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Whistleblower Rules Secretly Changed Right Before Report Filed Against Trump

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OPINION!

By Carmine Sabia at The Federalist Papers

The Whistleblower Protection Act rules were changed in the months prior to a whistleblower coming forward against President Donald Trump.

The rules used to state that a whistleblower had to have direct, first hand knowledge of what they were reporting on.

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But in the time between May 2018 and August 2019 that rule was changed, which has many wondering what involvement the intelligence community had in the complaint, The Federalist reported.

The brand new version of the whistleblower complaint form, which was not made public until after the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint addressed to Congress were made public, eliminates the first-hand knowledge requirement and allows employees to file whistleblower complaints even if they have zero direct knowledge of underlying evidence and only “heard about [wrongdoing] from others.”

The internal properties of the newly revised “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form, which the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) requires to be submitted under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), show that the document was uploaded on September 24, 2019, at 4:25 p.m., just days before the anti-Trump complaint was declassified and released to the public. The markings on the document state that it was revised in August 2019, but no specific date of revision is disclosed.

The complaint alleges that President Donald Trump broke the law during a phone call with the Ukrainian president. In his complaint, which was dated August 12, 2019, the complainant acknowledged he was “not a direct witness” to the wrongdoing he claims Trump committed.

A previous version of the whistleblower complaint document, which the ICIG and DNI until recently provided to potential whistleblowers, declared that any complaint must contain only first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing and that complaints that provide only hearsay, rumor, or gossip would be rejected.

“The [Intelligence Community Inspector General] cannot transmit information via the ICPWA based on an employee’s second-hand knowledge of wrongdoing,” it used to say.

“This includes information received from another person, such as when an employee informs you that he/she witnessed some type of wrongdoing,” it said.

“If you think that wrongdoing took place, but can provide nothing more than second-hand or unsubstantiated assertions, [the Intelligence Community Inspector General] will not be able to process the complaint or information for submission as an ICWPA,” it said.

And it was convenient timing for the whistleblower against President Trump as they said that did not have direct knowledge of the majority of the event.

“I was not a direct witness to most of the events,” the whistleblower said in the complaint that came after the rules changed.

“Whistleblowers were required to provide direct, first-hand knowledge of allegations…but just days before the Ukraine whistleblower came forward, the IC secretly removed that requirement from the complaint form. We won’t rest until we have answers,” Republican House Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said.

This article originally appeared at The Federalist Papers and was republished with permission.

Follow the author, Carmine Sabia on Twitter!

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