(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Last month, a federal judge ordered CBS to provide the hard drive that journalist Sharyl Attkisson was using when the government hacked her in retaliation for her stories on the Obama-era Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
Attkisson needs the hard drive as part of her lawsuit against the federal agents who hacked her. In a Tuesday filing, she said she received the hard drive from CBS—but some of the data was missing.
“What is for certain at present is that the CBS drive produced per the Court order contains only about 80-90% of the information contained on the Original hard drive and has significant differences that are not explainable without further clarification from CBS or its vendor,” Attkisson said in her filing.
The former CBS journalist seeks answers as to why she didn’t get the original hard drive that she needs.
“It is odd or unusual that a forensic consultant retained by CBS would hand-deliver evidence to a third-party and there be no record of what evidence was removed, copied, or provided, nor evidence of who received the evidence,” she said.
The apparent stonewalling by CBS is the latest barrier Attkisson has run into in her quest to obtain justice against the feds who hacked her. CBS has argued that it has already done plenty to aid the journalist in her lawsuit against the government, and that the hard drives sought by Attkisson contain “proprietary CBS data and information protected by the reporter’s privilege, making it impossible to produce the drives wholesale.”
Attkisson’s lawsuit stems from “anomalies” she noticed on her electronic devices while working on the “Fast and Furious” stories more than 10 years ago.
“Fast and Furious” was an operation overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in which the government purposely allowed firearms dealers to sell marked weapons illegally with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels.
The operation turned into a major scandal when one of the firearms was used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
“On Feb. 13, 2012, unknown to Attkisson at the time but later revealed through forensic exams, remote intruders downloaded new spyware into Attkisson’s CBS Toshiba laptop at approximately 10:30 p.m. after she downloaded an mp3 file and clicked on an email,” Attkisson said of the government targeting her.
Attkisson sued then-Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials over the matter in 2015, but that lawsuit was largely unsuccessful because the courts ruled that Holder had sovereign immunity protections. (Holder earlier had been held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with a GOP-led investigation into the matter, but he declined to prosecute himself for the crime.)
Nonetheless, Attkisson’s lawsuit proceeded against former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who had been assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force at the time her computers were hacked, and undercover DOJ informant named Ryan White. She is also suing “unknown named agents of the DOJ,” according to court records.
Attkisson is apparently hunting down the DOJ informant, White, to serve him a subpoena.
“Efforts to locate and serve Ryan White for deposition continue, but are still unsuccessful,” she said in a status report last month.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.