(CNSNews.com) - Testifying at the confirmation hearing for Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch on Thursday, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson expressed concern about the “serious, long-term damage to a supposedly free press” by the Obama administration, which she claims “bullies and threatens access of journalists who do their jobs, news organizations that publish stories they don’t like, and whistleblowers who dare to tell the truth.”
“The message has already been received: if you cross the administration with perfectly accurate reporting that they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished. You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of surveillance devised for enemies of the state,” Attkisson stated in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Attkisson, who has worked for CBS News, PBS, and CNN, detailed her personal experience as an investigative reporter dealing with the Obama administration.
She said she was subjected to numerous phone calls from federal officials attempting to keep her quiet; had her Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests “stonewalled”; was denied access to government buildings; and she even believes the government "compromised" her personal computer.
“The job of getting the truth has never been more difficult,” she told Congress, adding that she faced a host of problems attempting to investigate the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal and later, the administration’s alleged targeting of the media.
“Government officials weren’t angry because I was doing my job poorly,” Attkisson explained. “They were panicked because I was doing my job well.”
If confirmed as attorney general, Loretta Lynch will replace Attorney General Eric Holder, who led a department that repeatedly has used its authority to unfairly “hand-pick” reporters for certain press briefings, control the release of information and suppress scandals such as Fast and Furious, Attkisson said.
She quoted several other mainstream media reporters and editors from outlets such as The Washington Post, ABC News and The New York Times, several of whom have accused President Obama and his administration of being "by far the most aggressive" toward the media, "the most closed, control-freak administration," "the least transparent" and "the administration of unprecedented secrecy and unprecedented attacks on free press."
Attkisson told the committee that Lynch, if confirmed, "should chart a new path and reject the damaging policies and practices that have been used by others in the past.”
Freedom of the press is "under assault," she said, "due to government policies of secrecy, leak prevention, and officials’ contact with the media, combined with large-scale surveillance programs.”