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There's some fuckery afoot in Donald Trump's Intelligence Community. The fact that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is burying a whistleblower complaint in blatant violation of the plain wording of federal law would be a massive scandal in any other administration. But here in the Firehose Era, it goes rushing by practically unnoticed.

NOT ON YOUR WONKETTE'S WATCH, DAMMIT! House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff just dropped a subpoena on the Acting DNI calling him to testify before the Committee on Thursday, which is a BFD. And let's pay particular attention to the dates here, for reasons we'll come back to in a hot second.

According to Rep. Schiff's September 13 letter to Maguire, on August 12, the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) received a "whistleblower disclosure intended for the congressional intelligence committees from an individual within the intelligence community." As provided under 50 US Code §3033§3033 and the Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Protection Act, the ICIG conducted a 14-day preliminary investigation and found the allegations credible and of "urgent concern" to Congress. On August 26, the ICIG told Maguire of his findings, which started the clock on a deadline for the DNI to disclose the information to HPSCI, as laid out in 50 US Code §30339(k)(5)(G):

Upon receipt of a transmittal from the Inspector General under subparagraph (B), the Director shall, within 7 calendar days of such receipt, forward such transmittal to the congressional intelligence committees, together with any comments the Director considers appropriate.

That would be a non-discretionary statute. Maguire doesn't have any wiggle room here -- it says "shall," and that doesn't mean he gets to go running to Attorney General Bill Barr to ask if he can prettyplease dummy up some bullshit excuse to get out of it. So naturally, that's exactly what he did.


According to Schiff, Maguire threw a Hail Mary pass to the Justice Department, which told him he didn't have to comply with the law because the whistleblower complaint "involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community." Which is not a thing. This forced the ICIG to become a whistleblower himself, sending a letter to HPSCI on September 9. The following day, Schiff demanded that Maguire follow the law and cough it up, but Maguire told him he'd been forbidden from complying by a "higher authority."

To which Adam Schiff said, YOU'RE THE DNI, WHO THE FUCK IS HIGHER UP THAN YOU? Or words to that effect.

You have also refused to rule out to me that the urgent concern, and underlying conduct, relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee.

The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible "serious or flagrant" misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.

And yes, he did put that part in boldface type. The he subpoenaed Maguire to appear before Congress this Thursday to explain what the hell he thinks he's doing. Schiff also reminded the Acting DNI that he'd be in even deeper shit if he tried to take revenge on ICIG Michael Atkinson for coming forward to HPSCI when he realized his superiors were breaking the law.

SO ... that's all terrible. But let's get back to those dates. If the ICIG received the original complaint on August 12, presumably the matter of "urgent concern" to Congress took place some time in the preceding weeks. Guess what else happened at the DNI during that same period of time!

That's right, Donald Trump tweetfired DNI Dan Coats and tried to shoe-horn that sycophantic paste-eater John Ratcliffe into the job. And when that didn't work, because of one or twelve tiny exaggerations about his resume, Trump forced out the Deputy DNI Sue Gordon, who was designated by statute to become Acting DNI until a permanent replacement could be confirmed by the Senate.

So right around the time that whatever it is that provoked this complaint went down, Donald Trump lurched off the couch and made sure to get all the grownups out of the room STAT. It's mighty goddamn convenient that Maguire was at that DNI desk on August 8, just in time to throw his body on that ICIG whistleblower grenade on August 12. Almost like it was planned.

Did Donald Trump get rid of Coats and Gordon before the shit hit the fan, knowing that his Roy Cohns, Maguire and Barr, would make this problem go away?

DUNNO! But the timing sure is interesting, huh?

[Schiff Letter to Maguire, 9-13-19 / HPSCI Press Release]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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