Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2014

Sharyl Attkisson Book: White House Pressured C-SPAN, Plus, Bonus Video of Hacker Controlling Her Computer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

Erik Wemple at the Washington Post:

Among the juicier tidbits in the new book “Stonewalled” by former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson relates to a tiff between C-SPAN and the White House. As Attkisson tells the story, C-SPAN eminence Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama on Aug. 12, 2010, for a documentary on the White House. In the session, Lamb asks Obama about the Oval Office: “What have you changed in this room?”

The president responds, “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.”

Two weeks later, reports Attkisson in the book, a White House official contacts C-SPAN to say, “the Washington Post will be breaking the story of the President’s reported multi-million dollar renovation of the Oval Office,” reads “Stonewalled.” According to the author, the White House official, then-TV liaison Dag Vega, wanted to “make sure” that C-SPAN didn’t run its Obama interview snippet after the story in The Post surfaced. “The one taped just days before in which President Obama had implied, that in the spirit of austerity, there would be no Oval Office redecoration,” writes Attkisson. Actually, the president merely said that they’d made a decision to “hold off last year” on the changes — not that the changes wouldn’t be coming soon.

In any case, the White House, via Vega, wanted C-SPAN to drop the footage later, to coincide with the release of its full documentary about the White House. Not when it was most relevant, and when it would raise questions about why the president had spoken of austerity.

It’s almost as if they were liars! Speaking of Attkisson, she released this video of her computer doing odd things:

Here’s a genius analysis: it’s a stuck key!

Really? A stuck key? With all that selecting and mouse movement and clicking and purposeful motion towards a button on the screen?

It doesn’t seem like secret hacking so much as a psychological game. Someone was telling her, in no uncertain terms: “We have control of your computer.” And they did a bunch of really obvious stuff — highlighting text, closing a document, etc. — to make sure the message was seen.

That, or a stuck key.

87 Responses to “Sharyl Attkisson Book: White House Pressured C-SPAN, Plus, Bonus Video of Hacker Controlling Her Computer”

  1. I don’t know about hackers, but I recognize hackery when I see it.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. @jayrosen_nyu “stuck key”? Feds are to Jay Rosen as Shari Lewis was to LambChop #FitsLikeAGlove

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. You know, sometimes when cat hair gets stuck into the keyboard it can really muck things up.

    elissa (61761a)

  4. Indeed as Tom Cruise is to vagina.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  5. He didn’t think Journolist was a “big deal” or “newsworthy”, either. It’s NYU.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. They don’t see themselves as independent reporters, but partisan warriors.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  7. There’s only one thing you learn at NYU.

    Scene from Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, where the sperms are waiting to go into action:

    The Girl: For me, Norman Mailer has exactly that same sort of relevance – that affirmative, negative duality that only Proust or Flaubert could achieve.
    The Operator: I don’t know if we’re gonna make it or not, doesn’t look too good.
    The Girl: I’m a graduate of New York University.
    The Operator: We’re gonna make it.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Except they didn’t…

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  9. I use a keyboard all day, every day. There have been a few times where liquid has gotten into the keyboard. Just saying! And when that happens, really odd behaviour, not unlike what’s seen in the video, can and has happened.

    I’m not saying she wasn’t hacked. Just saying there are other very plausible explanations.

    Somewhat off topic – puhlease, when shooting video, shoot it landscape, not portrait. No televisions, and damned few computer monitors (save those used strictly for word processing) are portrait oriented.

    MikeInMKE (3a51b4)

  10. All she had to do was disconnect from the internet to show that it wasn’t a “stuck key.”

    Tom (1c889b)

  11. Accidentally pinning down the ctrl will cause all sorts of weird things to happen, including otherwise unexplained highlights/deletions.

    JWB (c1c08f)

  12. I use a computer a lot and sometimes when a key gets stuck on my keyboard some really weird stuff happens, like porn sites I’ve never visited start popping up, nasty emails write themselves and send themselves to coworkers, really odd stuff like that.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. Lot of helpful new commenters tonight. huh Daley?

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  14. Well, real pro government hackers wouldn’t remember to erase the logs, but forget to hide their own IP address. That’s just not believable. Neither would they mess with the text of an open document, it makes no sense to do so.

    She may well have been hacked, but not like that.

    Estragon (ada867)

  15. Gazzer – Lotta people have problems with stuck keys I guess. You know one time I had a stuck key my computer took a picture of my butt and emailed it to my boss. Strange.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. 13, 16. ROTFLMAO!

    DNF (384f70)

  17. I’m not sure I want an answer to this. Oh what the hell.

    #16 How did your boss know it was a photo of your butt? It could have been any number of random butts? Do we need a lawyer?

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  18. papertiger – At first I tried not owning the butt along the lines you suggest since my boss had never actually seen my butt nekkid or nothing. What made it a tough sell was that email came from my email address. When you get right down to it, though, when a stuck key causes your computer to email your boss a butt pic, the owner of the butt in the pic is usually not the biggest issue.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  19. Every once in a blue moon I’ll do a search on “high heels and short skirts”, but let’s not dwell on the method of discovery. The point is on those rare occasions all manner of weird goings on transpire on my computer. Unbidden page loads, hyper-speed scrolling, confusingly worded user input menus drop from nowhere. Not from some stuck key.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  20. papertiger – Ur doin it rong. It’s a stuck key.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  21. This looks just like all the hacking I’ve seen. In movies.

    butlerj (8df702)

  22. The only thing “stuck” was that ostrich’s head in the ground

    EPWJ (992ed5)

  23. I am going to go hold down the Ctrl key on my Mac until crazy stuff starts happening.

    Butlerj is precious.

    JD (285732)

  24. WD-40

    mg (31009b)

  25. We has to find the REAL hackarz says Jay and

    *incoming*

    NSA poofterboys and DOJ geekweenies wouldn’t do it this way

    They are NOT the REAL hackarz we have to crowdsource this to find the REAL hackarz

    *incoming*

    We’re gonna need breakfast burritos

    happyfeet (a06270)

  26. ‘enemy of the state’ it’s a cookbook, Jay Rosen, is something isn’t he?

    narciso (ee1f88)

  27. Dispelling the myth that Jews are smart one tweet at a time.

    nk (dbc370)

  28. Butlerjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  29. teh innocent key
    held fast unable to move
    The Slurpee Sanction

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. smaht guy Jay rosen
    red diaper doper baby
    LambChop impression

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. happyfeet- are you still on the road?

    mg (31009b)

  32. It shouldn’t be difficult to locate some trace of a remote control program on this Mac. In fact, I think someone already did that if I recall other details.

    I routinely use a couple of tools that, when they go wrong, cause strange, RANDOM keystrokes on my computer. And it always happens in an instant, too quickly for me to react and try to stop it.

    But this was slow and deliberate and obviously NOT RANDOM. This means it was a person, and that person wanted the target to KNOW they were doing it. This was intended to serve warning and intimidate.

    Also, planting files on the computer is not what most hackers are interested in. They want to access and destroy or exfiltrate data from computers.

    Nice to see your tax dollars at work. They can’t find emails from the IRS or EPA but they sure know how to locate and push the buttons on a troublesome reporter’s computer.

    The US government should be cut in half as a start. It is simply too big to be constitutional.

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  33. I suspect complicity by her bosses as well. If it was her work computer, they’d be in the best position to know passwords and take down the firewall. But I’m only guessing because David Rhodes would never help out his baby brother like that, would he?

    nk (dbc370)

  34. If Rosen really believes it was a stuck key he’s mentally ill. Of course that statement applies to hundreds of things leftists say…

    Gerald A (d65c67)

  35. I link, you decide, GeraldA. Jay Rosen on Twitter re Journolist. https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/360774043986694146

    nk (dbc370)

  36. he’s a journolister, but he really ‘dialed to eleven’ this time

    narciso (ee1f88)

  37. MikeinMKE sez:

    I use a keyboard all day, every day. There have been a few times where liquid has gotten into the keyboard. Just saying! And when that happens, really odd behaviour, not unlike what’s seen in the video, can and has happened.

    I’m not saying she wasn’t hacked. Just saying there are other very plausible explanations.

    Wrong. See below. Please actually watch the video.

    JWB sez:

    Accidentally pinning down the ctrl will cause all sorts of weird things to happen, including otherwise unexplained highlights/deletions.

    JWB (c1c08f)

    What it will not do is cause a mouse to click on the red x and them move to the don’t save button and click in it.

    Please actually watch the video before trying to say this is mechanical.

    Patterico (89b937)

  38. papertiger – Ur doin it rong. It’s a stuck key.

    daleyrocks

    I muddle through, by my own lights… Point is I aren’t doin it. Or rather I wasn’t doing it.

    We should probably define.
    Odd, weird, strange, and random, for the purposes of this discussion means things that papertiger didn’t do, was not the author of, had no hand in, even from an oblique indirect remove.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  39. I saw that red x/don’t save mouse move.

    Given the other evidence of hacking, it’s going out of one’s way to discount the obvious.

    Someone wanted to manage her reporting, and her reputation.

    The precious. The precious was at stake!

    SarahW (267b14)

  40. I just remembered something else. Somebody I know can control her work computer from home with a program and a complicated set of passwords provided to her by her boss. I don’t know the program, it may be proprietary, because I was not allowed to go near it due to confidentiality issues. Just hinting.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. Hi Mr mg I’m standing outside my new place right now waiting to be let in

    it was a good trip

    happyfeet (e686a3)

  42. It’s obvious that these naysayers are unaware of Attkisson’s work, especially these last few years… virtually the lone voice and serious MSM journalist covering the administration’s self-described “phony scandals”.

    The truth is that the Obama administration is the most corrupt administration – bar none – that has ever slithered into the White House and I don’t feel confident that we even know the half of it. The incestuous relationships between the alphabet networks, MSM and the no-holds-barred Obama White House guaranteed that an attempt to silence Attkinsson would happen. She’s fortunate she didn’t suffer an untimely death given this bunch of contemptible crony criminals.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  43. Good for you, happyfeet.
    Heading west today

    mg (31009b)

  44. What’s the major intersection there, happyfeet?

    nk (dbc370)

  45. She stands on the banks of teh mighty Mississippi
    Alone in the pale moonlight
    Waitin’ for a Dane a greater Great Dane
    Rou red re rerurn ruright

    They used to couple on the banks of the mighty river
    screwin’ the whole night through
    He was a faithless mutt ’bout him she was nuts
    an’ she yearned to be his doggie chew

    Sweet Angeline sweet Angeline
    Curses the soul of the Mississippi Queen
    Who led her Dane astray

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  46. Did she try getting another computer?

    butlerj (8df702)

  47. Where’s Millhouse? I wanted him to see this! Wasn’t he the one who said that illegals would skip their hearing dates because it was in their best interest to go. I think the Finkster was spewing the same crap, but I’ve come to expect as much from Sammeh. He’s too busy finkbombing every thread with his pseudo-intellectual garbage. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    hadoop (f7d5ba)

  48. would s/b wouldn’t skip their hearing. D@mn.

    hadoop (f7d5ba)

  49. 16. Gazzer – Lotta people have problems with stuck keys I guess. You know one time I had a stuck key my computer took a picture of my butt and emailed it to my boss. Strange.
    daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 10/31/2014 @ 11:15 pm

    I once thought my Twitter account was hacked in a way that made me look like a pervert. It ended up costing me my job. Now my Twitter account favoriting chicks like Sugarfuzz who want to have affairs with married guys exactly like me. But it wasn’t me! Like I told the Village Voice:

    “There were were a bunch of favorites there that I didn’t either didn’t recognize or mean to favorite … I’m not clear on how they got marked in the first place, but I assume I hit the little star thing accidentally as I scrolled through stuff.”

    Now I know. I didn’t hit the little star thing accidentally. It’s a stuck key. Thanks Jay Rosen, MikeInMKE, JWB, and butlerj for breaking the code for me. Maybe this will work with enough people soes I can run for office again. Nothing I’ve come up with has worked.

    Carlos Danger57 (c1c90e)

  50. Carlos – I feel your pain!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  51. THE Carlos Dangler!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  52. Sophists like butttlerj are so cute.

    JD (c27d2b)

  53. Hey not everyone has an elite hax0r connection with a pseudonym referencing late-60’s brit miniseries.

    butlerj (8df702)

  54. This looks just like all the hacking I’ve seen. In movies.

    butlerj (8df702) — 11/1/2014 @ 3:13 am

    What movies were they? I’m looking for some good movie recommendations.

    Gerald A (d65c67)

  55. Might have been someone in her IT dept. or other IT tech dropped a remote access program into her computer and someone found it and started screwing around. Rather than being some slick hacker that wipes out all her work and scarfs up all her contact info, this looks like someone is trying to intimidate. “I’m here and can see and destroy everything you are doing”.
    Or it could be a stuck key.

    Or maybe she eats big fat cookies at her desk and her keyboard is full of little ants running around underneath shorting out the circuits deleting files and downloading little ant midget porn… that’s it. She’s a dirty slob meanie ants in her pants liar who wants to hurt Obama

    steveg (794291)

  56. I’m on N Damen by Ravenswood

    I just walked home from Mariano’s

    happyfeet (e686a3)

  57. I heard global warming can do weird stuff to computers. Maybe that was the the problem with her computer. I mean is there anything global warming can’t do?

    Paging Al Gore.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  58. Ref #6
    “They don’t see themselves as independent reporters, but partisan warriors.
    Gazzer (cb9ee2) — 10/31/2014 @ 9:17 pm”
    = = = = = = = =

    Or, as Instapundit so famously put it, they’re “Democrat operatives with bylines”.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (bf34c2)

  59. I don’t know, the Obama campaign wages a war of personal destruction against Sarah Palin, followed by a war against Rush Limbaugh, sets up a hot line for people to report “false narratives” on Obamacare to the White House to be countered, conducts a war on Fox News, retaliates against whistleblowers in Fast and Furious and Benghazi, fires or intimidates into resigning Inspector Generals reporting or potentially reporting unfavorable information, wiretaps Fox News reporters, and the heads of foreign governments.

    Sure, a stuck computer key sounds like a logical explanation to me.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  60. The really weird thing is that I just now dropped some liquid on my keyboard and my computer spontaneously opened up this page, scrolled to the bottom of the comments and then typed and posted this comment! It is absolutely true! So, based on that, I have to say that I think that Sharyl’s video is fake. Yeah, us here at spilled Coke keyboard central are sure she is totes making this up.

    Your friend,

    Cherry Coke Zero.

    David, infamous sockpuppet (9d8151)

  61. Well the “infinite monkey theorem” does state that if you get a thousand monkeys to type randomly for long enough, they will eventually infiltrate Atkisson’s computer. Or is that racist? I pre-emptively denounce as a precautionary measure.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  62. I believe Glen Greenwald reported the same symptoms on his computer due to his wikileaks stuff.

    luagha (1de9ec)

  63. luagha – Good point!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  64. There are a few things I know something about;
    there are some things I know enough about to be dangerous;
    and then there are things I know enough to know I’m in over my head.
    Most computer things fall into the last category.

    I saw this link yesterday at PowerLine:
    http://blog.erratasec.com/2014/10/no-evidence-feds-hacked-attkisson.html#.VFVGeZV0zIU

    I have no idea if this person knows what he is talking about, if he knows what he is talking about but giving us disinformation, or what.

    AFAIK, this happened while she was still at CBS and some of the research even was done at the request of CBS. It seems to me that if she is pumping up the story, CBS would be happy to say that it was all made up, if nothing else but to help put all of her claims in doubt.
    We all know that some government stuff is just inefficient nonsense.
    That said, I assume many things funded by the government at the “Skunk Works” are pretty impressive, and that the NSA does have some pretty high tech computer experts, and if they find someone better they either make an offer that can’t be refused or “keep them even closer than that”.

    I assume that the government needs to know things and do things that are under wraps, which is why I think the most important qualification for an elected official I whether there is a lack of evidence showing they are not trustworthy, and evidence that “they just might be trustworthy”.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  65. I guess hindsight is 20/20 when encountering something one never expected.
    She coulda/shoulda/woulda turned off her computer and yanked the battery out and that would have stopped what was happening at the moment.
    But I don’t entirely blame her for not doing that and getting her cellphone to record it instead.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  66. “Pics or it didn’t happen”. She was wise to record it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  67. I recall visiting a political chat room at AOL a long time ago (before that company had collapsed into the shell of what it is today) and my messaging was somehow hacked by what I assumed was an insider of that business — probably a lower-level pro-liberal dweeb in the tech department, but with access to certain non-public controls of the online platform — and configured in a way to mock my politics. That was an early hint to me of just how rotten the inner-workings of a hierarchy can become, way before the era of the banana-republic-ized mess we’re seeing with things like the IRS, NSA, INS, etc.

    Mark (c160ec)

  68. That her boss’ brother was a WH advisor is just a coinky-dink, I am sure.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  69. True, too, Colonel.
    I guess the question was what was most important, to document it or protect her computer contents, or some of both. Maybe she de-energized her computer asap after some video.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  70. butheadj seems stupid enough to work at Vox. Its splaining is nearly as dopey as Matt Yglesias. It must have proud parent. I’m sure they have a bumpersticker expressing their pride.

    hadoop (f7d5ba)

  71. We’re practically neighbors.

    nk (dbc370)

  72. 63. The really weird thing is that I just now dropped some liquid on my keyboard and my computer spontaneously opened up this page, scrolled to the bottom of the comments and then typed and posted this comment! It is absolutely true! So, based on that, I have to say that I think that Sharyl’s video is fake. Yeah, us here at spilled Coke keyboard central are sure she is totes making this up.

    Your friend,

    Cherry Coke Zero.
    David, infamous sockpuppet (9d8151) — 11/1/2014 @ 12:28 pm

    I snorted Arizona Ice Tea out my nose when I read that and my CTRL key got stuck. And all of sudden my keyboard downloaded 36,000 emails from David Petraeus’ old girlfriend, created a hidden file folder, and downloaded 2 highly classified documents from NSA.

    Thanks, stuck CTRL key! Now I am really screwed if the FBI searches my computer.

    Steve57 (c1c90e)

  73. Ummm, SHE’S the one who closes out the document. You can hear the sound of the mouse clicking when the document closes. How did you not notice that?

    sscogges (02de75)

  74. “Ummm,” she says she’s not touching the keyboard. The clicking comes from the computer.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  75. 76. Ummm, SHE’S the one who closes out the document. You can hear the sound of the mouse clicking when the document closes. How did you not notice that?
    sscogges (02de75) — 11/1/2014 @ 9:51 pm

    Yeah, the salesman said the exact same thing. At first.

    My laptop made the exact same noise, as I showed the salesman when I brought it back for repair or replacement. Because the optical mouse was so messed up I didn’t actually have to touch it. It had a mind of its own.

    He had to see it to believe it.

    You do not have to touch the mouse for the computer to make that noise.

    Steve57 (c1c90e)

  76. She says she’s not touching the keyboard in reference to the deletions that are happening. And you’re saying the computer is playing a soundbite of a clicking noise every time a menu option or button is selected? You know computes don’t do that.

    sscogges (02de75)

  77. My windows do, since 3.1, if I set them that way and with some functions even if I do not set them. And one of the sounds is the tongue click you hear in the video. It’s the same one I just got when I went to Control Panel and opened Display just to doublecheck. So, puhleese!

    nk (dbc370)

  78. And so does my Samsung Galaxy, but I have a slurping sound there.

    nk (dbc370)

  79. sscogges, let me ‘splain something. Everybody here is using a computer.

    You’re not explaining some obscure device discovered in a remote corner of Papua New Guinea that no one except a team of archeologists has ever seen.

    So your schtick isn’t working.

    Steve57 (c1c90e)

  80. You’re right, I forgot you can set that option. I concede I was wrong. Sorry for wasting everyone’s time!

    sscogges (02de75)

  81. We’re all just talking, here. And nobody’s always right. As long as you’re not just trolling.

    nk (dbc370)

  82. Gus seems to be an expert on stuck keys. Why doesn’t somebody ask him to clear up the mystery?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  83. Not trolling, I just sometimes show a profound lack of common sense :)

    sscogges (02de75)


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