Former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told Glenn Beck Wednesday that people should be “standing up on buildings and screaming” about the government’s targeting of the press.
After she started aggressively pursuing the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals, it was revealed that both Attkisson’s work and personal computers were compromised. Though the Department of Justice didn’t admit responsibility, it was around the time the federal government was caught tracking and monitoring the emails of a number of other journalists, including James Rosen of Fox News.
“I had been warned for some time prior to the discovery of my computer intrusions that I was probably being monitored,” Attkisson told Beck. “I have very good sources in government corners. … This was way before the Snowden revelations and the Associated Press revelations, so it did sound a little funny at first. But once we were able to confirm some of what was happening, I — as I’ve said, I’m outraged.”
Attkisson said “people should be standing up on buildings and screaming about this,” and that it is unacceptable for the government to be “going after” sources and trying to “intimidate” journalists.
In addition to actively targeting reporters, Attkisson added, the government has begun to “flaunt” freedom of information laws. And many news organizations aren’t willing to file lawsuits to obtain the information, either because they aren’t convinced it’s a story, or because of an ideological bias.
Attkisson said sometimes managers are “so ideologically conflicted that they know there’s a story, but they really don’t want the story out there, even when it’s fairly reported.”
Speaking about Benghazi, the former CBS reporter said she was stunned by “the stonewalling of basic information that should be publicly available, such as the commander in chief’s actions on a night when, basically, people were at war with Americans.”
“We don’t even know what the commander chief did that night,” she remarked. “We’re not allowed to know, and I think that’s pretty shocking.”
Attkisson said one tactic that has been successfully used by Republican and Democrat administrations is to release information slowly, sometimes over the course of several years, so people either become “numb” or disinterested in what would have been an enormous scandal.
“If all that we know today had come out the week after Benghazi,” she said, “it would have really been disastrous.”
Attkisson said she believes these years will be remembered as a “historic time of restrictions, and a time in which we not just lost, but voluntarily relinquished, a lot of our duty and authority as watchdogs of the government.”
Beck said that “in an absolute wasteland of journalism, if you can even call it that anymore,” Attkisson is one of the only individuals with the “courage to continue to do the right thing and continue to tell the story.”
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