An investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice confirms what we've been saying all along. Sharyl Attkisson's computer wasn't hacked, but she did have a stubbornly sticky "delete" key.
But according to her 2014 book Stonewalled, unnamed sources confirmed for Attkisson that anunnamed government agency was behind the attack. Attkisson reiterated her claims in January 29 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As part of that hearing, an abbreviated report of the Office of the Inspector General's review of her allegations was entered into public record and obtained by Media Matters. The investigation, based in part on the OIG's examination of her personal Apple computer, found that the OIG "was not able to substantiate the allegations that Attkisson's computers were subject to remote intrusion by the FBI, other government personnel, or otherwise."
As Post opinion writer Erik Wemple first reported, the review found that "Attkisson is not and has not been under investigation by the FBI."
Attkisson had provided to the investigators a cellphone video she took of one apparent hack, which showed words typed into a Microsoft Word document on her personal laptop rapidly disappearing. Computer security experts told Media Matters when the video was first made public that it more likely showed her computer malfunctioning due to a stuck backspace key.
The OIG report seems to confirm that suspicion. "The video of text being deleted from a document appeared to be caused by the backspace key being stuck, rather than remote intrusion," the report states. The OIG found that a second video Attkisson provided of her CBS laptop showed "a standard error prompt."
Furthermore, the OIG report found that a "suspicious" cable Attkisson had described in the book and to the OIG as potential evidence of a "tap" was "a common cable" used by her internet provider that "could not be used to monitor or otherwise affect the phone or internet service at her residence."
An individual who examined Attkisson's computer prior to the OIG investigation, according to the report, used a "method of forensic examination" which "is not forensically sound nor is it in accordance with best practices." This individual's actions "could have obscured potential evidence of unauthorized access."
Oh, well. That last paragraph leaves the door swinging wide open for Attkisson to twist it up a bit and claim there's still the possibility of a hack because maybe evidence was maybe obscured by the expert she handed her computer off to.
Or else you'll hear something else, because I guarantee you she will not let go of a good conspiracy theory, no matter how thoroughly it's been debunked.
She still clings to the anti-vaccination conspiracy, the Benghazi! conspiracy, and now she'll add the "hacking scandal" to her repertoire, but there's just nothing there to see. How she ever lasted as long as she did at CBS, I'll never know.
Update: Yep, she's still swearing it was a hack, to the sympathetic ear of Sean Hannity.