Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, September 16, 2019

About that Intelligence whistleblower --- this is very, very bad

by digby

This is a confusing and bizarre story but I think it may be one of those escalations that could wind up being an important moment.

Talking Points Memo lays out the story:
What’s there to hide?

That’s what a congressional panel investigating a potentially urgent whistleblower complaint from the intelligence community wants to know.

On Friday, House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) accused acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of withholding a “credible” whistleblower complaint — made by someone within the intelligence community — from Congress.

But nobody apart from a few select people knows what it is that the anonymous tipster alleging.

Schiff took the unusual step on Friday of publicizing the situation, which, according to Schiff, had been roiling behind the scenes for weeks.

And, what’s more, Congress appears to have only learned of the whistleblower’s existence after Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson deemed the complaint of “urgent concern” and sent a letter to Congress informing it of the situation.

The allegation could suggest a breach of federal statutes, and Schiff’s decision to publicize the matter suggests the situation is an urgent one.

“This is unheard of,” former House general counsel Charles Tiefer told TPM. “The intelligence community normally feels absolutely obliged to furnish the demands of the intelligence committees.”

It’s not clear what the subject of the whistleblower complaint is, though a close reading of letters accompanying a subpoena that Schiff sent to the DNI on Friday demanding whistleblower-related records suggests that it may implicate people outside of the intelligence community itself.

The timeline of the whistleblower complaint has been swift.

According to Schiff’s letter, the whistleblower first sent a “disclosure intended for Congress” to the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General on Aug. 12.

That triggered a two-week deadline for Atkinson to review and assess the complaint.

At the period’s end — on Aug. 26 — Atkinson purportedly reached his conclusion, finding that the whistleblower had made a credible allegation that met a legal standard of “urgent concern.” He then submitted a copy of the disclosure and “accompanying materials” to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, beginning another seven-day countdown to the deadline for Maguire to forward the information to the congressional intelligence committees.

This is where things get hairy. Schiff alleges that Maguire’s office has withheld the complaint from Congress, disregarding the law.

And in fact, according to Schiff’s letters, the House only became aware of the disclosure through another somewhat mysterious occurrence. All the Committee says about this is that, on Sept. 9, the Intelligence Community Inspector General sent the committee a letter notifying the House that the whistleblower complaint existed.

In his letter, Schiff praised Atkinson.

“The Committee also deeply appreciates IC IG Michael Atkinson’s upstanding and principled handling of this matter, and fully expects that he and all members of his staff will also be protected from any reprisal or threat of reprisal for bringing this matter to the attention of the Committee, as Mr. Atkinson is required to do,” Schiff wrote.

It remains unclear whether the Senate Intelligence Committee — the other congressional intelligence committee — was informed of the situation. A spokeswoman for the committee did not return TPM’s request for comment.

The intel community watchdog’s letter launched an escalating battle between Schiff and the DNI. One day later, on Sept. 10, House Intel demanded that Maguire produce a full copy of the whistleblower complaint, the inspector general’s evaluation of the complaint, and any communications about the complaint between the national intelligence director’s office and “other Executive Branch actors including the White House.”

Schiff writes that on Friday — Sept. 13 — Maguire replied, denying Schiff’s request. That evening, the Intelligence Committee chair blew open the situation with a public press release, and spent part of Sunday on CBS’s Face The Nation discussing the issue.

Neither Schiff’s office nor that of the DNI returned requests to make Maguire’s Sept. 13 letter publicly available.

But Schiff’s description of Maguire’s reasons for refusing the request add to the mystery.

A letter accompanying the Sept. 13 subpoena states that the DNI believes the whistleblower complaint “concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community” and that it “involves confidential and potentially privileged communications.” Schiff also wrote in the letter that the DNI’s office “consulted the Department of Justice about the complaint” and that it refused to confirm or deny whether White House attorneys had worked on the issue, or whether the subject of the complaint went to an “area of active investigation” by the Committee.

From these facts, Schiff concluded that “the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials.”

Tiefer, the former House general counsel, told TPM that “House Intelligence routinely obtains far more sensitive intelligence than this.”

“This whistleblower complaint is not ‘sources and methods,'” he said. “In fact, it is a document expected eventually to be made public by the court system.”

The nature of the complaint remains unclear, as do the specifics of what the DNI believes the privilege issues implicated in the whistleblower disclosure may be.

The DNI did not return a request for comment.

The situation follows on a brazen strategy by the Trump administration to stonewall congressional subpoenas at virtually every turn, and is playing out as another whistleblower drama — involving potential misconduct in how the IRS is treating Trump’s taxes — unfolds in the shadows.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General’s office declined to comment. A spokesman for Schiff did not return a request for comment.

Congressional oversight, Inspector Generals and whistelblowers and the press are the ordinary mechanisms we have  devised to ensure that a rogue president can be restrained. They are not working.

The constitution laid out another one: impeachment.

Do the Democrats really believe that if they institute official impeachment hearings and the president continues to obstruct this way that a majority of the country will not see what he is doing?  That the impeachment process might just stop some of these people from doing this?

I don't know, but there is a case to be made to the American people that Trump is acting like a doctator answerable to no one. I don't think they know that now. Impeachment would reveal it in a systematic way.