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Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Whistleblower's Catch 22 Denied!

Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire claimed that he didn't have to deliver the whistleblower's complaint to congress in seven days because it was about Trump and he isn't under the supervision of the DNI. While the focus of the whistleblower's complaint most certainly is the extortion of Ukraine by Trump in demanding dirt on Biden while withholding congressionally mandated arms from a country fighting a Russian invasion, the DNI still should have forwarded the complaint to congress within the statutory limit because it also contained a small complaint about the abuse of an NSC code-word server that almost certainly would have fallen under the purview of the DNI.

In his opening statement to congress, DNI Maguire made this excuse for his failure to deliver the whistleblower's complaint to it in a timely manner:
Joseph Maguire: 00:45:22 Let me also discuss the issue of urgent concern. When transmitting a complaint to me, the Inspector General took the legal position that because the complaint alleges matters of urgent concern and because he found the allegations to be credible, I was required onto the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act to forward the complaint to our oversight committees within seven days of receiving it. As we have previously explained in our letters, urgent concern is a statutorily defined term. To be an urgent concern, the allegations must in addition to being classified, assert a flagrant, serious problem, abuse or violation of law and relate to the funding, administration or operation of an intelligent activity within the responsibility of the Director of National Intelligence. However, this complaint concerns conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community unrelated to funding, administration or operation of an intelligence activity under my supervision. Because the allegation on the face did not appear to fall in the statutory framework my office consulted with the United States Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel and we included the Inspector General in those consultations.
On Fox New's Sunday morning Journal Editorial Report, Paul Gigot argued similarly that the whistleblower complaint didn't have standing:
The issue is—the whistleblower is suppose to be about intelligence abuses, the president is not formally a part of the intelligence community.
Ever since Maguire made this lame excuse for running straight to the White House with a whistleblower's complaint about the White House, this has been a frontline argument of the pro-Trump crowd. It is also the basis of their claim that this informat isn't entitled to the protections given to the whistleblower by the Act—the one thing that could give the president's death threats legal teeth.

This is their ultimate Catch 22 to this whistleblower: True, anyone going through proper channels and procedures to inform the government of wrong-doing in the Intelligence Community(IC) will be covered by the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, but Catch 22 — POTUS isn't a member of the IC, you're not covered! Who knew?

This might well have been the case except for the fact that the whistleblower also complained about the misuse of IC assets. From the Whistleblower's Complaint:
White House officials told me that they were “directed” by WhiteHouse lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are
typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet level officials.

Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White
House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.
Some have dismissed the Whistleblower's complaint as hearsay. “White House officials told me,” etc.,etc. Be that as it may, like its account of Trump's conversation with Zelenskyy, this is another revelation from the Whistleblower's complaint that has panned out.

My response to those who repeat Zelenskyy said there was no pressure
We now know that phone memo wasn't the only “politically sensitive” document being improperly stored by lawyers on a NSC code-word security system. The DNI is on the NSC, so those “intelligence abuses” almost certainly should be covered by the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, even if the POTUS isn't. That alone is enough to give the Whistleblower's complaint standing. That alone was reason enough to transmit the complaint to congress within the statutory seven days. Maguire got it wrong.

Many a criminal thought he has committed the perfect crime, and the FBI wouldn't be involved because he was careful not to commit any federal offenses, but he slipped up when he used the US mail in his scheme. Trump may think he had a “perfect”  conversation with Zelenskyy because he choice his words carefully and because the president isn't covered by the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act but he may have slipped up when he hid the evidence on an NSC code-word security system.

Still, I fear for this whistleblower. Unlike your usual wiseguy informant, our hero can't hide from enemies behind the anonymity of the Federal Witness Protection Program. Not with Bill Barr at Main Justice.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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