Another Justice Dept. cover-up? Benghazi reporter Sharyl Attkisson still awaiting answers

by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2020

A Senate committee chairman is re-opening the case of the Obama administration’s alleged surveillance of journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who was investigating the Obama-era Benghazi and “Fast and Furious” scandals.

Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, wants answers from the Department of Justice and FBI on whether Obama-era officials secretly accessed the phones and computers Attkisson.

Sharyl Attkisson

However the same federal agencies have steadfastly resisted and thwarted efforts by Congress and Judicial Watch to obtain communications and records related to former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and other communications related to discredited U.S. intelligence investigations of Donald Trump both as a candidate and as the president.

In a letter to the DOJ and FBI, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said that “documented abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court applications” by the FBI in the Russia probe of President Donald Trump raise new suspicions in the Attkisson case.

“I am especially concerned about these unresolved questions regarding the alleged surveillance of Ms. Attkisson,” Johnson said of the former CBS investigative reporter, now on Sinclair and host of the Full Measure show.

Related: DOJ still ‘slow-rolling’ Strzok-Page records: Emails reveal special treatment to Clinton lawyers, January 9, 2020

“It is well past time that Ms. Attkisson, Congress, and the American public receive answers to questions that have remained outstanding for over 6 years,” said Johnson.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney John Huber’s investigation into several matters related to the Clintons has ended with a whimper, according to a Washington Post report.

In November 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Huber to investigate the Clinton Foundation as well as Hillary Clinton’s actions as secretary of state toward Uranium One, an energy firm linked to Clinton Foundation donors. Huber was also tasked with investigation matters related to the Russia probe, but that part of his investigation was ceded to the DOJ’s office of the inspector general.

The Washington Post’s sources said Huber’s review turned up few leads worth pursuing. The investigation has not been formally closed, but the Post’s report says that it appears essentially to be over.

“We didn’t expect much of it, and neither did he,” a source familiar with Huber’s activities told the Post. “And as time went on, a lot of people just forgot about it.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton had a different take:

“DOJ non investigation results in non prosecutions? No surprise. DOJ has NEVER stopped defending Hillary Clinton’s email misconduct. @JudicialWatch faced six DOJ and State Dept attorneys in fed court last month who were trying to shut down our Clinton email case.”

According to Johnson and a 2015 suit filed by the journalist, Attkisson noticed “anomalies” with her work and personal electronic devices from 2011-2013 while she was investigating the terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed on a YouTube video.

Attkisson was also looking into the Fast and Furious gun scandal, a cloak-and-dagger Obama administration program in which thousands of semi-automatic firearms were being sold to people in Arizona thought to have links to Mexican drug cartels. ATF agents were ordered not to intercept the smugglers but rather to let the guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border and into the hands of Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. One of those guns was used in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Attkisson’s suit was eventually dismissed after long delays by the Obama DOJ. At the time, dissenting Judge James Wynn Jr. wrote that “Attkisson never got a meaningful opportunity to pursue her claims because the government did everything in its power to run out the clock.”

Johnson wrote in his letter to the DOJ and FBI:

“In 2013, as ranking member of this committee, Senator Tom Coburn sought answers from then-Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the government’s actions in the hacking and surveillance of Ms. Attkisson’s computers. In 2014, Senator Coburn sent a second letter noting that DOJ’s response answered none of his questions. In 2015, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles Grassley also sought answers. In March 2018, I wrote to DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) and received a copy of its Abbreviated Report of Investigation regarding its analysis of Ms. Attkisson’spersonal laptop. To this day, however, other than DOJ OIG’s response, the government has successfully resisted providing any meaningful answers or insights into the matter.

“In light of the recently documented abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court applications by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), I am especially concerned about these unresolved questions regarding the alleged surveillance of Ms. Attkisson. It is well past time that Ms. Attkisson, Congress, and the American public receive answers to questions that have remained outstanding for over 6 years.”