The US Intelligence Community quietly changed the Disclosure of Urgent Concern form, filled whenever a whistleblower submits a complaint, which enabled the Trump-Zelensky complaint to be filed, The Federalist’s Sean Davis writes.
According to Davis, markings on the submission form indicate the document was revised sometime in August 2019, but no precise date is provided. The Trump complaint, which led to the president’s impeachment inquiry, was dated 12 August 2019. The form itself was only uploaded online 24 September, just days before the complaint was declassified and released to the public.
A previous revision of the form included a lengthy disclaimer under the bolded heading “FIRST-HAND INFORMATION REQUIRED.” It explained that second-hand knowledge of the issue, which includes being told by a direct witness of wrongdoing, or speculation about possible wrongdoing, will not be accepted by the Intelligence Community Inspector General.
This requirement stemmed from a constitutional clause that the accused must always be allowed to question their accusers, Davis explained, and that’s why hearsay is generally not accepted as evidence in US federal and state courts.
The revised document, however, contains no such disclaimer. Instead, it offers a checkbox which allows the would-be whistleblower to admit they are using second-hand knowledge of the matter. According to Davis, the complaint has not one, but dozens of references to unnamed multiple US officials.
“I was not a direct witness to most of the events,” the complainant also said in his letter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees, respectively.
The complaint also cited publicly available news articles as proof of many of its allegations, according to The Federalist.
“This raises questions about the intelligence community’s behavior regarding the August submission of a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump,” Davis writes.
The complaint was declassified and released to the public together with the transcript of the phone call referred to in the document. According to House Democrats, Trump used threats to make Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky probe Joe Biden and his son’s involvement in Ukrainian affairs. A number of US officials, including Republican lawmakers, argue that the transcript does not support this point of view.