Lt. Col. Shaffer: Take It from a Real Whistleblower, Pelosi’s Sources for Impeachment Are not Valid

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions with House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Shiff (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol October 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pelosi and Schiff updated members of the media on the latest developments related to the …
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Considering the lengths to which the Democrats are willing to twist and turn to find a basis for impeaching President Trump, attempting to politically sabotage the Commander-in-Chief with an unfounded hearsay accusation does not a whistleblower make. This well planned “weaponization” of a necessary oversight system is actually doing grave damage to our republic and undermines the hard fought protections that I and others sacrificed to establish.

As a former whistleblower myself, I know that every detail of the ongoing whistleblower scandal in Washington reeks of blatant political partisanship. With the admission of prior contact between the “whistleblower” and Schiff’s staff, it’s far more likely that this “whistleblower” was in fact Adam Schiff’s “spy” in the White House who had regular contact with Schiff and his committee in advance of the July Ukrainian call.

In late August, the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, observed that the so-called whistleblower showed “some indicia of an arguable political bias” in favor of President Trump’s rival. Today, we know that was a dramatic understatement — not only is the whistleblower who filed the original complaint about Donald Trump’s contact with Ukraine a registered Democrat, but he also had “professional” ties to at least one Democrat candidate running for president in 2020.

To make matters worse, the complaint itself was based on a subjective, secondhand interpretation of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in other words, run-of-the-mill West Wing scuttlebutt based on pure hearsay — and aspects of it didn’t even match up with the actual transcript of the discussion between the two leaders.

Direct factual knowledge was the standard for making a “whistleblower” complaint until July of this year – yet somehow “hearsay” became admissible at the very time this individual made his complaint.

“The so-called Whistleblower, before knowing I was going to release the exact transcript, stated that my call with the Ukrainian President was ‘crazy, frightening, and completely lacking in substance related to national security,’” Donald Trump tweeted recently. “This is a very big Lie. Read the Transcript!”

The president is right — and the Democrat Party’s ongoing effort to weaponize statutes designed to protect genuine whistleblowers is an insult to the patriots who have risked their entire careers to expose actual national security threats and government wrongdoing.

Needless to say, my experience with whistleblowing was a little different from the political circus that is now unfolding in front of our very eyes.

When I exposed the fact that bureaucratic ineptitude had prevented the government from apprehending the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks when we first identified him in 2000, I had firsthand knowledge about the events in question — down to the details in a targeting chart. Others familiar with the matter backed me up instantly. The evidence was clear and commented on by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who said in a Wall Street Journal editorial that he could have prevented the 9/11 attacks had he received the ABLE DANGER information.

Oh, and we went public rather than hiding in the shadows as we worked to address this intelligence failure.

It’s worth noting that the “whistleblowers” accusing the president of wrongdoing are using their carefully-kept anonymity to shield themselves from the mere possibility of retaliation, while I actually endured the kind of career-destroying consequences that often come from calling out wrongdoing on the part of powerful individuals.

Being a real whistleblower means that you have to present factual, reliable information that can be independently validated — not just feed biased, gossip-filled memos to politicians who desire to exploit them for partisan gain.

Of course, President Trump is also correct on a much larger point: asking our allies to help investigate potential acts of corruption does not pose a threat to our national security or constitute an impeachable offense — as a matter of fact, it is the president’s responsibility. Donald Trump did, after all, campaign on a pledge to “drain the swamp” of corruption and lawlessness in Washington. The American people are entitled to know whether Joe Biden used his position as vice president to score lucrative business contracts for his son, and the people most likely to have those answers are in Ukraine.

Unlike the Democrat operatives posing as whistleblowers today, I know what it’s like to be a real whistleblower in Washington. Regrettably, the ongoing impeachment charade in Congress is likely to inflict lasting damage on the entire whistleblower-protection process for years to come.

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer is a retired senior intelligence operations officer who served more than 30 years with the U.S. Army and is the president of the London Center for Policy Research.


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