An anti-Trump whistleblower at the center of ongoing Democratic efforts to impeach President Donald Trump coordinated with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his Democratic staff prior to filing his whistleblower complaint, The New York Times reported on Wednesday afternoon. The bombshell report that the whistleblower and his Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) colleagues actively worked exclusively with congressional Democrats before filing the complaint raises serious questions about whether the complainant followed federal laws providing whistleblower protections for employees within the U.S. intelligence community.
“Before going to Congress, the C.I.A. officer had a colleague convey his accusations to the agency’s top lawyer,” The New York Times reported. “Concerned about how that avenue for airing his allegations was unfolding, the officer then approached a House Intelligence Committee aide, alerting him to the accusation against Mr. Trump.”
The New York Times noted that the anti-Trump complainant only notified the committee’s Democrats of his allegations.
“The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy,” The New York Times wrote.
Under federal law, whistleblowers within the intelligence community are required to report any allegations of wrongdoing to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) in order to receive statutory whistleblower protections for their disclosures. The law does not provide any protections to employees or contractors who bypass the process required by law and go directly to Congress, nor does it provide any avenue to disclose classified information to Congress without first going through the ICIG. If the complainant or a colleague leaked classified information to Schiff or his committee, those individuals could be subject to criminal liability for illegal and unauthorized disclosure of classified information.