Politics

Was Whistleblower Complaint Form Changed?

Requirement for firsthand knowledge to support claim of wrongdoing seems to have been eliminated by the IG

Over the past week, there has been dueling commentary on the issue of whether the Complaint form for whistleblower allegations of wrongdoing was changed or dropped from the original standard whistleblower application form of record.

Sean Davis at The Federalist first reported that federal records showed that the original whistleblower complaint form had been changed in August 2019, to eliminate the requirement of direct, first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing in support of the allegations.

A review of the records did indeed indicate that a change was made at the time the CIA analyst submitted his/her claim, which raises the legitiamate question of whether the revisions were made to facilitate the standing of the whistleblower to make a statutory claim of abuse of power.

Others criticized Davis’ report on the basis that the form itself is not controlling, in terms of ascertaining whether the Complainant has made a prima facie case sufficient with which to submit his/her complaint to Congress.

Kevin Poulsen, makes a rather circuitious and somewhat specious argument that altough the form may have dropped the firsthand knowledge requirement, the IC IG gathered the first hand knowledge at the Daily Beast argued that “government investigators found the firsthand evidence themselves.” This statement doesn’t seem to refute convincingly, Davis’s assertion that

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the form was changed, indeed it serves as a confirmation.

Both arguments seem to be an exercise in splitting hairs. The issue is whether the form or the customs, procedures or internal rules of the IC Inspector General were controlling in terms of permitting a whistleblower complaint to proceed. The entire issue is in essence an analysis of the procedural requirements and whether the IC IG has the legal or statutory authority to dispense with firsthand knowledge component.

Given the diverse interpretations the Washington Post’s “fact checker,” Glenn Kessler’s giving Sean Davis four Pinnochios is preposterous. Davis’ reporting was accurate; his assertion that the form had been changed to accommodate the anti-Trump Complainant was eminently reasonable. Kessler, a Democratic partisan, seems to discount Davis’ account with the parenthetical claim that, “(The Federalist refuses to disclose its funding, but its articles often defend Trump against reports in what it calls the “corporate media.”)

Regardless of the pro/con changed form arguments, the following facts are not in dispute:

The whistleblower claimed on the form that he had some “direct knowledge” of the wrongdoing. after the complaint was released, this claim turned out to be completely erroneous; he/she had zero direct knowledge. The gravamen of the charges of abuse of presidential power are entirely based on hearsay and double hearsay. the complaint, as currently drafted, is so defective from an evidentiary standpoint, that it would be dismissed outright in a court proceeding.

Additionally, the complaint itself, doesn’t strictly relate to an “Intelligence matter,” but rather a phone call between the President and a Ukraine government official. This is precisely why the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice refused to certify the document as a statutorily sufficient whistleblower complaint.

The whistleblower seems to have relied on Democratic Party lawyers to assist him with the drafting of his/her Complaint. More facts concerning the suspicious timing of the complaint as well as its dearth of credible evidence, continues to accumulate with each passing day.

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