House Democrats are considering masking the identity of a partisan CIA officer behind a so-called “whistleblower” complaint regarding President Donald Trump’s telephone call with Ukraine from Republicans on Capitol Hill, according to a report.
The Washington Post, citing three officials familiar with the matter, said Monday that Democrats are concerned Republicans will leak the so-called “whistleblower’s” identify upon testimony before House and Senate investigators.
The Post states:
Democrats overseeing the logistics of the testimony for the House impeachment inquiry are discussing a location away from the Capitol as well as a staff-only session that would prevent lawmakers from attending and asking questions.
Aides have considered having the whistleblower testify from a separate location via a video hookup in which the camera would obscure the whistleblower’s image and alter his voice, possibly with modification technology. They also are talking about having the whistleblower sit behind a screen or partition. A third option being floated includes audio-only testimony.
One congressional official told the newspaper that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) does “not want to burn his identity.”
“There are lots of different protocols and procedures we’re looking into to find out what works and doesn’t work to protect the identity of the whistleblower,” said another Post source. “That is paramount.”
Though House Intel Democrats are considering unprecedented measures to conceal the so-called “whistleblower’s” identity, the Senate Intelligence Committee, overseen by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA), are not mulling similar measures.
The Post continues:
The off-campus meetings probably will be in a secure room provided by the executive branch, according to one of these individuals. The meetings could take place “within the next couple of weeks,” but no date has been set, one official said.
The report comes as House Democrats move expeditiously with their formal impeachment inquiry against the president for suggesting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky look into allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Both Trump and Zelensky have denied the allegations and the White House, in a nod to transparency, released a transcript of the foreign leaders’ call to demonstrate no wrongdoing occurred.