Michael Atkinson. IC IG. CREDIT: ODNI/Cropped
Many of us have been harping on the point that the alleged “whistleblower” in the bullsh** attack on President Trump is not actually a whistleblower.
STOP calling "the whistleblower" a whistleblower. He cannot legally be viewed as whistleblower–& does not have protection under whistleblower laws–b/c he was not eyewitness to any corruption or fraud & has no firsthand info. His complaint is based on 2nd- & 3rd-hand information
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) September 27, 2019
In fact, the so-called complaint is a compendium of provable lies, misrepresentations. innuendo, and links to newspaper clippings that warrants the assclown who wrote it being horsewhipped out of the front gate of CIA headquarters rather than being lionized even the by the debased excuses for humanity that constitute the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
But if a shocking story reported by Sean Davis yesterday is true, then not only were we wrong but the implications are that the Intelligence Community, itself, and in particular the Intelligence Community IG decided to assist in the effort create a narrative that would justify the impeachment of a lawfully elected president who was acting lawfully.
Sean Davis reported (read Bonchie’s BREAKING: Intel Community Secretly Changed the Whistle-Blower Rules to Allow the Trump-Ukraine Complaint Just Days Before It Was Filed) that the IC changed the rules for classifying disgruntled personnel as whistleblowers in a very significant way:
The brand new version of the whistleblower complaint form, which was not made public until after the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint addressed to Congress were made public, eliminates the first-hand knowledge requirement and allows employees to file whistleblower complaints even if they have zero direct knowledge of underlying evidence and only “heard about [wrongdoing] from others.”
The internal properties of the newly revised “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form, which the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) requires to be submitted under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), show that the document was uploaded on September 24, 2019, at 4:25 p.m., just days before the anti-Trump complaint was declassified and released to the public. The markings on the document state that it was revised in August 2019, but no specific date of revision is disclosed…
…A previous version of the whistleblower complaint document, which the ICIG and DNI until recently provided to potential whistleblowers, declared that any complaint must contain only first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing and that complaints that provide only hearsay, rumor, or gossip would be rejected.
“The [Intelligence Community Inspector General] cannot transmit information via the ICPWA based on an employee’s second-hand knowledge of wrongdoing,” the previous form stated under the bolded heading “FIRST-HAND INFORMATION REQUIRED.” “This includes information received from another person, such as when an employee informs you that he/she witnessed some type of wrongdoing.”
“If you think that wrongdoing took place, but can provide nothing more than second-hand or unsubstantiated assertions, [the Intelligence Community Inspector General] will not be able to process the complaint or information for submission as an ICWPA,” the form concluded.
What this does is essentially give anyone whistleblower immunity on the basis of rumor mongering.
This leads us to the second part of the problem, which is the seeming active complicity of the Intelligence Community IG in this little farce.
In this September 9 letter, the IG, Michael Atkinson, throws his boss under the bus in order to perpetrate this farce.
More follows in this September 17 letter.
In these letters the IG claims that the matter is of “urgent concern.” We know for a fact that there was no universe win which an event that happened in July and had already been resolved, particularly a matter that did not involve any intelligence activity whatsoever was of “any” concern to the IC IG, much less of “urgent concern.” The Department of Justice looked at this claim and issued an opinion that all but had a laugh track attached. (Read the OLC ruling.) Even though the opinion is dated September 24, it is obvious from the preceding correspondence that the IG already knew of the determination and it didn’t fit his agenda. In fairness to Atkinson, he may not be a duplicitous douchebag out to destroy the man who gave him the job, he could very well be your run-of-the-mill p***y who is so intent upon winning the approval of the “right people” that he simply didn’t have the courage to stand fast and do his duty.
The second part of this equation is awarding whistleblower status when, in fact, even it its worst light the activity reported does not fall under the purview of the IC IG. (Read the Office of Legal Counsel evisceration of Atkninson’s reasoning for yourself.) Again, in fairness to Atkinson, he may just be a gutless drone who was more intent upon fellating Adam Schiff in a public forum than in doing his job.
Finally, Atkinson opines that he is fearful that the president may have violated campaign finance laws.
Wow: “Mr. Atkinson eventually concluded that there was reason to believe that the president may have illegally solicited a foreign campaign contribution — and that his potential misconduct created a national security risk…”. https://t.co/GsdHPaLJPI
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) September 26, 2019
Again, not his f***ing job to tell Schiff about this, there are channels for reporting criminal violations that do not involve hyperpartisan Democrats or the press. We now know that possible offense had been investigated by Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and dismissed. The fact that Justice was investigating, and probably the outcome, was known to Atkinson before he wrote to Schiff. Again, in fairness to Atkinson, he may not have been working with the whistleblower to make as big a splash as possible out of this, he may have simply been a weak, feckless little man trying to ingratiate himself with the people he thinks should really be in charge.
To review the bidding. Someone in the Intelligence Committee leadership changed the definition of whistleblower so this whistleblower was elevated from a rumor monger to a protected individual. They did this about the same time as the complaint was filed. Because the IC IG is intimately involved in the whistleblower regulations (I’d be willing to guess that office is the proponent of the regulation but I don’t know that for a fact) Atkinson knew about the change. The major issues of concern Atkinson raised in his letter are, charitably, bullsh**. The allegation does not fall under the whistleblower statue because it is not an intelligence matter. It is not a matter of “urgent concern” because it isn’t. The fanciful potential criminal violation by Trump was not his business and it was investigated and resolved by the appropriate agency.
Yet, despite all this, it is Atkinson who is the driving force in creating the scandal. He, against the directions of Department of Justice, decided that this was so extra special serious that he just had to tell Adam Schiff. Given the suspicion that the whistleblower had a lot of legal help in writing the complaint and the obvious involvement of Schiff for some weeks before it all became public, one wonders the degree to which Atkinson and his office were working with Schiff to make sure this became public.
In short, at every juncture where the system was designed to stop abusive use of the whistleblower statute, Atkinson appears to object that this particular snowflake of a case was extremely special and needed deferential treatment. Right down to changing the regulation to allow a complaint to be submitted that would have been rejected only a month ago. In fact, this question raised well before we knew anything about the allegation is just as valid today as then. The incident did not involve IC people or activities, there is no way Atkinson should have take the complaint:
A key Q: When @realDonaldTrump phoned #Zelensky it was an act of diplomacy, not an intelligence operation. Neither is an intelligence operator or asset. So why did the whistle blower file with the ICIG? We‘ll know more soon but some sources believe the WB was IC detailed to NSC.
— James Rosen (@JamesRosenTV) September 26, 2019
The fact pattern here merits a close look by the administration into whether Atkinson is part of the solution or a large chunk of the problem. At a minimum, he has shown a gutlessness and bureaucratic deference to Schiff that should disqualify him from any policy making position in the administration. At worst, he’s actively collaborated in an attempt to bring about the impeachment of a president.