Investigative reporter and author of Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington Sharyl Attkisson testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday as part of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing.
During her testimony, Attkisson detailed government intimidation she has endured under the Obama administration, particularly through the Department of Justice, for pursuing investigative stories unfavorable to the administration. Attkisson has been an investigative reporter for decades and has pursued stories of government corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in both political parties.
"The job of getting at the truth has never been more difficult. Facets of federal government have isolated themselves from the public they serve. They covet and withhold public information that we as citizens own. They bully and threaten access of journalists who do their jobs, news organizations that publish stories they don't like and whistleblowers who dare to tell the truth," Attkisson said. "When I reported on factual contradictions in the Administration's accounts regarding Fast and Furious, pushback included a frenzied campaign with White House officials trying to chill the reporting by calling and emailing my superiors and colleagues, using surrogate bloggers to advance false claims, one White House official got so mad he angrily cussed me out. The Justice Department used its authority with building security to handpick reports allowed to attend a Fast and Furious briefing, refusing to clear me into the public Justice Department building."
"Let me emphasize that my reporting was factually indisputable, government officials weren't angry because I was doing my job poorly, they were panicked because I was doing my job well," she added.
Attkisson detailed revelations about the government monitoring her work and personal computers with keystroke software, password capture technology and through Skype, which was used to listen in on audio conversations. DOJ and the FBI have stonewalled Freedom of Information requests submitted more than 500 days ago.
"It matters not that when caught government promises to dial back, or that James Rosen gets an apology, the message has already been received: If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don't like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources will be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state," she said. "The nominee, if confirmed, should chart a new path to reject the damaging policies and practices that have been used by others in the past. If we aren't brave enough to confront these concerns, it could do serious long-term damage to the supposedly free press."
On Wednesday, Lynch tried to distance herself from Holder during her own testimony to the Committee.