Sharyl Attkisson spoke about fake news at the University of Nevada recently.
This is her speech. I know it’s long, but if you are wondering what is going on with our media, you need to watch this.
Sharyl Attkisson spoke about fake news at the University of Nevada recently.
This is her speech. I know it’s long, but if you are wondering what is going on with our media, you need to watch this.
The article lists ten examples of the intelligence community running amok:
Joe Nacchio, CEO of telecom giant Qwest, said that after he refused to spy on his customers for the National Security Agency (NSA) without a warrant in February of 2001, the government retaliated by yanking a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars and filing an insider trading case against him. He went to prison. The government denied charges of retaliation.
In 2002, the NSA reportedly engaged in “blanket surveillance” of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, collecting and storing “virtually all electronic communications going into or out of the Salt Lake City area, including … emails and text messages” to “experiment with and fine tune a new scale of mass surveillance.” NSA officials had denied such a program existed.
Spying on Congress
In 2005 intel officials intercepted and recorded phone conversations between then-Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage.
Journalist “witch hunts”
Internal emails from a “global intelligence company” executive in 2010 stated: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.
Misleading on mass spying
On March 12, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that intel officials were not collecting mass data on tens of millions of Americans.
More spying on Congress
NSA privacy violations
In fall 2016, the government confessed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “significant non-compliance” of crucial procedures designed to protect privacy rights of U.S. citizens.
Government requests to see or “unmask” names of Americans whose communications are “incidentally” captured during national security surveillance are supposed to be rare and justified.
Politically motivated press leak
In May 2017, former FBI Director James Comey secretly orchestrated a “leak” to The New York Times of negative memos he said he wrote contemporaneously about President Trump, with the motive of spurring the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president’s alleged Russia ties.
One purpose of special counsel investigations, such as the Russia investigation being led by former FBI Director Mueller, is to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest. But multiple investigators working on Mueller’s team have been removed after being caught in compromising positions.
The swamp has been operating successfully for a number of years. It is time for the leadership in the intelligence community to resign. The intelligence community needs to go back to doing their job of protecting Americans–not spying on people who disagree with their political philosophy.
The article reminds us:
This issue has special meaning to the former CBS reporter, who alleges she was spied on by the Obama administration. She’s documented the reported Obama surveillance timeline on her website as well. Even left leaning journalists, like Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, said the leaks from the intelligence community are a prescription to the destruction of our government. Granted, Greenwald’s publication is set up as a safe space for leakers, and to protect them, as they disseminate information relating to government corruption or wrongdoing. Leaking because Hillary Clinton lost isn’t any of those things. Now, Greenwald fears both the deep state and the Trump White House, but noted the former doesn’t have the institutional constraints to keep their power in check.
Media bias is old news, but every now and then it can be really interesting. The following story illustrates why President Trump needs to hold on to his Twitter account.
This morning the Associated Press reported:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump’s long-sought border wall.
The agreement, the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition, was announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner that Republican lawmakers weren’t invited to attend. It would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which provided temporary work permits and shielded recipients from deportation.
Fox News reported today:
President Trump on Thursday denied reports that he struck a “deal” overnight with top Democrats to protect so-called “Dreamers,” while insisting “massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”
Trump’s Twitter post was in response to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announcing after a dinner meeting at the White House that they had “agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.”
They also said “we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.”
The president clarified Thursday morning that he intends for the wall to be built — and while he wants to helps Dreamers, there’s no deal yet.
The political consequences for President Trump if he does not build a wall would be enormous.
On Tuesday The Hill posted an article about support for the wall among Americans.
These are a few highlights from the article:
Last February, Pew reported similar findings: 62 percent of Americans oppose building a wall. Only 35 percent support it.
But are we telling the whole story?
First, it’s worth looking at what Pew asked: “All in all, would you favor or oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico?” To me, it’s a confusing question. After all, there already is a wall or fencing along approximately 700 miles of the southern border. It might make more sense to ask, “Would you favor or oppose building a wall along the remaining, unwalled portion of the border with Mexico?”
…While we’re in the weeds, assuming there’s value to asking a poll question about something that nobody is proposing, there’s additional nuance to consider. Pew ended up with a Democrat-heavy sample: 38 percent Republican/Republican leaning and 52 percent Democrat/Democrat leaning. The 14 percentage point difference means Pew interviewed 38 percent more Democrat thinkers than Republican thinkers. I can’t find any estimate that says the actual U.S. population is politically lopsided along those lines.
That is how you skew a poll.
The article at The Hill concludes:
There are two things we could do to provide more meaningful reporting. First, when addressing polls on political topics, we should disclose the breakdown of Democrats and Republicans upfront. To state the obvious: findings from a sample that’s made up of 98 percent Republicans will be entirely different than findings from a sample of 98 percent Democrats. How can meaning be put behind results on any political topic without the partisan makeup of the sample being considered?
Second, our reporting could include opposing findings and trends, if they exist. For example, in the most recent Pew poll, “three-quarters (74 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaners supported a border wall” and that support had grown substantially in recent months. Conservative Republican support for a wall was up nine points since Trump was elected President (from 71 percent to 80 percent).
Support also grew among moderate and liberal Republicans (from 51 percent to 60 percent). An accurate headline could just as well have been: “Poll shows growing Republican support for a wall under a Trump presidency.”
All things considered, I came up with my own headline that’s more transparent than many of the ones I saw: “In polls with Democrat-heavy sampling, there’s overwhelming opposition to building a wall along the ‘entire’ border; a concept that nobody is, in fact, proposing.”
The article at The Hill was written by Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson), an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program “Full Measure.” If you are not familiar with her story, please search for her on the Internet and read her history. She definitely knows what she is talking about.
Sharyl Attkisson was an investigative journalist who resigned from CBS News in 2014. She was unbiased and reported events as she saw them. In July 2012, Ms. Attkisson’s reporting on the Fast and Furious scandal received an Emmy Award. Ms. Attkisson has reported that her personal computer and work computer were illegally accessed beginning in 2012. She has posted an article on her website about some of the indications that government surveillance of Americans during the Obama Administration was not unusual.
The article includes a timeline. Here are some highlights:
Someone leaks the unmasked name of Congresswoman Jane Harmon to the press. According to news reports, the Bush administration NSA incidentally recorded and saved Harmon’s phone conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage. The story is first broken by Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein.
December 17, 2009:
The Obama administration prosecutes FBI contractor Shamai Leibowitz for leaking documents to the media in April 2009. Leibowitz says he leaked because he felt FBI practices were “an abuse of power and a violation of the law” which he reported to his superiors at the FBI “who did nothing about them.” (According to the ACLU: “Amazingly, the sentencing judge said, ‘I don’t know what was divulged other than some documents, and how it compromised things, I have no idea’.”)
The IRS secretly begins “targeting” conservative groups that are seeking nonprofit tax-exempt status, by singling out ones that have “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names.
Obama Attorney General Eric Holder renews a Bush-era subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen in a leak investigation.
Obama administration pursues espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. (According to the ACLU: spy charges were later dropped and Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor. The judge called the government’s conduct in the case “unconscionable.”)
May 28, 2010:
September 21, 2010:
Internal email entitled “Obama Leak Investigations” at “global intelligence” company Stratfor claims Obama’s then-Homeland Security adviser John Brennan is targeting journalists.
“Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources,” writes one Stratfor official to another.
The email continues: “Note — There is specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”
Early February 2011:
After receiving an anonymous tip, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson begins researching the Department of Justice “gunwalking” operation nicknamed “Fast and Furious” that secretly let thousands of weapons be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels. One of the “walked” guns had been used by illegal aliens who murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
February 22, 2011:
After the story airs, the government issues an internal memo that seeks to “push positive stories” to contradict the news.
Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week…ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF.
March 4, 2011:
CBS News’ Attkisson exclusively interviews sitting ATF special agent John Dodson. He gives a firsthand account contradicting government denials re: Fast and Furious.
The article continues with the timeline continuing through April 11, 2017, citing actions by the Obama Administration and by the people who remained in government positions after the Obama Administration ended. I think we have a problem. The only possible solution is to find the guilty parties and hold them accountable to the law. One wonders if we are not in a situation similar to what happened when J. Edgar Hoover headed the FBI and collected enough damaging information on everyone in government so that no one ever challenged him when he overstepped the limits of his position. If we have a similar situation now, we may not be able to solve the problem of overactive government surveillance for political purposes, and voters are simply going to have to be smart about what they believe.
President Obama was re-elected in 2012. He won. The Republican Candidate was portrayed as an out-of-touch rich man who caused people to die of cancer. When he warned of the dangers of Russian aggression, Mitt Romney was told, “The 80’s called, they want their foreign policy back.” It was a big joke. And when Mitt Romney pointed out that it took President Obama 14 days to admit the Benghazi attack was terrorism President Obama balked, saying he did it that day.
Well, CBS News edited out part of a ‘60 Minutes‘ interview with President Obama on the day after the Benghazi attacks. During the interview, the President stated, “Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved. but, obviously, it was an attack on Americans.”
Yesterday, Breitbart.com posted an article about the incident. The article reports:
(Investigative Journalist Sharyl) Attkisson said, “Let me say that that exchange should have been pulled out immediately after the debate, which would have been very newsy at the time. It was exclusive to CBS. It would have to me proven Romney’s point against Obama. But that clip was kept secret.”
“I was covering Benghazi, nobody told me we had it and directed me from the ‘Evening News’ to a different clip of the same interview to give the impression that the president had done the opposite. And it was only right before the election that somebody kind of leaked out the transcript to others of us as CBS and we were really shocked. We saw that was something very unethical done to have kept that up.”
She added, “The ‘Evening News’ people who had access to that transcript, according to the emails that I saw when it was sent from ’60 Minutes’ to ‘Evening News’ the very day it was taken, they, in my view, skipped over it, passed it up, kept it secret. And I think that was because they were trying to defend the president and they thought that would be harmful to him.”
I don’t know whether airing that exchange would have changed any votes. I don’t know how well-informed the people who voted for President Obama were. I do know, however, that it was unethical to edit that exchange out of the interview. It prevented the American voters from getting a true picture of the events at Benghazi and the President’s reaction to those events.
Ms. Attkisson tells her story in her book Stonewalled: My Fight For the Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.
In the book, Ms. Attkisson describes the hacking of her computer while she was at CBS:
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.
It is scary that our government is involved in this sort of thing.
John Hinderaker comments on Ms. Attkisson’s story:
If the Obama administration hacked into a reporter’s computers, used them to spy on her, and even prepared to frame her for a potential criminal prosecution by planting classified documents, aren’t we looking at the biggest scandal in American history? Perhaps I’m forgetting something, but I can’t come up with anything to equal the stunning lawlessness on display here–if what Attkisson says is true (which I don’t doubt), and if the administration is the guilty party.
John Hinderaker suggests that she file a lawsuit against the offending agency. Ms. Attkisson’s story is another example of a government that is out of control.
Today’s Daily Signal posted an article by Sharyl Attkisson about the scrubbing of the records turned over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigating the attack on the Benghazi CIA annex. Sharyl Attkisson left the Washington bureau of CBS News after realizing that they were not interested in actual investigative reporting on the Obama Administration. She has continued her investigative reporting and has been one of the few people to continue the investigation into Benghazi.
The article reports:
As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.
The story at the Daily Signal provides a detailed account of Secretary Maxwell stumbling on the operation one Sunday afternoon.
The story continues:
When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.
“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.
“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”
We need more people in Washington with integrity and fewer people who simply follow orders.
The article continues:
When the ARB issued its call for documents in early October 2012, just weeks after the Benghazi attacks, the executive directorate of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was put in charge of collecting all emails and relevant material. It was gathered, boxed and—Maxwell says—ended up in the basement room prior to being turned over.
In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.”
Unfettered? I don’t think so.
The article concludes:
Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.
“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.
“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”
I hope the Congressional Committee investigating Benghazi has better ‘unfettered access’ than the ARB.
I have previously posted articles about the work of Sharyl Attkisson, who left the Washington bureau of CBS News after realizing that they were not interested in actual investigative reporting on the Obama Administration. She is continuing her work as an independent reporter, using the tools often used by Judicial Watch to get information from a less-than-transparent Obama Administration.
The article reports:
The lawsuit follows four unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act requests. In October 2013 and again in June of this year, Attkisson requested information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning the efficiency and security of the HealthCare.gov website.
All four requests went unanswered.
The 1966 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits any person to request access to federal agency records or information. Federal agencies are required to disclose records upon receipt of a written request, except for records that are protected from disclosure by nine exemptions or three exclusions in the Act.
Another government website lists the exceptions:
1) classified national defense and foreign relations information,
(2) internal agency rules and practices,
(3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another law,
(4) trade secrets and other confidential business information,
(5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges,
(6) information involving matters of personal privacy,
(7) certain information compiled for law enforcement purposes,
(8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions, and
(9) geological information on wells.
The article in The Daily Signal reports:
Attkisson admits that her lawsuit can never produce these lost documents “out of thin air,” but she said a court might help “get to the bottom of what occurred.”
Unfazed and optimistic, Attkisson wrote on her website that “It doesn’t hurt to try.”
We need more Sharyl Attkissons!
Sharyl Attkisson was part of the Washington bureau for CBS News. She resigned earlier this year when after investigating the Fast and Furious scandal and the Benghazi scandal, she realized that the network was not interested in reporting the stories she was investigating. The major networks have a political agenda, and they do not deviate from that political agenda regardless of how important a scandal is.
More information on Sharyl Attkisson’s reporting can be found on her website.
Sharyl Attkisson has done an amazing amount of good investigative reporting on the scandals in the Obama Administration. That reporting resulted in her being fired from CBS News, but she is still doing excellent work. On Saturday, June 14th, she posted an article at her website about the emails that were requested by the House Ways and Means Committee that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims it has lost. Anyone who has any experience with computers understands that even in computer crashes, data can generally be recovered. This excuse for not complying with a request from a Congressional oversight committee does not hold water.
Ms. Attkisson has suggested a number of questions that should be asked of the IRS.
She suggests a number of questions, but this is the question that would probably get the most interesting results:
I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.
A friend of mine who blogs at datechguyblog.com put it this way:
That question suggests that not only political operatives and career bureaucrats would come under oath, but IT guys, computer techs, database and data recovery specialists.
It’s not unusual for a political operative to take a fall in order to be a “good soldier” under the theory that it is easier to get hired by a campaign or put in a government job or a friendly think tank after committing an ethical lapse than to be hired by a campaign or being employed by a friendly think tank after reporting on an ethical lapse.
This however doesn’t apply to the IT department, these guys can often find better work at a better wage outside of government and their expertese and ability to get job is not tied to
It’s one thing to get a political hack to lie under oath or to take a fall to keep himself viable in that world, it’s quite another to get the non political people who have no real skin in the game to be willing to perjure themselves before congress in an attempt to claim incompetence.
These guys simply aren’t going to take the fall for a bunch of political hacks.
The clock is ticking, as soon as the IT guys are under oath the IRS scandal is going to explode and that blast is going to take a lot of people with them.
It is going to be an interesting summer.
Sharyl Attkisson continues to investigate the Benghazi cover-up and report on her findings. She is doing the job that CBS News should have been doing when she worked for them. Yesterday she posted an article at sharylattkisson.com with a link to a Department of State email showing that the State Department knew almost immediately that the attack at Benghazi was the work of Islamic militia terrorist group Ansar al Sharia.
This is the main part of the email:
There is no uncertainty assigned to the assessment, which does not mention a video or a protest. The State Department provided the email to Congress in Aug. of 2013 under special conditions that it not be publicly released at that time. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sought and received permission to release it Thursday.
Why is this information coming out now? Because enough people have realized that there has been a cover-up of what actually happened at Benghazi, and many officials (as well as the American people) are tired of being lied to. The Obama Administration has successfully withheld documents and information about the Benghazi attack and the death of Christopher Stevens from Congress and the American people until very recently. It is because the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and those organizations such as Judicial Watch that we are becoming aware of the truth. Hopefully, when you vote in November, you will remember who helped with the cover-up and who helped reveal the truth.
This post is based on two articles–one at Power Line by John Hinderaker, and one by Sharyl Attkisson at sharylattkisson.com. Both articles deal with the cover-up of what happened in Benghazi in September 2011.
John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a picture of the memo that called for the misleading talking points:
There is a second memo between Susan Rice and Eric Pelofsky shown in the John Hinderaker article. This memo expresses concern over the fate of the ambassador.
John Hinderaker observes:
The other striking fact about the emails is the complete absence of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Maybe someone was keeping them informed, but they are never mentioned in the emails (except when someone prepares a statement to be issued under their names). During the crucial hours, they are never referred to. There is no suggestion that they are playing a part; that they are in the loop; that they are making decisions; or that they are, in any way, important players. Maybe there are more emails, not yet disclosed, that would reflect their roles. Or maybe they really were ciphers–seat warmers with no concerns beyond the political, not expected to do anything in an hour of crisis.
Sharyl Attkisson reports:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told me today that the government apparently tried to keep the Rhodes email out of Congress and the public’s hands by classifying it after-the-fact.
“They retroactively changed the classification,” Chaffetz says. “That was an unclassified document and they changed it to classified.”
In the past month, the government has supplied 3,200 new Benghazi-related documents under Congressional subpoena. In some instances, Congressional members and their staff are only permitted to see the documents during certain time periods in a review room, and cannot remove them or make copies.
Chaffetz says that the State Department redacted more material on the copies provided to Congress than on those that it was forced to provide to JudicialWatch.
One of the most heavily-redacted email exchanges is entitled, “FOX News: US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm.” The Fox News article was circulated among dozens of officials including Rhodes and then-Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough but the content of their email discussion is hidden.
The White House lied about Benghazi and then covered up its lies. The lies were told for political purposes–it was the middle of an election campaign. This is an impeachable offense, but America does not have the stomach for impeachment right now. It would be a mistake for the Republicans to go down that road at all. However, an effort should be made to get this story into the mainstream media and make sure Americans are aware that they have been lied to and are still being lied to. The only reason we have these emails is the work of Judicial Watch.
Sharyl Attkisson has set up a website. I strongly recommend that you follow the link and visit the site. Ms. Attkisson resigned her job at CBS after encountering significant interference in her reporting on Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and other administration scandals. At one point her computer was hacked. She is a fantastic investigative reporter who was blocked from doing her job. The website is organized by topic, with links to various stories she has written on specific topics. I wish her the best and hope her website gets a million hits!
Politico reported Monday:
Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.
At the same time, Attkisson’s reporting on the Obama administration, which some staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. She is currently at work on a book — tentatively titled “Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington” — that addresses the challenges of reporting critically on the administration.
…Attkisson joined CBS News from CNN in 1993. She served as an overnight anchor for two years before becoming a Washington-based correspondent, a position she held until this week. She has won five Emmy awards for her reporting on Fast and Furious, the Red Cross, Republican fundraising, TARP and border patrol.
Ms. Attkisson is a very good investigative reporter, and I hope she can find a job where her skills will be appreciated and she will be able to bring us more great reporting.
The argument in Roe v. Wade was about Americans‘ right to privacy. This isn’t an article about abortion, but I think it is interesting to remember that argument in light of everything that is happening in America today–the NSA is spying on Americans, the IRS is targeting Americans, political opposition is being targeted, etc. Don’t Americans have the right to express themselves privately? Are we losing that right if we don’t agree with the people in power?
On Monday, CBS in Philadelphia reported that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer had been hacked. Ms. Attkisson is a CBS reporter who was pursuing stories on both Fast and Furious and the attack at Benghazi. I posted an article about her in May concerning her problems with the Obama Administration because of her reporting.
The article reports Ms. Attkisson’s comments on the hacking::
“Whoever was in my work computer, the only thing I was working on were work-related things with CBS were big stories I guess during the time period in questions were I guess Benghazi and ‘Fast and Furious.’ The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there.”
…“We’re continuing to move forward aggressively, CBS News takes this very seriously, as do I. I think whenever an unauthorized party comes into the home of an American, whether it’s any private citizen or journalist and gets in their house, searches their computers — these are computers my family uses — and they’re inserting or removing material for whatever their reasons are, I think that’s a really serious and disturbing matter and we’re gonna follow it up and keep pursuing it.”
It will be interesting to see how far CBS News takes this investigation. I have a feeling that they may not like what they find and may be reluctant to report it.
It seems rather obvious that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was a little unfair to to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but there is more to the story. Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some other very questionable activities the IRS was engaging in during the past few years.
The article at Hot Air cites a McClatchy news story about IRS harrassment:
McClatchy includes the case of Catherine Engelbrecht, which CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson co-reported yesterday. That case, of course, goes far beyond the IRS; Engelbrecht’s business got harassed by the FBI, ATF, and OSHA as well, which would mean coordination far above the Treasury Department. They also include the case of an anti-abortion group that was told they couldn’t picket Planned Parenthood locations if they wanted to keep their exemption, and a Nebraska veteran who got hassled in an IRS audit over his donations to his church once he began donating to conservative causes.
John Eastman, a constitutional law professor and former Dean at Chapman University in California, posted an article at USA Today explaining an IRS abuse that took place during the debate on homosexual marriage in California in 2012.
Professor Eastman explains:
My organization was not the only conservative-linked political group or business that appears to have faced shady actions from IRS employees. ProPublica reported this week that the IRS handed over to them confidential documents of nine conservative organizations whose applications for non-profit status were still pending. Among them: Crossroads GPS, a key group backing Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign.
Our case was particularly egregious because the IRS leak of confidential information fed directly into an ongoing political battle. For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage HRC had been demanding that my group, NOM, publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.
Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there’s little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.
For the IRS to leak any organization’s tax return to its political opponents is an outrageous breach of ethics and, if proven, constitutes a felony. Every organization — liberal and conservative — should shudder at the idea of the IRS playing politics with its confidential tax return information. But the situation here is even more egregious because the head of the HRC was at the time serving as a national co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign.
On Tuesday the House Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings to allow the victims of IRS targeting to testify. During the next two weeks, the House Oversight Committee will be interviewing the ‘low level employees’ in Cincinnati who have been scapegoated for these crimes. It will be interesting to hear what they say about who was directing their activities. Keep in mind that targeting specific groups and releasing tax information is a crime. It may be an interesting week.
Finding out the cause of this tragedy and the reasons America left people there to die will not bring the dead back to life, but contrary to what Former Secretary of State Clinton said, it does make a difference.
Yesterday Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard reported that CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who has been covering the Operation Fast and Furious scandal for CBS News was screamed at by the White House and Justice Department for reporting on the story. Ms. Attkisson was interviewed on the Laura Ingraham show, the transcript of the interview is posted in the Weekly Standard article.
The article reports:
Ingraham: So they were literally screaming at you?
Attkisson: Yes. Well the DOJ woman was just yelling at me. The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me. [Laura: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?] Eric Schultz. Oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler, she was yelling not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.”
Finally, Attkisson notes that the White House is claiming that a thorough investigation of the scandal is unwarranted:
[The White House and Justice Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter–as they told me–that is not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.
This may explain why CBS is the only news outlet that has actually asked questions about Operation Fast and Furious. I think it is particularly interesting that the reporter was accused of being biased because she has pursued the story. Wouldn’t she have been biased if she had chosen to ignore the story?