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Ukraine Whistleblower Appears to Skirt Law by Going Straight to Rep. Adam Schiff’s Of

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Unread 10.10.19, 03:56 PM
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Ukraine Whistleblower Appears to Skirt Law by Going Straight to Rep. Adam Schiff’s Of

On 10.10.19 11:04 AM posted by GianCarlo Canaparo

The impeachment drive by House Democrats appears to be focused on the July 25 telephone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which came to light through a whistleblower complaint.

That whistleblower complaint,and the circumstances surrounding its filing Aug. 12 with the Office of theIntelligence Community Inspector General, raise their own questions.

The relevant law,called the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, details how “anemployee of the intelligence community” may bring to Congress’ attentioninformation about wrongdoing such as “violation of laws” or “abuse ofauthority.”

The complaint againstTrump plainly acknowledges that these procedures apply to this whistleblower.

So what are the procedures? First, the law expressly prohibits a whistleblower from going directly to Congress without first submitting a complaint to the inspector general, currently State Department veteran Michael Atkinson.

The New York Times reportedOct. 2 that this whistleblower did exactly the opposite by first approaching aHouse Intelligence Committee staffer with “vague” accusations about the president.

According to the Times,the aide passed the information along to Intelligence Committee Chairman AdamSchiff, D-Calif., who then claimedto the press that his staff had not spoken to the whistleblower at all.

The importance of thelaw’s procedure is obvious. While it encourages well-intended intelligencecommunity employees to bring to light information about wrongdoing, it alsoprevents rogue employees from inciting partisan attacks or causing seriousdamage.

These procedures are acheck, a buffer to lessen that possibility.

Under the law’s procedures, the inspector general determines whether a complaint “appears credible.” The policy in place when this complaint was filed, for example, required that it be based on firsthand information. (We explore that issue here.)

If the inspectorgeneral finds the complaint credible, he passes the complaint to the directorof national intelligence, who then must share the complaint with intelligencecommittees in the House and Senate.

If the inspector generaldoes not find the report credible, the whistleblower may transmit his report tothe congressional intelligence committees directly, but only if he first doestwo things: (1) gives his complaint to the director of national intelligence alongwith notice of his intent to provide it to Congress, and (2) obtains andfollows instructions from the director on how to contact the congressionalintelligence committees.

A whistleblower alsomay inform a member of the congressional intelligence committees of the existence,but not the contents, of his complaint after once again submitting the complaintto the inspector general.

The law requires awhistleblower to comply with its disclosure procedures for complaints aboutmatters of “urgent concern.”

If what the Times calls“vague” accusations brought to the House Intelligence Committee staffer did notrise to that, the whistleblower may not have broken the law, but he skirted itsprovisions very closely. At the very least, as the Times put it, thewhistleblower’s actions show “how determined he was to make known hisallegations.”

This is exactly whyCongress enacted the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, andwhy intelligence community employees are required to follow the law.

The post Ukraine Whistleblower Appears to Skirt Law by Going Straight to Rep. Adam Schiff’s Office appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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