Andrew Bakaj, the attorney representing the so-called whistleblower at the center of the impeachment movement targeting President Donald Trump, previously was a whistleblower witness whose public allegations scuttled the confirmation of the Trump administration’s nominee for CIA inspector general.
Bakaj’s original complaint against Trump’s nominee was filed with the office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Intelligence Community. The IG at the time was Chuck McCullough, who is currently working at Bakaj’s three attorney law firm representing the so-called whistleblower.
Like Bakaj, the so-called whistleblower against Trump also filed his “Disclosure of Urgent Concern form” with the IG for the intelligence community, albeit with the new IG, Michael Atkinson.
Bakaj founded the Compass Rose Legal Group, which is representing the central so-called whistleblower on the matter of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. Bakaj confirmed that his law firm is also representing “multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General.”
Bakaj previously interned for Hillary Clinton and did work for other Democrats. At the CIA, Bakaj helped to develop a whistleblower reprisal investigation program.
Breitbart News reported that a search of Bakaj’s Twitter account finds rabid anti-Trump posts such as repeated advocacy for Trump cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump as president over claimed competency issues.
Missing from major news media coverage of Bakaj and his high-profile clients is that he was one of two former CIA employees who went public as whistleblowers to contradict the testimony of Christopher Sharpley, Trump’s CIA IG nominee.
As part of the confirmation process, Sharpley testified to Congress in October 2017 that he was unaware of the existence of pending complaints filed against him alleging he and others may have retaliated against CIA workers who lobbed allegations of misconduct at the agency.
The exchange came when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked him about published reports of pending complaints against him. “If there are complaints, if there are investigations out there, I’m unaware of it,” Sharpley replied.
The published reports referenced by Feinstein originated with an investigation from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), which first revealed the allegations against Sharpley just before the Feinstein’s questioning.
The POGO is financed by billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations as well as the Open Society Policy Center.
As part of its recommended resources for whistleblowers, POGO promotes the Compass Rose law firm as well as Whistleblower Aid.
Sharpley said it was possible he might not know about complaints due to a process that gives confidentiality to government whistleblowers but claimed to have been unaware of the filings.
That’s when Bakaj and another ex-CIA employee, Jonathan Kaplan, stepped in and went public by sending letters to the Senate saying that Sharpley was one of the CIA officials listed by name in pending complaints that they both filed in 2014 and 2015. Bakaj said that his security clearance had been suspended and that was placed on administrative leave as part of alleged retaliation for an internal CIA complaint alleging wrongdoing.
It was also reported that the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general had asked to interview Sharpley on the pending complaints prior to his testimony leading to some lawmakers questioning his sincerity in denying knowledge of the complaints from Bakaj and Kaplan.
CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told reporters, “Mr. Sharpley has had a sterling 5-year career at CIA and there have never been any findings of wrongdoing or misconduct of any sort by Mr. Sharpley during his tenure here.”
The complaint from Bakaj alleged a conflict between the CIA’s IG office and the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General. Like the current so-called whistleblower against Trump being represented by Bakaj, the attorney’s own complaint involving Sharpley was filed in 2015 as an “Urgent Concern” form with the IG for the Intelligence Community.
After his nomination stalled in the Senate over the issue, Sharpley eventually resigned from his position.
In the 2017 case against Sharpley during the confirmation process, Bakaj was represented by Mark Zaid, who is senior counsel with the Compass Rose Legal Group where Bakaj now works.
Zaid in 2017 co-founded Whistleblower Aid, a small nonprofit that blasted advertisements around D.C. actively seeking whistleblowers during the Trump administration.
Kaplan, the other ex-CIA employee who went public against Sharpley, was represented by Whistleblower Aid itself.
Whistleblower Aid took public credit for Sharpley’s downfall:
Victory! Whistleblower Aid's courageous clients have blocked the nomination of corrupt CIA nominee Christopher Sharpley, and forced his resignation:https://t.co/Yy20bnwIkN
— Whistleblower Aid (@wbaidlaw) July 20, 2018
The avalanche of news media reports about the so-called whistleblower clients of Bakaj and Zaid fails to inform the public that at the beginning of Trump’s presidency Zaid co-founded Whistleblower Aid. The group is heavily tied to far-left activist organizations and Democratic politics.
In his twitter profile, Zaid describes himself as a “non-partisan” attorney “handling cases involving national security, security clearances, govt investigations, media, Freedom of Information Act, & whistleblowing.”
This even though Whistleblower Aid has been actively helping the first whistleblower also being represented by Zaid by setting up a GoFundMe page seeking to raise funds for the purported whistleblower’s defense. The page already brought in some $210,066 with a goal of raising $300,000.
Whistleblower Aid was founded in September 2017 in the wake of Trump’s presidency to encourage government whistleblowers to come forward.
The group did not sit around waiting for whistleblowers. Upon its founding, Whistleblower Aid actively sought to attract the attention of Trump administration government employees by reportedly blasting advertisements for its whistleblower services on Metro trains, using mobile billboards that circled government offices for 10 hours a day, and handing out whistles on street corners as a gimmick to gain attention.
When Whistleblower Aid was first formed, the main banner for the mission statement of its website contained clearly anti-Trump language.
“Today our Republic is under threat. Whistleblower Aid is committed to protecting the rule of law in the United States and around the world,” read the previous statement which can still be viewed via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
That part of the mission statement received attention in the conservative media.
The sentence “today our Republic is under threat,” has since been scrubbed from the website. The mission statement now only reads, “Whistleblower Aid is committed to protecting the rule of law in the United States and around the world.”
Speaking to the Washington Post just after Whistleblower Aid’s founding, John Tye, who co-founded the organization with Zaid, claimed, “This is not a partisan effort,” and then went on to express seemingly partisan alarm about Trump.
Tye continued, “At the same time, yes, the rule of law starts with the office of the president. Like many other people, we are definitely concerned about things that are happening in the administration. The decision to fire [FBI Director] James Comey. The lack of transparency. A lot of people have questions about whether this administration respects the rule of law.”
Far-left ties, Democrat links
Zaid doubles as Executive Director and founder of the James Madison Project, which says it seeks to promote government accountability. The Project features on its four-person advisory board John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, served as Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and founded the Soros-funded Center for American Progress pushing a progressive agenda.
Whistleblower Aid co-founder Tye himself is a whistleblower. He is a former State Department official who went public in 2014 about U.S. government electronic surveillance practices.
Tye’s bio on Whistleblower Aid’s website brandishes his work for far-left groups.
The bio reads:
Mr. Tye has worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Avaaz, and also Southeast Louisiana Legal Services as a Skadden Fellow. He was on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is known for its anti-conservative stance and controversially publishes a “hate map” listing groups that warn about radical Islam such as Jihad Watch, the Clarion Project, the Center for Security Policy. On that same “hate map” are racist extremist organizations like Global Crusaders: Order of the Ku Klux Klan and United Klans of America.
Tye’s other former employer, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is financed heavily by billionaire activist and Democratic Party mega-donor George Soros and is known for its hyper-partisan liberal activism.
Avaaz, a radical group where Tye served as campaign and legal director, describes itself as a “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” The group has repeatedly engaged in anti-Israel activism.
Channeling the mantra of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, Avaaz says it aims to “organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”
Avaaz was founded in 1997 by the Soros-funded, partisan MoveOn.org organization and by the Soros-funded Res Publica activist group.
Tax forms from Soros’s Open Society document donations to Res Publica specifically earmarked for support to Avaaz. Res Publica oversees Avaaz activism.
The same year that Whistleblower Aid was founded, Avaaz’s former general counsel and campaign director, Ian Bassin, in 2017 formed United to Protect Democracy. The latter is a grouping of former top lawyers for the Obama administration working to utilize legal advocacy methods to oppose Trump’s policies.
Bassin’s United to Protect Democracy works in partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice, located at NYU School of Law. The Brennan Center is heavily financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations and is the recipient of numerous Open Society grants.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.