Sharyl Attkisson enters the 'No Spin Zone'

Former CBS news investigative reporter on her controversial new book 'Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. And the personal story segment tonight. Brand new book called "Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington." Wow! What a subtitle. The book is written by former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson and here she is. What I'm more interested in the book and I was looking through it, and it's very methodically put together. But the hacking thing. So, you were working at CBS News, you're working on this investigations, "Fast and Furious" and other things and somebody tries to hack into your computer. Do you have any idea who it was?

SHARYL ATTKISSON, "STONEWALLED" AUTHOR: I could tell you what my friend's experts told me. And I didn't detect this myself by the way. Sources came to me. Because this was pre-knowing about FOX being spied on and American's being spied on. So, it didn't occur to me. The government might be spying on me. But sources started giving me a heads-up and I was able to get somebody with inside information to look at the computer. And they concluded there had been over a period of time. Probably a fairly lengthy time sophisticated intrusions in both my personal computer and my - -

O'REILLY: At home and in work?

ATTKISSON: Well, the work computer using it at home, yes.

O'REILLY: Now, when you say sources, with government sources? People working inside the Obama administration --

ATTKISSON: Government connected sources initially. And because those for obvious reasons want to remain anonymous.

O'REILLY: Of course. But they tipped you off because they felt what was happening to you is wrong?


O'REILLY: Did they flat out say to you, hey, Sharyl, you got the government, you got some of these people with sophisticated software trying to find out what you're doing? Did they say that to you?

ATTKISSON: They said the proprietary software they found in my computer was a type that's used by either the FBI, CIA, DIA or NSA. So, these are four government agency --

O'REILLY: So, it could have been any of the four. But somebody wanted to know what you were finding out at CBS News.

ATTKISSON: Right. And then we had an independent expert come in from CBS News who confirmed the remote intrusions and then I had a third computer forensics experts who is more on the record, also confirm the remote computer intrusion.

O'REILLY: Now, the only way we're going to find out who did this, what government agency did this, and it could have been a rogue person at those agencies, if there's a whistle-blowers. Somebody who come and says, hey, I know who tapped Sharyl Attkisson's computer. That's really the only way you're going to do it? Right?

ATTKISSON: There might be some other ways. We're working on that right now. There's been new information uncovered as recently as the last couple of week. So, we're still aggressively pursuing all of this.

O'REILLY: When you say we're still, who is we're?

ATTKISSON: I have a computer expert. I have a whole team basically that's been working on this for some time that includes some of my sources, the computer forensics folks and my attorney.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, you want to find out who did that and break that story.

ATTKISSON: Would be nice.

O'REILLY: I hope you break it here. All right? Because we don't want that. That is way out of bounds.


O'REILLY: OK. Now, part of your book is that you were working on sensitive stories like "Fast and Furious" and Benghazi and a few others and that the liberal culture at CBS at first was okay with it, but then backed away from it. Is that fair?

ATTKISSON: I think that's fair to say although I describe in the book, there are competing tensions and sometimes there was sort of a conservative flash corporate bias that influenced story decisions. Sometimes there was a perceived liberal ideological bias that influenced story decisions and it came together as I described in the book into the sort of perfect storm with a narrowing slice of information and stories that the broadcast wanted. And it basically ruled out almost anything that I had to offer that was original.

O'REILLY: All right. And not only you, but the other investigative teams at CBS as well?


O'REILLY: But is it possible that the culture of news has changed? For example, I used to be on "Good Morning America" all the time talking about politics and my books, some things like that. Now they won't book me over there. Because they want to do celebrity stuff. Renee Zellweger's face gets 30 minutes. OK? No, but it's true.

ATTKISSON: Yes, it's true.

O'REILLY: Because it has worked for them. The ratings at "Good Morning America" overtook today because they went showbiz tabloid. So now it seems that the network news is taking, look at that, we don't want the heavy duty stuff now. We want the kind of light and lively stuff. Is that a possibility that that intruded upon your serious journalism?

ATTKISSON: That is a factor. I think there's four and five factors that combined together. And that is one of them. Surely that has worked for them in some passion. Are you still a news program when you decide that celebrity information and the British Royal is something that's more important than investigative reporting? In the past I've had bosses that we're able to see a value in both.

O'REILLY: Right.



O'REILLY: How long did you work at CBS?

ATTKISSON: More than 20 years.

O'REILLY: OK. Did you ever feel about quitting before the last two or three years, the Obama administration.


O'REILLY: OK. So, you were happy there for that period of time?

ATTKISSON: Oh, yes. I mean, off and on there are always battles and differences of opinions but overall I was very happy.

O'REILLY: Sure. All right. Once the Obama administration got into trouble, then you reporting on that, then things went downhill?

ATTKISSON: Yes. And also, it points out that coincided with a change in management on all the broadcasts. That was really one of the most sweeping changes in all of the really upper level management in producers at CBS and -- about this time. So it coincided with that change as well.

O'REILLY: All right. You can read all about the specifics in "Stonewalled" by Sharyl Attkisson, she's going to be best-seller. Thanks for coming on the show.

ATTKISSON: Thank you so much.

O'REILLY: It's nice to see you.

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