After The Federalist's Sean Davis dropped a bombshell last Friday that the intelligence community "secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings," lawyers from the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) cobbled together a confusing response over the weekend to justify why a CIA 'whistleblower' was allowed to submit second-hand information to complain about Trump's communications with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, concerning former VP Joe Biden's corruption scandal.
So confusing, in fact, that the Washington Examiner's chief White House correspondent Byron York broke down the ICIG's response in spectacular fashion via Twitter.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General's explanation of its whistleblower form is a confusing, ass-covering mess. 1/12 https://t.co/hDem5G05DA— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 1, 2019
The rest (emphasis ours):
- ICIG says Trump-Russia whistleblower complaint was 'processed and reviewed...in accordance with the law.' Fine. Issue addressed in ICIG explanation is what policy on first- versus second-hand information was at the time.
- ICIG says it gave whistleblower a procedures form saying in order to find urgent concern 'credible,' complainant must have 'reliable, first-hand information.' Without that, ICIG 'will not be able to process the complaint.'
- But ICIG then notes 'there is no [first-hand information] requirement set forth in the statute.' Further: 'In fact, by law the complainant...need not possess first-hand information' in order to file complaint.
- That means ICIG procedures form, the one handed to whistleblower, was wrong on question of first- versus second-hand information.
- What gives? ICIG says procedures form was in effect since 5/24/18, before ICIG Atkinson took office 5/29/18. Translation: Don't look at me -- it was before my time!
- ICIG also notes whistleblower claimed he had both second-hand *and* first-hand information. So ICIG did *not* find that whistleblower could 'provide nothing more than second-hand or unsubstantiated assertions.'
- Not clear what first-hand information in whistleblower complaint is. Key accusations concerning Trump-Zelensky call and alleged WH coverup afterward are entirely second-hand.
- So what about procedures form? ICIG says new person was hired to run Center for Protected Disclosures, was working on updating forms. Then Trump-Ukraine brouhaha erupted, and ICIG saw something was amiss...
- ICIG says amid controversy, he 'understood that certain language in those forms...could be read--incorrectly--as suggesting that whistleblowers must possess first-hand information.' Of course, that's exactly what the form said.
- So ICIG's office developed new forms. 'Consistent with the law, the new forms do not require whistleblowers to possess first-hand information,' ICIG says. And that looked like after-the-fact justification of whistleblower handling.
- In summary, ICIG seems be saying: Whistleblower was given form with incorrect information. Not my fault! Then, after Trump-Ukraine exploded, we changed form to match law. Yes, looked fishy, but all OK.