AND FEDERAL LAWSUIT ALLEGING CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 5, 2015) — Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson announced on her website and through Twitter on Monday that she has filed administrative claims against the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Service “and certain unnamed employees and/or agents of the federal government” as a result of the government’s failure to address her requests for information on an FBI probe reportedly opened, but not pursued, on her behalf.
The FBI probe purportedly was a response to Attkisson’s claims, made public in May 2013, that her work and home computers and telephones had been monitored and implanted with software and classified documents by unnamed departments within the federal government. Forensic investigators hired by CBS confirmed that a “sophisticated” intrusion on Attkisson’s equipment was conducted “that appeared to involve search and [removal] 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 reported.
In 2011 and 2012, Attkisson had been aggressively researching and reporting on the Fast & Furious gunrunning operation and the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya resulting from a September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound there.
CBS did not identify who the intruders were, if it knew. In March of last year, Attkisson parted ways with the media giant after a 20-year career, having claimed that her stories were prevented by management from being aired. Attkisson also claims that CBS prevented her from appearing as a guest on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
In 2009, the 2008 Obama campaign’s communications director, Anita Dunn, proclaimed to an audience, “We controlled the media.”
DOJ operatives’ emails released by Judicial Watch on November 20 reveal that they considered Attkisson “out of control” in regard to her investigative reporting, which they opined cast Attorney General Eric Holder in a negative light. In one email, then-DOJ media aide Tracy Schmaler stated that she intended to contact Attkisson’s “editor” as well as “Face the Nation” host and veteran CBS employee Bob Schieffer.
On November 21, The Post & Email contacted CBS Corporation to ask if Schieffer was ever contacted by the DOJ in regard to silencing Attkisson but received no response.
Holder was cited for contempt of Congress in June 2012 for refusing to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents to Congress relating to Fast & Furious. Holder successfully urged Obama to invoke “executive privilege” to prevent the release of the requested documents. A subsequent lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives resulted in the ultimate release of the documents to Judicial Watch, which had filed a lawsuit against Justice after it refused to release the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
In Monday’s press release, Attkisson stated that the DOJ responded to initial questions from media outlets in 2013 by stating that “To our knowledge, the Justice Department has never compromised Ms. Attkisson’s computers, or otherwise sought any information from or concerning any telephone, computer, or other media device she may own or use.”
On November 3, 2014, Attkisson stated during a Fox News interview that “she received inside information from government-connected sources that she had been hacked” and that the “proprietary software” implanted in her computer(s) was one used by “the FBI, CIA, DIA or NSA.”
Under Obama, the NSA has been exposed as spying on virtually all Americans by collecting their home- and cell-phone data and email communications without a search warrant, a revelation made by the now-exiled Edward Snowden.
In a separate action, Atkisson has filed a lawsuit against the federal government alleging violation of the constitutional right “to be free in our own homes from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”
The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
While the administrative claims are a necessary step prior to potential litigation under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), the lawsuit alleging constitutional rights violations did not require that preliminary step.
A legal source explains that “The FTCA provides a limited waiver of the federal government’s sovereign immunity when its employees are negligent within the scope of their employment. Under the FTCA, the government can only be sued ‘under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.’ 28 U.S.C. S 1346(b). Thus, the FTCA does not apply to conduct that is uniquely governmental, that is, incapable of performance by a private individual.”
In November, Attkisson’s book entitled “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” was released, the overview to which reads, in part:
Who’s been hacking Sharyl Attkisson’s computers? Computers that turn themselves on in the night, make strange noises, then shut themselves down. Whoever is doing it is using highly sophisticated spyware available only to our top intelligence agencies. Is someone sending Attkisson a message?
Washington, D.C., has always been a tough town for investigative journalists. But in the age of Obama, the government has taken the tried-and-true techniques of bureaucratic stonewalling to unprecedented heights. What’s more, it has added harassment, intimidation, and outright spying to the mix.
In February of last year, a criminal investigator announced that several Obama operatives known as “Obots” worked for the Department of Defense division known as “DARPA,” utilizing IP numbers which “go back directly to the administration.”
Despite denials which may be uttered, “I’ve got the proof, proof, proof,” Mike Zullo said.
Other reporters and researchers, including Jennifer Griffin of Fox News and this writer, have also been threatened during the Obama regime’s years. Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails and records of phone calls were also collected by the Justice Department in 2010. AP journalists’ phone records were also obtained by Justice without a warrant or notification to AP management.
The Washington Post reported on May 19, 2013, “Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.”
The FBI, which is a division of the U.S. Justice Department, has failed to answer criminal complaints and reports of forgery and fraud in regard to the long-form birth certificate posted on the White House website bearing Obama’s name. Zullo, who has led a more-than-three-year investigation into the birth certificate image and Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form, stated at a press conference on March 1, 2012 that the two “documents” are “computer-generated forgeries.”
The Selective Service System advised Zullo and Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who commissioned Zullo’s investigation, to contact the FBI if they believed a crime had been committed in regard to Obama’s Selective Service form, which bears a two-digit year when all others received from the government department have a four-digit year.
The media has declined to report on or launch its own investigations into Arpaio and Zullo’s findings.
Later on Monday, Attkisson tweeted, “Be skeptical of those who attack those blowing the whistle or asking tough questions—instead of the public officials implicated.”
Update, 4:16 p.m.: The Washington Times reports that Attkisson is seeking $35 million from the federal lawsuit.