CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson appears to be launching a media tour over her hacked computers. Yesterday she appeared on “CBS This Morning” with revelations that her computers would strangely turn on and off in the night, alerting her to unauthorized activity. She finished the day by chatting with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly about the cyber-abnormalities.
The takeaway? “I think I know” who breached the computers, Attkisson told O’Reilly, though she insists she’s not “prepared” at this point to disclose the culprit.
What Attkisson was prepared to say at this point is that the invasion appears related to her work as a journalist. From the transcript:
O’REILLY: So, what were you working on that might have interested somebody to try to intrude on your computer? What were you working on?
ATTKISSON: Well, you know, the first thing I thought of sometime ago were my personal accounts, my finances, my passwords and so on. But nobody has intruded upon my finances although they had access to that material. So, nobody stole my identity or got into my bank accounts, which they could have. So, I assume the reason they were in the CBS computer is something related to what I was working on and —
O’REILLY: Which was what? What big stories were you working on?
ATTKISSON: Well, at the time, I was doing Fast and Furious, of course, some green energy debacle, sort of stimulus-spending stories, and then later on, the Benghazi story.
In a May radio interview, Attkisson was asked whether the breaches of her home and work computers could be related to what happened to Fox News reporter James Rosen, who was the target of government snooping. Attkisson responded that “there could be some relationship between these types of things and what’s happened to me.” In introducing the segment, O’Reilly, too, adopted this framing: “CBS News announced on Friday that Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked into late last year. This, combined with the James Rosen situation here at Fox News and the A.P. snooping, causing a lot of concern.”
The only thing that’s clear now is that Attkisson and CBS News cannot shut down the story. In appearing on cable news’s top show and saying she thinks she knows who did it, Attkisson has ratcheted up anticipation over the news. More to come, in other words.