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June 14, 2013

"It all started with a third-rate break-in into a reporter's computer..."

Is it too early to speculate about the Sharyl Attkisson hack? You're darned right it isn't.

When she first tweeted this, I thought (and maybe wrote) "Aw, gee, all she's done is set herself up to be discredited. If she's right, she's merely informed us slightly early about it, and if she's wrong, her enemies get to label her a paranoid."

Well, I guess we're over that hump.

Powerline's up for some speculation, and notes that Watergate started with a seemingly minor break-in too.

Additional shoes may drop, e.g. with regard to personal computers or additional time periods. DOJ has already announced that “to our knowledge,” it has never accessed Ms. Attkisson’s computers.

And they've been so forthcoming with us on other matters. That quibble aside, let's move forward:

There are, of course, multiple people and entities who might be interested in information stored on a reporter’s computer. Conceivably, a foreign government might want to know how much of a threat Fast and Furious posed to the Obama administration, for example. But the obvious potential culprit is the White House. If it turns out that the White House, or someone acting on behalf of the White House, carried out the illegal infiltration of Attkisson’s computer(s), the scandals already swirling around the administration will be seen in an entirely different light. For the first time, there would be serious talk of impeachment.

Yes, the White House is indeed the obvious culprit, and while other culprits can be imagined, they seem a bit far-fetched.

The Chinese government wants advance word of a story that Sharyl Atkisson will likely break within days? Why bother with the risk? Why not just wait five days for the story?

How about a competiting reporter? This is of course beyond absurd; no other reporters are interested in Sharyl Atkisson's stories, as they've proven time and time again.

So who? Who has the motive, means, and opportunity? Who would want to do this who could do this?

Of course there are extremist-types on the left who enjoy gooning it up on behalf of the progressive caucus and Obama. I suppose it might have been a freelance hacker. But if that were the case, why didn't we see the eventual burn and lulzy ha-has? That is, don't they usually publicize their hacks? Don't they usually announce their "victory"?

Why was this one secret?

And why Atkisson? Why in late 2012? What would have been of interest to a hacker?

[C]hecking the record, we see that Attkisson had a very interesting scoop on October 20th, relying on anonymous military sources that called into question the Obama administration’s claim that they couldn’t have responded in time to assist in the attack:
CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”


Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen believes help could have come much sooner. He commanded CIA counter-terrorism missions targeting Osama bin Laden and led the team that responded after bombings of the U.S. Embassy in East Africa.

“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen says. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”

This is obviously a politically-motivated crime, not a personally- or economically-motivated one. That doesn't mean the government had anything to do with it, but it certainly seems that someone favorably inclined towards the government did.

Perhaps one of those legions encouraged to "get in their faces," like the staff of the IRS.

Hacking is a federal crime, is it not? Can we expect Robert Mueller to get his Top Men (whoever they are, he doesn't know) on this like he did with the IRS scandal?

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posted by Ace at 06:01 PM

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