The latest media mass hysteria over a whistleblower’s complaint that, according to FoxNews.com “reportedly involved allegations President Trump made a troubling and unspecified ‘promise’ to a foreign leader,” is based on precious little information. That has not stopped journalists from convicting Trump in the court of public opinion and predicting his imminent demise.
Who exactly is this unidentified “whistleblower”? What is the specific nature of his or her “urgent concern” complaint against the president? Does this complaint really qualify under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA)? These are just a few of the most fundamental questions that remain largely unknown.
Despite the paucity of facts, some reasonable observations and conclusions can be drawn.
- It appears that an American spy in one of our intelligence agencies may have been spying on our own president. The complaint suggests that this intel agent was listening in on Trump’s conversation with a foreign leader. Was this person officially asked to listen to the conversation or was he or she secretly listening in? We don’t know.
- This agent, who is an unelected and inferior federal employee in the government hierarchy, apparently believes that it is his/her job to second-guess the motivation behind the words of the elected president, who is the most superior officer in the U.S. government.
- Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make demands or offer promises. The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to spies or other unelected officials in the executive branch.
- The ICWPA law defines the parameters of an “urgent concern” complaint as an abuse or violation of law “relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.” The president’s conversation with a foreign leader does not seem to fall under this whistleblower definition.
- It appears the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) agrees with this assessment. His agency’s general counsel wrote a letter stating the complaint did not meet the ICWPA definition because it involved conduct “from someone outside the intel community and did not relate to intelligence activity,” according to a report by Fox News. This is why the DNI refused to forward the complaint to congress.
To put this in plain language, a spy who allegedly spied on the president does not have a legitimate whistleblower complaint against that president under the law. The ICWPA is a mechanism to report alleged misconduct by members within the intelligence community, of which the president is not. Yes, the alphabet soup of intel agencies ultimately report to the president, but that does not make Trump a member of that community and subject to its rules of conduct.
So, it turns out that the “whistleblower” may not be a whistleblower at all. But you will not hear that from the mainstream media. They are too busy lighting their own hair on fire.