Politics: Trump Allies Ramp Up Efforts to Unmask Whistleblower - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Trump Allies Ramp Up Efforts to Unmask Whistleblower

22:30  02 november  2019
22:30  02 november  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

GOP argues whistleblower's name must be public

  GOP argues whistleblower's name must be public The clash over the whistleblower's identity — and that person’s right to anonymity — has emerged as a frontline battle in the partisan war over the Trump impeachment inquiry. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Republicans on Capitol Hill contend that knowing the whistleblower's identity is vital to the process, granting Trump the right to face his accuser - and learn of any political biases the figure might have.

WASHINGTON—Some Republican lawmakers want to out the whistleblower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry and are amplifying articles in conservative media outlets that assert theories about the person’s identity.

Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie© saul loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

In recent days, several conservative publications have named a person they speculate is the whistleblower. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and a handful of other Republican lawmakers have shared links on Twitter to those articles.

The Wall Street Journal and others have previously reported the whistleblower was a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Grassley: Up to whistleblower to reveal identity

  Grassley: Up to whistleblower to reveal identity Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Monday that it is up to the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry to decide whether or not to come forward after President Trump urged the media to reveal the individual's identity."That's strictly up to the whistleblower," Grassley told reporters.

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President Trump and his allies have continued to question the individual’s motives and suggested he is part of a partisan effort to topple the Trump presidency. Republican lawmakers have said the public has a right to know the person’s identity.

But those efforts have stoked concerns among Democrats and the whistleblower’s attorneys about his personal safety, as his assertions have subsequently been echoed by other witnesses and public records.

The media reports name a specific individual but have lacked any direct confirmation to show they have definitively learned the whistleblower’s identity.

Instead, the reports have relied on a pattern of personal and professional details they have said point to an individual as the likely whistleblower. The reports also have referenced Republicans bringing up the person’s name during closed-door impeachment hearings, incidents that Democrats have publicly denounced as targeted efforts to reveal the whistleblower. At least one Republican lawmaker has also mentioned the name in an open hearing unrelated to the impeachment inquiry.

Facebook bars content claiming to name Trump impeachment whistleblower

  Facebook bars content claiming to name Trump impeachment whistleblower Facebook Inc. is taking down any content that claims to name the anonymous whistleblower who ignited an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump, the social network said on Friday. © Reuters/Dado Ruvic FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of a Facebook logo The company's statement follows right-wing Breitbart News' publication of an article that said it identified the whistleblower. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

In a statement Thursday evening, the lawyers representing the whistleblower said reporters should protect whistleblowers who lawfully expose government wrongdoing. They again declined to confirm or deny the person’s identity.

“Our client is legally entitled to anonymity,” the lawyers said. “Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger.”

The legal team representing the whistleblower has received multiple death threats that have led to at least one law-enforcement investigation, the Journal reported this week.

Some of the publications that have written about the alleged identity of the whistleblower have criticized the mainstream media for not pursuing the subject more aggressively.

Media ethicists said if journalists have confirmation of the name, they would have to weigh public interest in the whistleblower’s identity against the potential harm that could befall the individual, but added that the news value of his identity had diminished over time as more information about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has come to light.

Facebook and YouTube ban naming alleged Trump impeachment whistleblower

  Facebook and YouTube ban naming alleged Trump impeachment whistleblower Republican political figures spread the name on TwitterBuzzFeed reported attempts to spread the alleged whistleblower’s name earlier this week, confirming that Facebook would remove ads targeting them. BuzzFeed noted that the person, a former Obama administration staffer and current CIA officer, has been a target for conservative commentators since 2017. But recent articles by the conservative sites Real Clear Investigations and Breitbart raised the officer’s profile, especially after the Breitbart article was shared by Donald Trump, Jr. It’s since cropped up across social media.

“Journalists who like to keep sources anonymous will go to jail over that,” Tom Bivens, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Oregon, said. “It seems to me that any journalist worth their salt would be willing to accept the anonymity of others bringing forward important information.”

Federal whistleblower law is designed to provide anonymity for intelligence employees so that they will feel emboldened to speak up about concerns of wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. But enforcing those protections can be difficult, according to national security lawyers, and relevant protections generally apply to inspectors general and certain members of Congress and their staff but not to other agency officials or the public.

Those protections aren’t traditionally viewed as extending to journalists, who would be protected under the First Amendment and may argue that their responsibility to inform the public prevails over any obligation to the whistleblower, according to legal experts.

The Aug. 12 intelligence community whistleblower complaint, which was released publicly in September, detailed concerns about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the president pressed for Kyiv to investigate his political rivals. The Trump-appointed intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, determined the complaint was both urgent and credible. Mr. Trump has referred to the call as “perfect” and denied any wrongdoing in his interactions with Ukraine.

Facebook and YouTube ban naming alleged Trump impeachment whistleblower

  Facebook and YouTube ban naming alleged Trump impeachment whistleblower Republican political figures spread the name on TwitterBuzzFeed reported attempts to spread the alleged whistleblower’s name earlier this week, confirming that Facebook would remove ads targeting them. BuzzFeed noted that the person, a former Obama administration staffer and current CIA officer, has been a target for conservative commentators since 2017. But recent articles by the conservative sites Real Clear Investigations and Breitbart raised the officer’s profile, especially after the Breitbart article was shared by Donald Trump, Jr. It’s since cropped up across social media.

The attempts to unmask the whistleblower have continued as at least three other witnesses in the impeachment probe have told congressional investigators that they believed there was a quid pro quo linking Mr. Trump’s desire for investigations into his political rivals with either the withholding of security aid to Ukraine or the promise of a White House visit for Mr. Zelensky. The White House also released a rough transcript of the July call, which substantiated central aspects of the whistleblower’s complaint.

Democrats have argued that corroboration has decreased the need to have the whistleblower testify. His legal team has offered to the Senate and House intelligence committees written testimony in lieu of an in-person appearance before investigators, amid concerns that disclosing his identity to lawmakers could lead to it being publicly leaked.

A White House official said Friday the White House isn’t seeking to learn the whistleblower’s identity.

But Republicans in Congress have continued to press the issue. Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.), a close ally of the president, told reporters this week that the whistleblower didn’t deserve anonymity, though he did care about the person’s safety. “The reason why you have a whistleblower statute is so that they can come forward and not be retaliated against,” he said.

Democrats, dozens of former senior national security officials, whistleblower advocates and some Republicans have said the whistleblower is entitled to anonymity and that naming him could jeopardize his personal safety.

“I would hope that more of my GOP colleagues throughout the Congress on both sides of the Capitol would express their support for whistleblowers who have the courage to come forward and expose wrongdoing,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment inquiry, said. “They have the right to remain anonymous.”

Write to Dustin Volz at [email protected]

Sen. Graham: Impeachment 'dead on arrival' in Senate if Dems keep whistleblower from testifying .
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of not caring about the truth, and said Schiff's impeachment efforts will go nowhere unless he calls the anonymous whistleblower to come forward and testify about their complaint against President Trump. House Republicans over the weekend submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call for public testimony during the impeachment inquiry, but Schiff -- who is running the probe -- was swift to reject the request to have the whistleblower come forward.

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