In a press release issued late Monday, the intelligence community inspector general admitted it changed its policy and its whistleblower form after an anti-Trump complainant alleged that Trump broke the law during a phone call with the Ukrainian president.
￼ By Sean Davis
OCTOBER 1, 2019
On Monday, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) admitted that it did alter its forms and policies governing whistleblower complaints, and that it did so in response to the anti-Trump complaint filed on Aug. 12, 2019. The Federalist first reported the sudden changes last Friday. While many in the media falsely claimed the ICIG’s stunning admission debunked The Federalist’s report, the admission from the ICIG completely affirmed the reporting on the secretive change to whistleblower rules following the filing of an anti-Trump complaint in August.
The ICIG also disclosed for the first time that the anti-Trump complainant filed his complaint using the previously authorized form, the guidance for which explicitly stated the ICIG’s previous requirement for firsthand evidence for credible complaints.
There are two important points here.
First, the ICIG, Michael K. Atkinson, attempted to argue that the change in the form was made so that the form would conform with the Whistleblower statute. Here's the problem with that. Like many statutes, the Whistleblower statute is a general sort of outline that is fleshed out by regulations. Those regulations are not simply written up by some agency head somewhere who uses his imagination. No matter what you think of the Administrative State, regulations are the product of a lengthy consultative process and reflect considered policy choices. Whether you agree with that process or not, regulations don't get changed by simply changing a form. Proposed changes go through the same process. If you want to change the form in any substantive way--like, to contradict the regulations--then you must first change the regulations. I strongly suspect that Michael K. Atkinson, if he isn't already in the hot seat, will be very shortly.
Secondly, the original complaint was in fact written up on the form that explicitly required first hand knowledge. And, in fact, on the original complaint the complainant checked off the box saying that the complainant had first hand knowledge. Also the box saying that he had second hand knowledge. But we know that the complainant was not present for the phone call between Trump and Zelenskyy. That means he had no first hand knowledge of the facts that formed the actual basis for the complaint--that was all hearsay. Presumably the helpful people at the ICIG--and maybe in Adam Schiff's office?--who assisted the complainant read his original complaint and said, Uh oh! Do you really have first hand knowledge? No? Well, hey presto, we'll change that form so you can admit the truth. But as I said above--that's not how government regulations get changed.
Maybe somewhere in the halls of government, instead of a hot seat, there's a hot bench, so Michael K. Atkinson--with all his deep connections to Obama's corrupt DoJ National Security Division--can scootch over and make room for a few more people. I think 18 USC 1001 False Statements to the Government would cover this situation pretty well. And there might be other statutes that could be used as well.