Former intelligence operatives are expressing shock and disappointment at the intelligence community’s handling of a complaint lodged against President Donald Trump related to his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
One points out there is no basis for the whistleblower’s complaint, while another is concerned about the changing of intelligence community rules for defining a “whistleblower” to include the use of second-hand information.
Former CIA analyst Ron Aledo, who also served in the Pentagon, said that President Donald Trump, as commander in chief, was perfectly justified in asking the Ukranian president to investigate U.S. citizen Joe Biden, and everyone in the intelligence community should know that.
“What President Trump did on the phone call is exactly what any given Department of Justice attaché does any given day in all U.S. embassies around the world: request the host country for information and updates on ongoing investigations,” Aledo said in an email. “If Trump did something illegal, then all the DOJ attachés worldwide do something illegal every single day.”
Larry Johnson, a former CIA intelligence officer, said that the scandal represents a stain on the CIA.
“It’s a complete manufactured crisis. It was a deliberate plot, by elements within the intelligence community, to create a public narrative. If Trump had not released the transcript the thing would have more legs than it already does,” Johnson told The Epoch Times.
“People I’ve talked to in the intelligence community have knowledge about changes made to the document a whistleblower is supposed to fill out—the change took place after Trump had the conversation with Zelensky, and then they changed the document to allow hearsay to come in. That’s problematic.
“Hearsay is not allowed in any judicial setting. Having been involved with whistleblowing myself, it always entails you were involved with something, not that you heard something from someone. You don’t say, hey I was sitting in the lunch room today.
“It sets a terrible precedent. It completely debases the intelligence effort and turns the CIA into just another political actor in town who can’t be trusted. John Brennan has done more to devalue the CIA than any director in the history of the CIA.”
Johnson said that he’s spoken to active members of the CIA and other intelligence agencies and “they’re appalled.”
“There are people still in the intelligence community who hate Trump and who will do anything to destroy him,” Johnson said, noting that there are also some so-called White Hat actors who like Trump.
“There’s still some hope that due process will endure.”
Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson to demand detailed answers about the changing of the rules for filing whistleblower reports.
The congressmen wrote: “The timing of the removal of the first-hand information requirement raises questions about connections to the whistleblower complaint. This timing, along with numerous leaks of classified information about the contents of this complaint, raise questions about potential criminality in the handling of these matters.”