Imagine being settled one night comfy in your bed for a long winters nap. Suddenly you hear a pounding and your front door busts off the hinges. Then yelling and commands being issued but in the dark of night nothing seems to make sense. The bedroom door flies open and bright lights are shinning in your eyes. Several figures their faces obscured by masks, order you not to move. Despite the orders you are dragged out of bed hand cuffed and ushered into a non-descript van, destination unknown.
While your hands are restrained your mind is flailing. Is this just a nightmare of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia? No, you realize this is America in 2014. There must be some mistake and someone will pay. You have followed the rules, paid your taxes, tried to be a model citizen. Your ride comes to a halt and you are pulled out in front of a government building. Your relief is palatable as you know soon you will see someone in charge.
Once inside you stumble into what could only be an interrogation room. Overly lit for this time of night with a pair of chairs and a table all bolted to the floor for safety. Left alone with your thoughts for a few minutes until a man in a rumpled suit enters. He stops your objections with one hand while removing some papers with the other. His only greeting is “from whom and where did you get these?”
You scan the papers and each one splayed across the desk is stamped “US Government classified”. Your objections are dismissed with a wave as the bureaucrat announces “They were found on your laptop”. As a reporter you know the war powers act, the anti-terror laws and that your nightmare has only begun.
The scenario above is what was planned for former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson. It was thwarted when one of her government contacts checked why her computer was acting up. What he found shocked him. Spyware originally installed on her IMac during a stay at a Ritz Carlton Hotel was not commercially available to the public. The proprietary software is only available to government agencies like CIA, FBI, and the NSA. Besides stolen passwords, deleted documents, remote activation of the microphone, three classified files were discovered downloaded and hidden on her hard drive. (Hacked)
Subsequent investigation of her CBS issued laptop and her home desktop revealed the same software and manipulation of her systems. Since she relied heavily on Verizon FiOS the connection at her house was inspected to find an additional fiber optic line installed. Possibly this was to facilitate downloading of her personal files. Most of the tampering was well covered with complete control of every device she employed. The few files that missed the cover-up were traced back to a government IP address.
Why did the government go to all this trouble for a reporter? Couldn’t they have just waited for her columns to air to find what she was working on? Protecting the president from harm is expected, but not from the truth and consequences of his policies. When she was investigating the possibility that the weapon used in Gabby Gifford’s shooting was part of Eric Holder’s Fast and Furious she didn’t back off. Not even after the gentle reminder from Katie Couric that Eric was a personal friend of hers and friends don’t let friend investigate friends. (Protecting their own)
She pursued every lead she had in regards to Benghazi. She asked the White House about details on the reinforcements sent to the CIA compound. The reply was that she was not reasonable like the New York Times or the Washington Post punctuated with “Goddammit Sharyl”. She was not reasonable and pursued her Benghazi stories in spite of the upcoming election. When Ben Rhodes, National Security advisor to Obama e-mailed his brother David Rhodes president of CBS news division and Sharyl’s boss, she still unreasonably continued investigating.
Unhappy with Sharyl’s work and the light it shed on personal friends and relatives fewer and fewer stories of hers made it to air. Most ended up only on the CBS website and those that did air were heavily redacted to shine the most favorable light on the Obama administration. Even if this meant distorting the facts presented in the report. Ms. Attkisson eventually quit in disgust at what she encountered.
Sharyl Attkisson’s experience should scare even the most jaded conspiracy fan. It is terrifying that the state of the union in 2014 resembles Nazi Germany or the USSR during Stalin. That our government formed of the people, by the people, and for the people is so out of control. That our president who campaigned on openness and transparency but hides his birth certificate, and school records. Then even rubs our faces in it by stating “The only people that don’t want to disclose the truth have something to hide”. (Something to hide)