by Bob Barr
The spectacle of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff reading a made-up script of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky would make it easy to dismiss the entire “Ukrainegate” matter as comic relief. But it appears to be the vehicle by which Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her House majority have decided to begin impeachment of a sitting president of the United States.
There is a stench emanating from this episode that reveals it to be something far more sinister than the well-intentioned and patriotic move described by the acting director of the Office of National Intelligence (DNI) in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
The person — more accurately, persons — behind the Aug. 12 “whistleblower” complaint sent to the chairmen of both the House and Senate Intelligence committees that has fueled this drive, is not in any reasoned manner a true “whistleblower” complaint.
The lead complainant reportedly is employed by the CIA, but clearly is working in cahoots with others embedded in the intelligence community who feed him or her information and corroborate his or her conclusions. Collectively, they are saboteurs; intent on bringing down a duly elected president of the United States of America.
While these conspirators hide behind the cloak of “whistleblowers,” theirs is not an effort to simply bring to light evidence of government “fraud, waste or abuse.” Theirs is a cleverly calculated plan, hatched over a period of at least several months, and with the assistance of outside forces, including a so-called “public interest” law firm.
The façade here is one of a well-intentioned public servant bringing to the attention of the Congress and the American public “urgent” evidence of wrongdoing “within the intelligence community.” Despite such lofty rhetoric, however, the facts and the actual language of the federal law establishing the legal guidelines by which a bona fide “whistleblower” must proceed, shows that at every step of the way the whistleblower procedures were not applicable.
The starting point for this inquiry must be the “Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998,” which established the procedures according to which an employee or contractor of one of the many agencies that comprise the intelligence community, would report abuses to the congressional intelligence committees and be protected from retaliation for so doing.
In considering at the outset whether the July 25th phone call between Trump and Zelensky which so troubled the so-called whistleblower, even falls within the parameters of the 1998 law, it does not. Neither of the two presidents were engaged in discussing or carrying out anything “relating to … intelligence activity involving classified information,” which is the cornerstone in the law for a true whistleblower’s protected reporting.
In next considering elements of the so-called whistleblower’s initial complaint to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, we learn that Atkinson forwarded what he decided was a “credible” complaint of “urgent concern” to his boss (Acting DNI Director Joseph Maguire), without ever having read the transcript of the president-to-president phone call or listened to the recording itself.
In other words, the inspector general for the entire intelligence community determined that an individual had uncovered a matter of “urgent concern … involving classified information” that exposed abuse “relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity,” without ever reading or listening to the supposed evidence (which happened to be hearsay to begin with)!
Had Atkinson bothered to simply read the transcribed phone call between Trump and Zelensky, he would have seen it had nothing whatever to do with “an intelligence activity involving classified information” — the actual legal cornerstone for a bona fide whistleblower complaint.
It is unclear why Maguire forwarded this complaint up the line without conducting even a cursory review of its contents to determine if it fell within the legal parameters of the law under which the so-called whistleblower purported to be acting. It also remains unclear why Maguire in the same way blindly accepted his inspector general’s flawed conclusion about the so-called whistleblower under his jurisdiction. (Maguire’s only apparent concern was for possible “executive privilege” material.)
Regardless of why these two senior intelligence officials blundered so badly, their irresponsible actions have given unwarranted credibility to individuals within our Intelligence Community actively working to sabotage the administration of President Donald Trump.
Not surprising, their work has found a receptive audience in the impeachment-hungry Democratic majority in the Congress.
Bob Barr (http://www.twitter.com/BobBarr) represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He currently serves as president and CEO of the https://laweef.org/.