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New York Times Defends Decision to Reveal Identifying Details About Trump Whistleblower

Trump Whistleblower NYT

The New York Times published details revealing that the whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump pushing the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden was a CIA officer who had been detailed to the White House.

The report cited the whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, warning that “any decision to report any perceived identifying information of the whistle-blower is deeply concerning and reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way.”

“The whistle-blower has a right to anonymity,” Bajaj said.

The Times published a statement from Times executive editor Dean Baquet defending the report.

“The president and some of his supporters have attacked the credibility of the whistle-blower, who has presented information that has touched off a landmark impeachment proceeding,” Baquet said. “The president himself has called the whistle-blower’s account a ‘political hack job.’”

“We decided to publish limited information about the whistle-blower — including the fact that he works for a nonpolitical agency and that his complaint is based on an intimate knowledge and understanding of the White House — because we wanted to provide information to readers that allows them to make their own judgments about whether or not he is credible,” he added. “We also understand that the White House already knew he was a C.I.A. officer.”

White House already knew about CIA officer:

According to the Times, the whistleblower initially went to the CIA’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, about the call. Elwood investigated the allegations and found that multiple people had raised concerns about the call. She also called a White House lawyer and the National Security Council. Elwood and the White House counsel’s office found that the allegations had reasonable basis.

The allegations made their way to the White House and senior officials and Justice Department prosecutors were brought in to assess the allegations.

“But as White House, C.I.A. and Justice Department officials were examining the accusations, the C.I.A. officer who had lodged them anonymously grew concerned after learning that Ms. Elwood had contacted the White House,” The Times reported. “While it is not clear how the officer became aware that Ms. Elwood had shared the information, he concluded that the C.I.A. was not taking his allegations seriously.”