As NewsBusters previously reported, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson announced last Friday that her computers had been hacked into “by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.”
On Monday, Attkisson told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that she thinks she knows who did it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL O’REILLY HOST: Personal story segment tonight, 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 AP snooping causing a lot of concern. With us now in a Factor cable exclusive is Ms. Attkissoson. So when did you know that somebody was messing with your computer?
SHARYL ATTKISSON, CBS: Well there were signs probably around 2011, but I don't think I recognized exactly what was going on until perhaps the fall of last year when so many things were happening in the Attkisson household, so many sort of strange electronic-related things that…
O’REILLY: Give me an example because I don't know anything about computers. Give me an example.
ATTKISSON: I know very little too, but the computers coming on by themselves at night, my personal Apple desktop as well as my CBS-issued…
O’REILLY: Disappearing. You weren't even there just popped on.
ATTKISSON: Right. I mean, I was sleeping, so they would come on in the middle of the night, sometimes one right after the other. By the time last fall came around they would sometimes both be starting up kind of a cacophony of computer music at night in the middle of the night.
O’REILLY: So you had a personal computer and you had a business computer and they both came on. Sounds like Poltergeist.
ATTKISSON: Right, right.
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 some time 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 was something related to what I was working on.
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.
O’REILLY: Alright, so they were all not complimentary to the administration. You weren't working on why is Barack Obama so brilliant and ObamaCare is the best thing in the world?
ATTKISSON: I mean, that’s kind of what I do whichever administration is in office. That’s kind of what I do.
O’REILLY: I'm not saying you’re partisan, but I’m saying the stuff you were going after if the information came forth might hurt the Obama administration. Is that accurate?
O’REILLY: Okay. So then, CBS then, you tell CBS News that you think somebody is hacking you because your computers are coming on by themselves. They send in their techs?
ATTKISSON: Not exactly. I mean, I had more information than just my suspicion by the time I went to CBS. I had some help that I can't go into detail about.
O’REILLY: Alright, so you got some computer geeks to help you find out if, indeed, you were being hacked.
ATTKISSON: I got some help. Then in January, this is about January of this past year, I informed CBS once I knew because this is CBS-issued equipment and they were in the CBS systems, and CBS hired an independent forensic firm that came and looked at the CBS computer.
O’REILLY: And they found out that you indeed were being hacked and made the announcement on Friday. So where does it go from here? I guess CBS could sue somebody, but you got to have somebody who is under suspicion, right? Do you have somebody who is under suspicion?
ATTKISSON: Well, we're being cautioned, you know, what to say and what not to say at this point.
O’REILLY: By whom?
ATTKISSON: I have attorneys at CBS who are helping us through this. I also have personal counsel.
O’REILLY: And so all your counsel is saying don't say anything. Do you have the same counsel that the Attorney General has and that Mueller has? No, it’s a joke. Bad joke. Sorry. So all of your counsel is saying don't accuse anybody right now.
ATTKISSON: Well, they’re just telling us what we can say more than anything right now which is, you know, which you basically heard that there has been an intrusion of the computer. This is not phishing. This is not malware. This is not an ordinary as someone asked me old boyfriend trying to look through my files.
O’REILLY: Okay, this is big?
O’REILLY: And, but in order to go after somebody, you’ve got to have a suspicion, and I assume you have a suspicion. You don't have to tell me. I don't want to get your lawyers mad but I assume you have a suspicion.
ATTKISSON: Well, I think I know, but I, I’m just not prepared to go into that. So, we're continuing our investigation. There are multi-facetted, you know, looks at what to do next.