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    The “Whistleblower Complaint” isn’t a whistleblower complaint, it’s a closing argument

    The “Whistleblower Complaint” isn’t a whistleblower complaint, it’s a closing argument

    If CIA or other intelligence operatives are using their access to sensitive information in order to interfere in our political process, then that is a lot more frightening than a President raising the widely-reported corruption of his political opponent with the president of the country where the alleged corruption took place.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNDIOd4Dqa4

    When the so-called Whistleblower Complaint was released this morning, my first impression was that this was a very professionally-done document, likely crafted by a lawyer.

    It looks like a lawyer letter. It’s very legalistic in many parts, cites to statutes and executive orders, and is heavily footnoted. It attempts to bring together evidence from disparate sources, including public news reports. It is, in every sense, a closing argument or brief in support of a position by someone who did not actually participate in the events about which he or she is writing.

    The document does not at all read like we would expect a whistleblower complaint to read — alerting the appropriate authority to facts the whistleblower has learned and leaving the legal conclusions to those authorities.

    The NY Times reports that the whistleblower is a CIA officer, likely an analyst, assigned at one time to White House duty, though the timing of that assignment is unclear. That would make sense considering the analytical nature of the document, and particularly the opening two sentences and later paragraph regarding classification:

    I am reporting an “urgent concern” in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.

    * * *

    To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure. I have endeavored to apply the classification standards outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13526 and to separate out information that I know or have reason to believe is classified for national security purposes. 1

    • If a classification marking is applied retroactively, I believe it is incumbent upon the
    classifying authority to explain why such a marking was applied, and to which specific
    information it pertains.

    * * *

    [Fn 1] 1 Apart from the information in the Enclosure, it is my belief that none of the information contained herein meets the definition of”classified information” outlined in EO 13 526, Part 1, Section 1. 1. There is ample open-source information about the efforts I describe below, including statements by the President and Mr. Giuliani. In addition, based on my personal observations, there is discretion with respect to the classification of private comments by or instructions from the President, including his communications with foreign leaders; information that is not related to U.S. foreign policy or national security-such as the information contained in this document, when separated from the Enclosure-is generally treated as unclassified. I also believe that applying a classification marking to this information would violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states: “In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or] (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”

    Who talks/writes like this? Lawyers and analysts steeped in national security law, and concerned about the nuances of classifications. In this case, the whistleblower likely was well-versed in national security law AND had legal help crafting the complaint.

    Why go to the trouble of such a detailed explanation of what is/is not classified in the document? Why not leave that classification issue to the appropriate authorities?

    Perhaps the whistleblower wanted the document to be leaked and wanted to make sure the leakers knew only to leak the letter, not the attachment:

    This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.

    * * *

    To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure.

    In the coming days, we’re likely to find out more about the whistleblower. An exclusive interview with the Washington Post, a la Christine Blasey Ford, seems likely with or without a reveal of identity.

    It’s too soon to say conclusively this was a CIA analyst or other intelligence community member, but if that turns out to be the case, then the implications are frightening. It will show that the worst conspiracy theories about the “deep state” were not conspiracy theories at all.

    If CIA or other intelligence operatives are using their access to sensitive information in order to interfere in our political process, then that is a lot more frightening than a President raising the widely-reported corruption of his political opponent with the president of the country where the alleged corruption took place.

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    Comments


    fishstick: it was a hypothetical to a question a reporter had asked the president

    Oh gee whiz. You only have to have ears to hear.

    Trump: China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

    The Bidens are U.S. citizens. China is an authoritarian communist regime.

    Trump’s call for China to probe Biden clouds trade talks


       
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      fishstick in reply to Zachriel. | October 6, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      Zachriel: Oh gee whiz. You only have to have ears to hear.

      well that is what ears are for

      Zachriel: “” Trump: China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. “”

      again that was an answer to a directed question by a reporter over his phone call with Zelenskyy

      you are trying to excuse away the Bidens’ impropriety with Burisma who landed a huge billion dollar deal with China after VP Biden makes a visit there

      and the cases built against the Burisma company ended up getting squashed

      not to mention the supposed lead on this (Hunter Biden) has zero expertise when it comes to China nor Ukraine nor energy nor even private equity

      Zachriel: The Bidens are U.S. citizens. China is an authoritarian communist regime.

      true but that didn’t stop the Democrats for pressuring the Ukrainians into digging up dirt on US citizens either

      except here, there is actual admittance on Ukraine’s end that they got involved

      in the case you are trying to make, it is the opposite

    fishstick: again that was an answer to a directed question by a reporter over his phone call with Zelenskyy

    The context doesn’t help.

    Reporter: What exactly do you hope Zelensky will do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly?

    Trump: Well, I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. Because how does a company that’s newly formed and all these companies … And, by the way, likewise China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

    There’s just no way around it. Trump is calling for an authoritarian communist regime to investigate his political rivals, private U.S. citizens whom you have already granted there is probably no prosecutable offenses.


       
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      fishstick in reply to Zachriel. | October 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Zachriel: The context doesn’t help.

      sure it does

      if you don’t like the answer, then don’t ask the question

      Zachriel: There’s just no way around it. Trump is calling for an authoritarian communist regime to investigate his political rivals, private U.S. citizens whom you have already granted there is probably no prosecutable offenses.

      no – Trump is actually calling for China to investigate possible offenses done by the Bidens per their dealings with Burisma holdings

      and there could be charges there for influence peddling, which is an illegal activity in most countries

    fishstick: Trump is actually calling for China to investigate possible offenses done by the Bidens

    You got it! Trump is calling for an authoritarian communist regime to investigate his political rivals, private U.S. citizens.


       
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      fishstick in reply to Zachriel. | October 7, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Zachriel: You got it! Trump is calling for an authoritarian communist regime to investigate his political rivals, private U.S. citizens.

      except it was framed as a hypothetical to a question a reporter had asked him

      you keep ignoring that part of it

      as well as the distinction Trump isn’t using his position as PotUS to demand China do these things like VP Biden did with the Ukrainians on behalf of the Obama administration

      Joe Biden’s role as a political candidate has nothing to do with the allegations here and potential crimes therein

      funny thing – Biden’s viability to win the Dem nomination has tanked since this whole “whistleblower” concoction of theirs has boomeranged and hit them in their donkey faces

    fishstick: except it was framed as a hypothetical to a question a reporter had asked him

    The reporter’s question wasn’t hypothetical: “What exactly do you hope Zelensky will do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly?”

    Regarding Ukraine, Trump hedges at first, but then makes a clear declarative: “It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

    Regarding China, Trump doesn’t hedge at all: “And, by the way, likewise China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

    It’s clear you don’t want to face the facts concerning Trump’s statements. The best answer for Trump would be that he misspoke in the moment. But this is part of a long pattern of such behavior on his part, including during his phone call with Zelensky, and now the selling out of the Kurds in Syria to the benefit of authoritarians; Erdoğan, Putin, and Assad.

    Trump Towers Istanbul


       
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      fishstick in reply to Zachriel. | October 8, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      Zachriel: The reporter’s question wasn’t hypothetical: “What exactly do you hope Zelensky will do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly?”

      except that is a hypothetical question

      as the question is a literal proposition

      Zachriel: Regarding Ukraine, Trump hedges at first, but then makes a clear declarative: “It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

      except you don’t take into context the hypothesis of the president’s answer

      he’s stating the Ukrainians should be investigating the Bidens because of the acts they have been engaged in

      such as Biden’s role in strong-arming the previous Ukrainian president and Hunter’s role in Burisma, whom seem to have a run of good fortune with the former VP’s son on their board

      Zachriel: Regarding China, Trump doesn’t hedge at all: “And, by the way, likewise China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

      again – because of context

      there is clear impropriety going on there that you continually ignore

      Zachriel: It’s clear you don’t want to face the facts concerning Trump’s statements.

      but I’ve stated it atleast six different times now that you are arguing a hypothetical

      the reality is your argument that Trump is leveraging his position into forcing other countries to investigate the Bidens just doesn’t have any factual support

      the transcript doesn’t reveal any “quid pro quo”, the current Ukrainian administration has flat out denied any such pressuring, and there is even of an argument for you bringing up “commie” China

      Zachriel: The best answer for Trump would be that he misspoke in the moment. But this is part of a long pattern of such behavior on his part, including during his phone call with Zelensky,

      and again – you ignore Zelenskyy has contradicted the very premise of your argument

      Zachriel: and now the selling out of the Kurds in Syria to the benefit of authoritarians; Erdoğan, Putin, and Assad.

      this here is nothing new as Trump has made continual efforts to pull troops out of that region and force these other countries to better invest in their own defense

      now – I think there is a good argument to be made that THIS is a mistake, like Obama pulling the troops out of Iraq, but it has been Trump’s MO

      as he wants the rest of the world to step it up and stop relying on the US to foot everyone’s bill

    fishstick: except that is a hypothetical question

    There is nothing hypothetical about the question. “What exactly do you hope Zelensky will do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly?”

    A hypothetical question is one which is of the form, “If …”. This is a hypothetical question: If you were a bird, would you be a hawk or an owl?


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