The whistleblower at the center of the controversy surrounding a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has had their identity kept under wraps, despite the actual complaint about the phone call being released this week.
The New York Times is reporting that the identity of the whistleblower has been partly revealed. The paper reports that the whistleblower is a CIA officer who was detailed to the White House and has returned to working at the CIA. The details come from three people familiar with the Ukraine phone call story.
The already released complaint suggests the whistleblower is an analyst who has direct knowledge of the relationships between the United States and European countries. Despite this direct knowledge, the complaint about the phone call is still not firsthand as the CIA officer did not directly hear the call, something lawmakers like John Ratcliffe pointed out at Thursday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on the matter.
The report from The Times suggests that the CIA officer in question did not work on communications in the White House, which reiterates the fact that they have no direct knowledge of the Ukraine call. The officer reportedly learned of the call “in the course of official interagency business.”
The whistleblower’s legal team — which includes a member who previously interned for Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer — has refused to confirm that their client works for the CIA. They have also warned against publishing details about the person’s identity.
“Any decision to report any perceived identifying information of the whistle-blower is deeply concerning and reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way,” said Andrew Bakaj, the lead counsel and former intern for Clinton and Schumer. “The whistle-blower has a right to anonymity.”
The CIA refused to comment on the whistleblower’s identity, and a spokeswoman for Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire’s office said they are committed to protecting the person’s identity.
Maguire also refused to identify the whistleblower at Thursday’s hearing and said, “We must protect those who demonstrate the courage to report alleged wrongdoing, whether on the battlefield or in the workplace.”
The report from The Times follows a fiery hearing on the phone call — in which Democrats claim Trump asked the Ukrainian president for dirt on Joe Biden, who has long been accused of corruption based on his relationship to his son Hunter and his overseas business dealings.
Schiff at one point read false dialogue from the call and defended it later as “parody,” something that earned him scorn from Republican lawmakers like Brad Wenstrup. Schiff also accused Trump of corruption despite the transcript of the actual call showing no evidence of illegal activity.
Democrats will likely use this new report to back up their accusations of Trump’s wrongdoing — since a CIA analyst would have more credibility than other whistleblowers — but the new report again confirms a fact Democrats refuse to admit: this entire complaint is based on second and thirdhand information. There is no evidence of wrongdoing, no matter who the complaint came from.
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