Yesterday I noted that an expert who examined Sharyl Attkisson’s computer found evidence it had been hacked using proprietary government software. That expert source, described as working for a government security agency, is never named in the book. Attkisson simply refers to him as “Number One.”
But according to a story published late yesterday by Erik Wemple at the Washington Post, “Number One” was just the first of at least three individuals who examined Attkisson’s computer for signs of tampering. The next individual is identified by the pseudonym “Jerry Patel.” Patel, who was hired by CBS News as an outside expert, concludes, “someone has accessed this box.” Though he can’t say who, he suggests the level of skill involved is, “far beyond the the abilities of even the best nongovernment hackers.”
Then in September of 2013, there is another incident. In the midst of complaints about her coverage of Bengahzi, Attkisson’s computer begin to delete data, seemingly on its own. As recounted in her book, “Suddenly data in my computer file begins wiping at hyperspeed before myvery eyes. Deleted line by line in a split second: it’s gone, gone,gone.”
So Attkisson’s computer goes to a third specialist. Unlike the previous two, this individual is identified by his real name in the book. He is Don Allison, a computer forensic specialist who works for Korelogic in Annapolis, MD. Allison is hired, presumably by CBS, to find out what is going on with the vanishing files. What he finds is evidence that someone has tried to expertly remove any trace of their connection to the machine, but the job is not perfect. The hacker leaves behind an ISP address belonging to a U.S. government computer. Allison tells Attkisson, “This ISP address is better evidence of the government being in yourcomputer than the government had when it accused China of hacking intocomputers in the U.S.”
Erik Wemple at the Post contacted Don Allison to confirm and possibly expand on the information in Attkisson’s book about the hacking. Today he received a response from Korelogic’s President Bob Austin. Austin explained that his company signed a non-disclosure agreement (apparently this is standard) which prevents the company from speaking about the work they did for their client. Austin would not even confirm who he was working for when he signed the agreement, though Wemple suspects it was CBS News.
Three experts examined Attkisson’s computer, one on her behalf and two on behalf of CBS News. All three found definite evidence of hacking and all three suspected, for various reasons, the hacker was working for the U.S. government. The fact that Attkisson was doggedly pursuing this administration’s “phony scandals” while all of this was happening to her computer raises the distinct possibility it was politically motivated. It’s a possibility that seems worthy of congressional investigation.