Sharyl Attkisson 'Outraged' Over Computers' Hacking; 'Very Serious and Disturbing Matter'

On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson slammed the unnamed hacker who broke into her computers : "It's a very serious and disturbing matter. I'm outraged that anyone would do such a thing." The correspondent revealed back in May 2013 an "unauthorized, external, unknown party" accessed both her personal and work computers on "multiple occasions in late 2012."

Attkisson detailed the "odd behavior of both my work and my personal computers", including how the machines "began turning themselves on, and then, back off again during the night." [audio available here; video below the jump]

Anchor Gayle King brought on her CBS colleague to ask her about the hackings, which are still under investigation. Co-anchor Norah O'Donnell later spotlighted Attkisson's "reporting on Benghazi" and her "groundbreaking work on the 'Fast and Furious' program":

GAYLE KING: CBS News has confirmed that someone has been breaking into the computer of our investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. Security experts are still trying to identify who did that.

Sharyl Attkisson is in Washington this morning and joins us now. Sharyl, what was happening with your computer that made you suspicious?

[CBS News Graphic: "Correspondent Hacked: CBS News Confirms Attkisson's Computer Accessed:"]

Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News Correspondent; Screen Cap From 17 June 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgSHARYL ATTKISSON: Well, Gayle, there were signs of unusual happenings in my home for many months, and that included odd behavior of both my work and my personal computers. One example was the computers began turning themselves on, and then, back off again during the night. I was able to verify and obtain some information on the suspicious activities, and I reported that to CBS News management in January, since it included CBS equipment and systems. CBS then hired an independent cyber security firm, which conducted a thorough forensic analysis, and that ruled out the ordinary malware fishing programs and that sort of thing.

NORAH O'DONNELL: So Sharyl, you have been reporting on Benghazi. You did some of the groundbreaking work on the 'Fast and Furious' program. What exactly did the intruder do or what were they were looking for, do we know, on your computer?

ATTKISSON: Well, with the investigation continuing, we can't all the details, but the analysis found very unusual activity buried deep in the computer. The unauthorized party accessed the CBS computer in my home on multiple occasions. And specifically, in December, they used sophisticated methods to cover their tracks – meaning, they tried to remove the indications of their previous unauthorized activity. And we're not prepared to talk more about the who's and who did this today, but the intruder is considered highly skilled and used very sophisticated methods.

CHARLIE ROSE: This would be a fear for all of us, but tell us your own reaction to knowing that this kind of invasion has taken place.


ATTKISSON: Well, when any unauthorized party comes into the home of an American – whether it's a private citizen or a journalist – and searches through their computers, inserting or removing material for whatever their reason is, it's a very serious and disturbing matter. I'm outraged that anyone would do such a thing, and CBS News takes all of this very seriously.

ROSE: Sharyl, thank you very much.

It should be pointed that Attkisson hadn't reported about the ongoing controversy surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi during an extended period between November 23, 2012 and May 8, 2013.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center