The partisan CIA officer behind a so-called “whistleblower” complaint about President Donald Trump’s telephone call with the leader of Ukraine reportedly did not disclose his communications with a House Intelligence Committee staffer to the Intelligence Community inspector general.
According to Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge, inspector general Michael Atkinson told lawmakers that he had “no knowledge” of the officer’s contacts with the House Intel panel aide. This week, a New York Times report revealed that the officer and staff member first discussed the allegations against the president before the inspector general received the complaint.
Colleague Catherine Herridge rpts ICIG Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower did not disclose to the ICI that he contacted Schiff's committee. Atkinson said the whistleblower volunteered he was a registered Democrat
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 4, 2019
Per Catherine Herridge: IC Inspector General told lawmakers the whistleblower did not disclose contact w Schiff/Committee staff – so IG never looked into it. IG “had no knowledge of it”.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) October 4, 2019
The Times reported that the staffer shared several of the officer’s claims with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). The California Democrat is under fire for erroneously claiming in a recent interview that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff told MSNBC contributor Sam Stein when asked if the two had ever spoken. “But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”
In a statement earlier this week, a spokesperson for the House Intelligence panel acknowledged Schiff’s response to Stein’s question “should have been more carefully phrased.”
“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” said the spokesperson. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the acting [director of national intelligence] as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
President Trump reacted Friday to Herridge’s report, tweeting: “WOW, this is big stuff!”
WOW, this is big stuff! https://t.co/H12yxMfua3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
The report raises further questions about both the CIA officer and his complaint. As Breitbart News reported, the so-called “whistleblower” failed to follow the law for protecting intelligence community members seeking to report wrongdoing by contacting the House Intelligence Committee before the Intelligence Community inspector general:
Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) of 1998 explicitly requires an official concerned about wrongdoing within the government to go to the IC inspector general before the congressional panels in charge of oversight of the intelligence community.
The employee may contact the congressional intelligence committees directly as described in clause (i) only if the employee –
- a. before making such a contact, furnishes to the DNI, through the IC IG, a statement of the employee’s complaint or information and notice of the employee’s intent to contact the congressional intelligence committees directly; and
- b. obtains and follows from the DNI, through the IC IG, direction on how to contact the congressional intelligence committees in accordance with necessary and appropriate security procedures.
And yet, the officer’s failure to follow whistleblower laws isn’t the only red flag. The Inspector General found that the officer’s complaint was not only based on second-hand information, but that the officer also possessed a “political bias” in favor of a “political rival” of President Trump. CNN reported on Thursday that the officer is a registered Democrat.