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Obama hacked reporters’ computer?

Star Trek The Next Generation meets Mission Impossible

Former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked, or so she says in a new book “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” She says her phone’s acting funny. Oh, and her TV is on the fritz too. The mysterious government IP guru, “Number One,” found “classified documents deep inside her operating system” possibly put there to frame her. I might expect this story at Western Journalism (which has it) or Fox News (which has it), but I’m reading the Washington Post.

Why the intrusions? Attkisson believes it is the result of her Benghazi reporting. You remember, that scandal where nobody did anything deliberately wrong?

The story reads more like a thriller spy movie than a news story (“Suddenly data in my computer file begins wiping at hyperspeed before my very eyes”). Most of Attkisson’s security expert sources are given pseudonyms, and the one real name she gave won’t comment. It’s a serious accusation, but completely unverifiable at this point.

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39 Responses to Obama hacked reporters’ computer?

  1. avatar
    Bonsall Obot October 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    The fact that the accusation is unverifiable just proves how diabolical Obama is.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I see three possibilities:

    1) Attkisson is paranoid schizophrenic
    2) Somebody is messing with her, but not the government
    3) The government is messing with her.

    I can’t decide which I think is most likely.

  3. avatar
    Bonsall Obot October 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    4. She has inadvertantly downloaded documents of which she is unaware.
    5. She has downloaded documents and forgotten she did so.
    6. She is lying.

    I know which one I find likeliest.

  4. avatar
    Daniel October 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    7. Her career’s in the toilet and she needs to generate attention and the illusion that she’s somehow important enough as a journalist to have the white house hack her computer.

  5. avatar
    Janny October 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Off topic, but does anyone have an update on Taitz today?

  6. avatar
    JPotter October 29, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I see two patterns here:

    1. Wingnut mouthpieces eventually resort to reporting persecution of themselves by the entities they are fixated on.

    2. Once they go there, each wingnut mouthpiece repeatedly report persecution of themselves by the entities they are fixated on.

    Oh, I guess that really only one pattern. 😉

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    There are some bits on the Fogbow here:

    http://thefogbow.com/forum/topic/7116-taitz-v-johnson-sd-texas-taitzs-immigration-folly/page-147#entry587950

    And an eyewitness report on Facebook:

    https://www.facebook.com/staremma.pereztrevino

    I’ve been at choir practice and haven’t been able to look around.

    Janny: Off topic, but does anyone have an update on Taitz today?

  8. avatar
    jdkinpa October 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    8. She shooting for the top 10 fiction list at The New York Times.

  9. avatar
    Dave October 29, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    It’s hard for me to regard this as a “serious accusation” when her description of events is nonsensical. Maybe I’m supposed to regard this as something that could actually have happened, but just sounds like nonsense because it’s described by an idiot who knows less than nothing about computers?

  10. avatar
    ObiWanCannoli October 29, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    Daniel:
    7. Her career’s in the toilet and she needs to generate attention and the illusion that she’s somehow important enough as a journalist to have the white house hack her computer.

    7. Her career’s in the toilet and she needs to generate attention and the illusion that she’s somehow important enough as a journalist civil rights attorney to have the white house hack her computer.

    This leads to the logical conclusion that Attkisson may have a birther agenda.

  11. avatar
    CarlOrcas October 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Daniel:
    7. Her career’s in the toilet and she needs to generate attention and the illusion that she’s somehow important enough as a journalist to have the white house hack her computer.

    Bingo! And, of course, she’s trying to hustle a job with Fox.

  12. avatar
    RanTalbott October 29, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    “There’s key evidence of a government computer connection to my computer. A sort of backdoor link that leads to an ISP address for a government computer that can’t be accessed by the general public on the Web. It’s an undeniable link to the U.S. government.”

    This sounds like the sort of “garbledegook” we get from birfoons trying to cite technical “evidence” they don’t understand: there might be something substantial there, but the terminology is wrong, and there’s no chain of evidence and logic to support the conclusion.

    It’s not unreasonably paranoid to consider the possibility that someone in the government snooped her Mac. Perhaps legally, perhaps not (but the creepiness of FISA warrants and “national security letters” is another topic, for another venue). But it is unreasonable to conclude that, based on what’s been presented.

    Given her obvious lack of tech knowledge, it’s at least arguably more likely that her (vulnerable due to lack of protection) machine got roped into a botnet that was attacking the Sekrit Gummint Puter than the other way around.

    Her attribution of nefarious motives to what sound like a perfectly normal glitch in the digital TV data stream and a stuck backspace key doesn’t strengthen her case.

    Looks to me like CBS let her go because the quality of her work had dropped.

  13. avatar
    Rickey October 29, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    Attkisson’s complaints about her computer are reminiscent of similar complaints made by Orly about her computer.

  14. avatar
    Suranis October 30, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    And Butterdezillion.

    I’ll be charitable and say that she is misinterpreting what she is seeing, or she picked up some Malware somewhere.

  15. avatar
    Suranis October 30, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    The Eyewitness report of the Taitz show is at

    http://www.valleymorningstar.com/premium/article_dc6706a6-5fdd-11e4-9f96-001a4bcf6878.html

    Go and give them a click 🙂

  16. avatar
    justlw October 30, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    Taitz also alleges that she has been injured in that she suffers from respiratory concerns, a cough, that she allegedly contracted from treating immigrants in her dental practice and requires the use of an oxygen machine. Hanen told her that she might have standing to sue regarding this alleged injury. “I’m trying to get you to focus on that,” Hanen told Taitz.

    I think it’s swell that she’s finally found a career coach.

  17. avatar
    Lupin October 30, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    That commenter echoes my thoughts:

    Jonathan Taylor Powell · Top Commenter
    At best, Orly Taitz is a lying sack of Russian feces, with a mail-order legal degree, who should be disbarred. If California had a functioning Bar Association, that is.

  18. avatar
    The Magic M October 30, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    What a coinkidink that her sensational story how of Barack “Mitnick” Obama hacked her coincides with her book release.
    One would almost assume these events are totally not connected, just like Trump’s grandstanding never happened to coincide with a new season of “The Show That Nobody Watches”, or Corsi’s “Where the realest birth certification of live birth certificate birth?”, or Jack Cashills “I lie”, or WND’s “How black on black violence made a rabbi find Jesus”.

  19. avatar
    Northland10 October 30, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    OMG, someone who pays attention in rehearsal? I thought that was some mythical creature.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    There are some bits on the Fogbow here:

    http://thefogbow.com/forum/topic/7116-taitz-v-johnson-sd-texas-taitzs-immigration-folly/page-147#entry587950

    And an eyewitness report on Facebook:

    https://www.facebook.com/staremma.pereztrevino

    I’ve been at choir practice and haven’t been able to look around.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 30, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    I *think* the hacking thing is from her book, but I’m not sure, as the book isn’t out yet.

    The Magic M: What a coinkidink that her sensational story how of Barack “Mitnick” Obama hacked her coincides with her book release.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 30, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Yeah, we pay attention when we’re not taking up-nose selfies.

    Northland10: OMG, someone who pays attention in rehearsal? I thought that was some mythical creature.

  22. avatar
    CarlOrcas October 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    From “Media Matters”:

    Sharyl Attkisson Entertains “End Times” Host’s Idea That U.S. Is Headed For “A Full-Blown Totalitarian Dictatorship”

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/30/sharyl-attkisson-entertains-end-times-hosts-ide/201363

  23. avatar
    JPotter October 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Bingo! And, of course, she’s trying to hustle a job with Fox.

    Obviously, but I am hardpressed to figure out what she’s being doing at CBS, beyond filling a blog with regurgitations from frightwing “sources”.

    RanTalbott: Looks to me like CBS let her go because the quality of her work had dropped.

    From nil to … less than zero? I suggest the lengthy time taken to eject her due was due considerations regarding mental health.

  24. avatar
    CarlOrcas October 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    JPotter: Obviously, but I am hardpressed to figure out what she’s being doing at CBS, beyond filling a blog with regurgitations from frightwing “sources”.

    She’s been gone from CBS for quite a while now.

  25. avatar
    mimi October 31, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    She’s jumped the shark. She’s Anti-vaxxer as well.

    And even flu shots. She finds one study that sez they don’t benefit the elderly and she runs with it. It doesn’t matter if there are multitudes that show the opposite, she reports that the elderly shouldn’t get flu shots. That article is at her site.

    Her bias shows. In another post, she trolls for ObamaCare ‘fail’ stories by asking people to tell their story in the comments.

    “Many people have undoubtedly been helped: for example, the previously uninsurable with pre-existing conditions.

    However, other Americans have been disappointed by Obamacare and believe it has worked against them.

    Tell your “fail” stories by clicking “comments” in the horizontal gray bar above on this page or scroll to the very bottom of this page. Please be specific, be nice and stick to the facts. To read the stories, click “comments” or read below.”

    She has a huge chip on her shoulder. It’s gonna cripple her.

  26. avatar
    justlw November 2, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    Suddenly data in my computer file begins wiping at hyperspeed before my eyes. Deleted line by line in a split second: it’s gone, gone, gone.

    Which is of course exactly how hacking works, if you live on Planet Bad 1980s Movies.

    But, she actually has a video of this! Several IT professionals, obviously on the same Obama payroll as the rest of us, were shown the video, and concluded that “stuck Delete key” would be a more reasonable analysis.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 2, 2014 at 2:57 am #

    So the cell phone video of data being deleted from Attkisson’s computer is available. It looks like a remote desktop connection opening files and deleting text from them, or someone doing it from the keyboard.

    The camera shows the keyboard, but not the backspace key that would have been doing the deleting. Also a second wireless keyboard could have been used. The video is something anybody could easily fake. That doesn’t mean that it is a fake, just that the video isn’t strong evidence.

  28. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 2, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    A stuck Delete Key wouldn’t explain the Save button being clicked.

    justlw: concluded that “stuck Delete key” would be a more reasonable analysis.

  29. avatar
    RanTalbott November 2, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    justlw: Several IT professionals, obviously on the same Obama payroll as the rest of us, were shown the video, and concluded that “stuck Delete key” would be a more reasonable analysis.

    If they actually said that, and weren’t just joking, they should all be fired from whatever jobs they’re doing. Seriously: they’re that incompetent. An average high school student would know better. Even a lot of grade school students would.

    I posited that as a possibility, myself, based on her lousy description of what happened that was published a few days ago. But the video clearly shows that not only was text being deleted by keystrokes, it was also being selected and deselected by mouse movements, and menu actions were being performed with mouse clicks.

    Could be hacking. Could be a hoax. Her reaction suggests the latter. But is sure as hell ain’t a stuck key.

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 2, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    The video defaults to a small size, but it can be viewed full screen where it shows a lot of detail. One of the things that look curious is that at one point the operator makes the same menu selection over and over, as if they were having a problem keeping the menu dropped down long enough to select an option.

    That detail leads me away from thinking this came from a directly-connected mouse and keyboard, in the direction of some kind of remote desktop application that didn’t work perfectly, and that points in the direction of a hack.

    If indeed someone did have remote control of her computer, it looks like what they were doing was mostly for show. Certainly there are far better ways to delete files than to open them in Word, delete text, and save them back. It looks more like intimidation, something the government should know wouldn’t work with someone like Attkisson. A government agency in this incident really doesn’t make sense.

    RanTalbott: Could be hacking. Could be a hoax. Her reaction suggests the latter. But is sure as hell ain’t a stuck key.

  31. avatar
    Arthur November 2, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: So the cell phone video of data being deleted from Attkisson’s computer is available. It looks like a remote desktop connection opening files and deleting text from them, or someone doing it from the keyboard.

    According to an article at Crooks and Liars, the video is shot long after Attikisson claims the hacking event took place:

    “Busted!
    A sharp-eyed commenter over at Media Matters observed that Attkisson’s video was shot during the Valerie Harper debut on Dancing With the Stars in September, 2013. Here’s what WiscoJoe observes:

    “Attkisson shot this video on or sometime after September 16, 2013. The episode of “Dancing with the Stars” that is playing in the background features Valerie Harper dancing a Foxtrot to “Some Kind of Wonderful” and first aired live on the evening of that date.

    “According to Attkisson’s own timeline her computer was ‘hacked’ in October 2012, she came forward with this allegation in May 2013, but then waited until September 2013 to take video ‘evidence.’

    “Has Ms. Attkisson provided an explanation of when this video was taken or why she waited for a year, and until after she went forward with public allegations, to take video documentation of her computer being ‘hacked’? Is this the standard of investigative journalism that she was doing while at CBS? If that’s the case it may explain why she no longer works there.”

    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/10/busted-sharyl-attkissons-hacked-video

  32. avatar
    JPotter November 2, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: That detail leads me away from thinking this came from a directly-connected mouse and keyboard, in the direction of some kind of remote desktop application that didn’t work perfectly, and that points in the direction of a hack.

    From your descriptions, it sounds like a Hollywood depiction of a hack. An intentionally visible display. The idea that someone would happen to be there to record it screams “staged theatrics”.

    C’mon, if someone wanted to delete or alter files, it would be done from afar, and behind the scenes. There would be no ridiculous light show on the monitor.

    And it was apparently made months after it supposedly happened? I see “book promotion”, not “evidence”.

    Wait, was the video labelled “DRAMATIC RE-ENACTMENT”? 😛

  33. avatar
    justlw November 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    RanTalbott: If they actually said that, and weren’t just joking, they should all be fired from whatever jobs they’re doing.

    Shame on me for taking their comments at face value without viewing the video myself. Off to rectify this.

  34. avatar
    justlw November 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    OK, I looked. My verdict: Stuck Delete key.

    All the mouse actions are hers — you can hear the clicks. I don’t think she’s claiming that the mouse actions are anything but that.

    The supposed “hacking” is limited to the deletion, and that looks exactly like a stuck Delete key.

  35. avatar
    RanTalbott November 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    justlw: OK, I looked. My verdict: Stuck Delete key.

    I watched again, too, and I think it’s virtually certain that you’re right, and I was wrong.

    I originally took the clicks to be UI event sounds generated by the Mac, because they’re so unlike the mouse sounds I’ve gotten used to over the last 25 years or so. But I remembered that Apple has an unusual mouse design, which would likely make different sounds. And, sure enough, if you listen closely, you can hear that the sounds are not identical throughout the video. It _might_ be explained by poor recording quality, but I wouldn’t buy that explanation if someone tried it on me: sounds too much like variations in manual actions.

  36. avatar
    justlw November 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One of the things that look curious is that at one point the operator makes the same menu selection over and over, as if they were having a problem keeping the menu dropped down long enough to select an option.

    I just tried holding down the delete key on my MBP and then bringing up a menu. As soon as you move the mouse, the menu goes away.

  37. avatar
    Keith November 3, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    I just got a new ‘gaming’ mouse (I don’t do gaming, but it has the reputation of being robust and accurate). It has lots of extra keys that can be programmed for actions with particular games or ‘macros’. I’m not watching the video, and I haven’t (yet) programmed my mouse to do anything out of the ordinary, but could that be what is happening, a mouse initiated macro to select text and delete it?

    Just a thought to consider.

  38. avatar
    JPotter November 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    A final thought …. in the clip that I saw, the text on the screen appeared to be from a transcript of Bob Schieffer interviewing Ambassador Pickering, and preceded by short bio blurbs from a “Draft Report for Members….”. Nothing confidential or irreplaceable. Nothing that would be any loss if altered and saved.

    Wouldn’t the administration be going after her precious notes re: BENGHAZI! and Fast and Furry? 😉

  39. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One of the things that look curious is that at one point the operator makes the same menu selection over and over, as if they were having a problem keeping the menu dropped down long enough to select an option.

    Now I’m not at my Mac at the moment and I don’t have Word, but wouldn’t a stuck delete key cause the menu to behave erratically (i.e. cause an opened menu to close again)?

    I also call BS because the only moment we actually saw something of the keyboard and touchpad was when the “stuck delete” effect was on. Who’s telling us she wasn’t using her touchpad when the camera was directed at the screen? Why doesn’t she show both the screen and the entire keyboard at the same time?

    Besides, it looks kinda strange (if not totally unbelievable) for a hacker to first select entire parts of her document, then resorting to deleting single lines using a held-down delete key.
    If anything, changing her files would be done to the file itself (not vandalizing a file while she was editing it), and possibly using some less obvious remote control features than using her laptop at the same time she was editing stuff.
    Or is the claim that the hacker fired up Word and she caught him when she started using her laptop?

    And then at the end, the hacker, after deleting more stuff, quits Word with “Don’t Save”? Come again?

    RanTalbott: It _might_ be explained by poor recording quality, but I wouldn’t buy that explanation if someone tried it on me: sounds too much like variations in manual actions.

    Sounds just like clicking on the touchpad to me, as a bad recording device like a phone would capture it.