When is a whistleblower report not a whistleblower report? To former CIA officer John Kiriakou, when it reads more like a legal document.
Kiriakou — who has firsthand experience with the whistleblower process — appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Monday and told the host that President Donald Trump should ask for an investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency over the nature of the Ukraine whistleblower report.
Carlson began the segment by noting that he felt “in a bunch of cases, CIA employees are acting as kind of political operatives,” not just in the Ukraine whistleblower scandal but also in the Trump/Russia investigation.
“Oh, and it’s getting worse and worse as time goes on,” Kiriakou said.
“Just look at the whistleblower complaint — and I use the word ‘whistleblower’ in quotation marks here. You know, I made a whistleblower complaint in 1996 about an illegal campaign contribution. I wrote a memo, I sent it to the [inspector general], he sent it to the Federal Elections Commission, it was done.”
That wasn’t what happened here, the former CIA officer said, which made him suspicious.
“In this case, this went through layers of editing and coordinating and lawyers were involved and managers were involved,” he said.
“It looks like a legal document. It doesn’t look like a whistleblower complaint. And that leads me to believe that this whistleblower we keep talking about is just the face of an entire group that’s at the CIA that’s pushing this thing forward.”
Kiriakou went on to ask if anyone actually thought “Gina Haspel, the director of the CIA, learned of this complaint from The Washington Post or The New York Times?”
“Of course she didn’t. She learned of it through the chain of command because it went all the way up to the top before it went to the office of the [Director of National Intelligence],” he said.
“And one other thing to remember: These people from the CIA, almost all of them are holdovers from the Obama administration.”
“They’re there for 20, 30, 35 years, and they know they can outwait this president,” he added.
Kiriakou, when asked what advice he’d offer Trump, said he would go to the Senate and ask for the CIA to be investigated.
“We need hearings on the CIA and reform in the CIA because this is not the way this whistleblower system is supposed to work,” he said.
The question is how much of this advice reaches the White House and whether or not an investigation is launched.
On one hand, a CIA investigation might look incredibly politicized, given the current climate on Capitol Hill. On the other hand, so does pretty much every move involving President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, up to and including the House’s impeachment inquiry.
That impeachment inquiry, of course, was launched by a whistleblower report that doesn’t necessarily look like a whistleblower report. That’s a pretty glaring inconsistency — and if you think that’s just a creation of right-wing media, listen to someone who has actually filed one.
Congress needs to examine not only the whistleblower report but also the corner of the intelligence community from whence it sprang. Perhaps there’s a reason why it looks so legalistic. Democrats shouldn’t mind if the Senate takes a closer look at the matter, then. They will, but they shouldn’t.
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