Okay–I take back every qualm/criticism I’ve ever had about the U.S. Intelligence community. (I might resurrect them at some future date.) It may end up saving America.
A number of media outlets have reported on the Whistleblower complaint filed by an Intelligence officer who was evidently appointed by Trump. This story was originally from the Washington Monthly.
The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed.
The communication in question evidently came in the form of a phone call. Reporters tracked down the president’s phone conversations with foreign leaders around that time; the three that occurred in the two months before the complaint was filed were Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Macron, and Vladimir Putin.
Also around the same time, Dan Coates, Director of National Intelligence, resigned. And shortly after that, the U.S. pulled out of the INF treaty with Russia.
Inspector General Atkinson (the Trump appointee) identified the whistleblower complaint as a matter of “urgent concern.” That triggered a requirement that the complaint be reported to Congress. But according to the Washington Post, Maguire–the acting head of DNI (this whole bloody Administration is “acting”) asked Bill Barr’s Justice Department for legal guidance and–surprise!– was told to withhold the information.
At that point, Atkinson informed Congress that a complaint had been made, but Maguire continued his refusal to share the information with the House Intelligence Committee.
While it’s tempting to speculate based on the timeline of events, what we actually know is that someone in the intelligence community was so concerned about what transpired on that phone call that he or she filed a whistleblower complaint. The inspector general found the complaint to be not only credible, but of “urgent concern.” When the new acting DNI refused to inform Congress, he took the extraordinary step of telling them that the complaint existed. In other words, to use Joe Biden’s vernacular, this is a Big Fuckin’ Deal.
Since this article was written, Atkinson has testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee, and several media outlets have suggested that more than one “impropriety” is involved. This might finally be enough to move Democrats off their reluctance to impeach….