CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson, one of the only mainstream media reporters who has relentlessly pursued the Administration of President Barack Obama for the truth behind its handling of the Benghazi, Libya, embassy attack, was spied on via her own computer before and during the period when the scandal (which is still a scandal) was at its height.
CBS News confirmed Friday that Attkisson’s computer was hacked, by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.” The Benghazi attack, which claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, occurred on Sept. 11.
Attkisson was already on the government’s radar for her dogged coverage of the Fast and Furious scandal, and has since found herself fighting an uphill battle to get the Obama Administration to respond to her questions, even as other reporters’ access to the White House remains unchanged. She told POLITICO last month that she already knew that someone was doing a sophisticated hack on her computers as early as February 2011, but CBS News didn’t confirm that assertion until revealing the results of a forensic investigation by an independent cybersecurity firm on Friday.
Neither Attkisson nor CBS News has yet put forward any speculation about what persons or agencies might be behind the spying. But the investigation found the third-party surveillance to be sophisticated:
Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion. CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.
In its story, CBS News also mentioned last month’s scandal involving seizure of an ABC News reporter’s emails and phone records by the U.S. Department of Justice — and then said this:
To be clear, the federal government has not been accused in the intrusion of Attkisson’s computer; CBS News is continuing to work to identify the responsible party.