After Assailing DHS for Election Warning, CBS Only Believes Microsoft


In a stunning example of journalistic malpractice Thursday, CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell and chief Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues shared a “new” warning from Microsoft about counties such as Russia, China, and Iran launching cyber-attacks on both presidential campaigns. The problem? These same two spent part of their Wednesday evening newscast being appalled by reports acting officials in the Department of Homeland Security were pushing the same intelligence.

“We’re learning tonight about new, more-advanced cyber-attacks on American political campaigns. Now, those hacks are believed to come from overseas, Russia, China, and Iran,” O’Donnell announced as she introduced her colleague. “And Jeff, I think what’s fascinating about this is we’re not learning about it from U.S. intelligence. The warning is coming from the tech giant, Microsoft. Right?

Pegues agreed with a “yeah,” and gave a rundown of Microsoft’s warning:

The Russian hackers, also known as “Fancy Bear,” who hacked the DNC in 2016, are after passwords that would give them access to confidential information. China’s hackers have been targeting high-profile individuals tied to Joe Biden’s campaign, looking for insights on how he’d deal with China. And Iran, Microsoft says, is also active, targeting aides inside the Trump campaign.

“Also got a statement from DHS, which says, so far the election system across the country is holding up,” he added. Meanwhile, O’Donnell wrapped up the segment by declaring: “But certainly a big development tonight.” But Norah was being untruthful.

 

 

Just the previous evening, she and Pegues pushed the claims of a so-called “whistleblower” from DHS who said he was told to play-up the threats from China and Iran. “More breaking news now, stunning allegations from a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security who says he was demoted for refusing to change intelligence reports,” O’Donnell announced on Wednesday.

In his report that same night, Pegues told viewers: “The complaint alleges that the acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli ordered intelligence assessments be changed to fit President Trump’s political rhetoric.”

Those supposed unethical changes included an increased focus on the threats posed by China and Iran. “Brian Murphy, who oversaw the DHS Intelligence Division until last August, is quoted in the complaint alleging that he was told ‘to cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference’ in the election and include reporting on the ‘interference activities by China and Iran,’” he said.

So, to recap. On Wednesday, Pegues reported that the former overseer of “the DHS Intelligence Division” was ordered to “include reporting on the ‘interference activities by China and Iran.’” But on Thursday, he and O’Donnell lied to viewers, with her falsely claiming “we’re not learning about it from U.S. intelligence. The warning is coming from the tech giant, Microsoft.”

Their outrage from all angles was an exercise in gaslighting the American people. Clearly, Microsoft’s warning proved there was a reason for more information on China and Iran to be included, and U.S. intelligence was putting that information forward.

This gross journalistic malpractice was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Fidelity and Ford Motor Company during Thursday’s newscast. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they fund. The CBS Evening News has also asked people to “text Norah” at this number: (202) 217-1107.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

CBS Evening News
September 9, 2020
6:39:15 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: More breaking news now, stunning allegations from a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security who says he was demoted for refusing to change intelligence reports. Now, in what he calls an abuse of power, the official claims he was ordered to suppress information that the President would not like. Now, that includes details about Russian election interference and the threat posed by white supremacists. Here’s CBS’s Jeff Pegues.

[Cuts to video]

JEFF PEGUES: The complaint alleges that the acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli ordered intelligence assessments be changed to fit President Trump’s political rhetoric.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Russia, Russia, Russia, was a hoax. It was a total hoax.

PEGUES: Brian Murphy, who oversaw the DHS Intelligence Division until last August, is quoted in the complaint alleging that he was told “to cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference” in the election and include reporting on the “interference activities by China and Iran.”

(…)

CBS Evening News
September 10, 2020
6:37:51 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: We’re learning tonight about new, more-advanced cyber-attacks on American political campaigns. Now, those hacks are believed to come from overseas, Russia, China, and Iran. Let’s get right to CBS’s Jeff Pegues.

And Jeff, I think what’s fascinating about this is we’re not learning about it from U.S. intelligence. The warning is coming from the tech giant, Microsoft. Right?

JEFF PEGUES: Yeah, and Norah, what we’re hearing tonight is that the presidential campaigns and just about anything and anyone tied to those campaigns are now the target of these foreign powers. This is Microsoft revealing that hacker tied to the Russian government have targeted more than 200 organizations here in the U.S.

The Russian hackers, also known as “Fancy Bear,” who hacked the DNC in 2016, are after passwords that would give them access to confidential information. China’s hackers have been targeting high-profile individuals tied to Joe Biden’s campaign, looking for insights on how he’d deal with China. And Iran, Microsoft says, is also active, targeting aides inside the Trump campaign.

The Biden campaign says none of the attacks have been successful thus far. Also got a statement from DHS, which says, so far the election system across the country is holding up. They haven’t seen any breaches thus far. Norah.

O’DONNELL: But certainly a big development tonight. Jeff Pegues, thank you.



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