In 2018, Rep. Devin Nunes released a Donald Trump-approved memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses in surveillance of Trump allies, despite warnings from both the FBI and the CIA that the information contained in it endangered both intelligence-gathering methods and sources in the field. That incident is far from the only time the suer of cartoon cows placed proving his loyalty to Trump above either national security or House rules, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a staffer in Nunes’ office is now the go-to source for information about the person behind the whistleblower complaint. Or that Republicans have worked together to weaponize transcripts from the House impeachment inquiry.
The Daily Beast is reporting that one of Nunes’ top aides has been providing “information” about the whistleblower to facilitate attacks by right-wing media and congressional Republicans. That’s “information” rather than information because some of it is certainly wrong. But opening up a one-stop whistleblower identity revelation shop is just part one of the process.
The inside scoop on the whistleblower is coming from Nunes aide Derek Harvey and includes a supposed name and supposed background information on the whistleblower. Harvey is working with Republican staffers and congressmen involved in the impeachment inquiry to see that the name is used by Republicans asking question in closed-door hearings. Again and again, they’ve been asking witnesses appearing to give testimony about the name that Nunes staff has provided—for the sole purpose of getting that name into the Congressional Record. And why do that? So that when the House makes the transcript of the testimony public, it will also be releasing the name of the whistleblower.
This is actually one of the reasons that Republicans have been pushing for the release of transcripts, especially specific transcripts, such as that of former White House adviser Fiona Hill. Once those transcripts are in public view, Republicans can point at the name and help generate talk and speculation about the whistleblower in public without ever revealing the whistleblower in the narrowest, strictest technical sense.
So Republicans’ theory of the proper way to handle whistleblower information is to have one of the top aides of the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee set up a dispatch center, sending the name and background information of the whistleblower in all directions. And then other Republicans work to plant that name in the Congressional Record, where it can’t help but come to light. In other words, a conspiracy. One that ends with Republicans snickering so hard at the idea that there is supposed to be protection for whistleblowers.
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