful idiots.” When they realize what they’ve done it will be too late.
    I admire you. Thank you for STANDING! I am donating from my GOVERNMENT stimulus check.

  28. Thank you for your effort to hold people accountable and for sharing the updates. It’s sad to learn that our court system is so corrupt.

  29. Whenever I hear or read about government agents and spies intervening into someone’s life I think about a few stories and their ironies. Some years ago I addressed a group of very fancy Minnesota Supreme Court justices and big shot lawyers about Judicial Malfeasance and Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, among other things. I began my speech by telling these finely honed minds that I was not there to discuss my personal problems with the legal system, but rather I wished to speak in an advocate role on behalf of several people quietly seated in the back of the room, all of whom had horror stories about a failed legal system. I have wondered many times if any of the minds present have considered the need for true advocacy, or were my words perceived to be just more hot air. Recently I listened to Mathematics Professor Thomas Treloar from Hillsdale discuss the unfortunate departure of Euclid from academia fifty years prior to the writing of Screwtape by CS Lewis. In Screwtape Lewis describes how satisfied the demons are that the media has lost all objectivity and logic making their temptation work so much easier. Brian Kelley died quite early in life after a career with the cia. Mr. Kelley’s life was turned upside down by the fbi after he was suspected at being a spy for the kgb. The spy inside the US who had given Russia so many secrets turned out to be an fbi agent, and not the man the fbi had accused. Another case of abuse was that of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, a Russian soldier arrested for writing some letters. His sentence was prison for many years. Following his release in Russia Solzhenitsyn came to the USA eventually addressing the graduation at Harvard. During the famous Harvard address he said “the west will fall, because the people lack civic courage.” I would remind all my friends in the cia and fbi that the “Civic Courage” discussed by the Russian soldier is something they must help restore. Liberty is not at odds with intelligence gathering, but Mr. Clinesmith taught us all how simple it is to cross the Rubicon. Go forth and smite the evil doer, but don’t live under a false pretense that the coninuation of the violations of personal liberty described so well in the United States Constitution will magically disappear when mistakes are made. They don’t, and innocent people have died because of these mistakes.

  30. as long as we have bought and owned judges. AMERICA WILL KEEP GOING DOWN HILL. and nothing show how bad it has become that the (STILLING THE 2020 ELECTIONS ). AND FROM HERE AMERICA IS IN A FREE FALL . AND THE BOTTOM IS JEST RIGHT AROUND THE CONER

  31. If several people drive to a home, or a bank, and two go inside and rob it (and/or worse) while the third one waits outside in the car…. but the police, prosecutors or judge can’t “prove” exactly who did what (meaning: who organized the robbery, who went into the home or bank… and who waited in the car) would the judge throw out the case because they can’t “prove exactly who did what?”

    Of course not. We do not remotely live in the type of country, most people believe we do. The “in your face–you can’t touch us” injustice in Sharyl’s case, exemplifies that FACT very well.

  32. I’m so sorry at the outcome, but not at all surprised. You fought a good fight, but the department of injustice has an impenetrable exoskeleton. It along with the FBI, NSA, and other governmental agencies, are nothing but parasites on the backs of the American people. Perhaps not in our lifetime, but eventually right will prevail.

  33. They are as corrupt as you think.
    I wish things would have turned out better for you, Sharyl! Thanks for keeping us updated.

  34. What a crock. The federal judges are all useless and weak. Even the ones put on the Sup. Ct by Trump seem to lead the way to the land of stupidity and wokeness.

  35. Based upon what I have seen and read of late of the American justice system (not to mention intelligence and securities departments as well,) with the Attkisson case, the Trump Russia collusion by the FBI, CIA and DOJ under the Obama administration, the lessons learned by 2 eminent Canadians, Mark Steyn and Conrad Black, the enrichment of politicians who are able to serve multiple terms, the slack securities laws, the politicizations of the courts and the legal system, the death of free speech at the hands of the out-of-control Left, election fraud, and on and on, it has come to my realization, despite the massive propaganda that one hears over the years from the arts and the culture, that America has many aspects of its government that is a complete cesspool and that the civilizational suicide that it is currently pursuing may just be the natural result of an American experiment, that began with so much hope, and yet over the last 50 years or so has been completely destroyed. Hopefully other market-based democracies of the West will learn from what has happened to the US and will not follow down the same path.

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