Who Else Did the Deep State Spy On?


by Sharon Rondeau

(Jan. 13, 2020) — On Sunday evening, The Post & Email reported on a second lawsuit filed by investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson alleging government intrusions into her computers, phones and internet connection which also impacted her family.

The filing arises from an underlying lawsuit initiated in 2015 after Attkisson was informed by independent forensic examiners she hired that the breaching software employed in the intrusions could have been utilized only by “a US intelligence agency.”  After performing his own analysis, a CBS-hired analyst told her in an email, Attkisson reported, “It is my professional opinion that a coordinated action (or series of actions) have taken place. I don’t wish to go into details because the integrity of email is now in question.”

In a striking development, last week’s filing accuses former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of ordering the surveillance when he was U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, based on Attkisson’s report that “a former U.S. government agent has admitted participating in the illegal government surveillance” and “identified former U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein as the person responsible for the project.”

The intrusions took place while Barack Hussein Obama occupied the Oval Office.

According to the brief, at Rosenstein’s direction, four then-government agents set up the surveillance of Attkisson’s cellular and home phones and computers as well as interference with her internet and cable connections, affecting her ability to carry out her job responsibilities for CBS and rendering useless a family-utilized Apple iMac.

The surveillance of Attkisson began in 2011, after she began reporting on the “Fast & Furious” gunwalking operation conducted by the Obama ATF with the knowledge of then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.  In a January 9, 2019 detailed update on her initial lawsuit, Attkisson v. DOJ & FBI, Attkisson reported:

On September 21, 2010 executives with Stratfor, a global intelligence firm doing business with government agencies, emailed internally about an alleged Obama administration initiative to target journalists. One email was titled: “Obama leak investigations.” The email stated: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources…(t)here is a specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked.”

Last Wednesday, Attkisson refiled the initial suit, about which Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson sent a January 8 letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray posing five questions seeking the source(s) of Attkisson’s computer intrusions.

In May 2013, the Associated Press discovered that Holder’s Justice Department had collected the phone records of 21 AP reporters without a warrant.  A May 13, 2013 report by The Week refers to an AP report and subsequent letter written by AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt to Holder demanding “that the DOJ explain why it had gone after the records.”

The links in the article to the AP’s original reportage now yield error messages.

A week later, The Christian Science Monitor reported on another case of surveillance of a journalist:  then-Fox News reporter James Rosen:

Associated Press reporters are not alone. One week after news broke that the Justice Department secretly obtained phone records from AP, more news has emerged about the Obama administration’s campaign to silence leaks.

This time, it’s new details about a 2010 Justice Department investigation into a Fox News correspondent who reported government secrets on North Korea. The twist is that in the Fox News case, the government is suggesting that the reporter broke the law and criminal charges could result.

On May 23, 2013, The New York Times reported:

In a case involving a Fox News correspondent, James Rosen, prosecutors obtained a search warrant for Mr. Rosen’s phone and e-mail records, after describing him as a possible “co-conspirator” for publishing information about a potential North Korean missile test.

On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Mr. Holder had signed off on the search warrant. Officials at the Justice Department did not return a phone call requesting comment.

Mark Landler of The Times reported Obama’s claim to have been “troubled” by the potential threat to “investigative reporting” caused by the DOJ’s then-recent and unprecedented actions against journalists.

The same day, Ryan Gallagher of Slate wrote of the Rosen case:

An FBI counterespionage agent in an affidavit alleged that the reporter had broken the law “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” This contentious reasoning appears to be grounded in the notion that any journalist receiving and publishing classified material from a confidential source is engaging in a criminal act—even although the U.S. government has never successfully prosecuted a reporter for disseminating unlawfully leaked classified information.

A contemporaneous Fox News report stated:

The administration has come under criticism before for using the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers and whistle-blowers. Under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors have used the act six times.

After details on the case involving Fox News were made public, the White House said President Obama believes reporters should not be prosecuted for doing their jobs. Attorney General Eric Holder made similar comments during Hill testimony last week.

Rosen was never charged with a crime.

On March 12, 2013, then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the government did not “wittingly” collect data on Americans.  On June 5, 2013, The Guardian issued its first report on the revelations of former National Security Administration (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden “revealing a secret court order showing that the US government had forced the telecoms giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.”

Read More
%d bloggers like this: