Intel Community Uploaded Altered Whistleblower Form 2 Days Before Complaint Released to Public

Intel Community Uploaded Altered Whistleblower Form 2 Days Before Complaint Released to Public


If you were to file a whistleblower report
with the intelligence community inspector general, up until Sept. 24, the conduct you
were blowing the whistle on officially had to be witnessed firsthand. The “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form
— the channel by which one reported such things — specifically stated that any kind
of second-hand information about alleged wrongdoing wouldn’t do. This appears to have changed at 4:25 p.m.
on Sept. 24, when a new form was uploaded to the Director of National Intelligence’s
website. On the new form, individuals who “heard
about [wrongdoing] from others” can also report it. That date is pretty significant because it
was just two days before the biggest whistleblower report in the intelligence community’s history
was released to the public. Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist,
reported Friday the firsthand knowledge requirement was canned sometime over the past year and
change — and while it’s difficult to pin down when, evidence points to August. “Between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence
community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand
knowledge of alleged wrongdoings,” he wrote. “This raises questions about the intelligence
community’s behavior regarding the August submission of a whistleblower complaint against
President Donald Trump. The new complaint document no longer requires potential whistleblowers
who wish to have their concerns expedited to Congress to have direct, first-hand knowledge
of the alleged wrongdoing that they are reporting.” The change was first noted by researcher Stephen
McIntyre, who said the revision and the timing was “something seriously strange.” The previous form had a bold section with
the header “FIRST-HAND INFORMATION REQUIRED.” “The IC IG cannot transmit information via
the ICPWA based on an employee’s second-hand knowledge of wrongdoing,” the form read. “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, IC IG will
not be able to process the complaint or information for submission as an ICWPA.” That previous version notes it was approved
on May 24, 2018. The new form, meanwhile, states it was revised sometime in August 2019
but it doesn’t specify a date. That becomes important when you realize that
the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelensky — which included no firsthand knowledge about the call — was filed on Aug. 12. Davis noted the report has plenty of references
to knowledge that’s second-hand at best. He wrote: “The Ukraine call complaint against
Trump is riddled not with evidence directly witnessed by the complainant, but with repeated
references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant: ‘I have received information
from multiple U.S. Government officials,’ ‘officials have informed me,’ ‘officials
with direct knowledge of the call informed me,’ ‘the White House officials who told
me this information,’ ‘I was told by White House officials,’ ‘the officials I spoke
with,’ ‘I was told that a State Department official,’ ‘I learned from multiple U.S.
officials,’ ‘One White House official described this act,’ ‘Based on multiple
readouts of these meetings recounted to me,’ ‘I also learned from multiple U.S. officials,’
‘The U.S. officials characterized this meeting,’ ‘multiple U.S. officials told me,’ ‘I
learned from U.S. officials,’ ‘I also learned from a U.S. official,’ ‘several
U.S. officials told me,’ ‘I heard from multiple U.S. officials,’ and ‘multiple
U.S. officials told me.’” Up until the afternoon of Sept. 24, you likely
wouldn’t be able to report any of this on the “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form.
It’s unclear when the firsthand knowledge requirement actually went away — as Davis
noted, it could be anytime between May 24, 2018 and sometime in August. This could all be a coincidence. But that
would be a pretty massive coincidence. It’s difficult to definitively state a causal
relationship here, but the timing certainly makes it look as if some wider allowance was
made for the specific complaint at some level. This doesn’t necessarily mean the change
wasn’t warranted or the whistleblower complaint wasn’t something that should have been examined,
either — but if this is more than a coincidence, it puts the complaint and the initial decision
not to release it in a new light. An official with the Director of National
Intelligence wouldn’t comment on when the revision to the form was made or what the
reasoning behind it was when reached by The Federalist, either. That shouldn’t be a
good augury for anyone. There are plenty of answers that need to be
provided in the wake of this whistleblower complaint. Republicans and conservatives shouldn’t
kid themselves: Some of them need to come from the president and those around him. The intelligence community needs to provide
some answers about this, too. It would be edifying, for instance, to find
out when this form was revised. I think a lot of people would also like to know what
input prompted the change. If those are questions the intelligence community
can’t quickly and decisively answer, this report is looking swampier and swampier.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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