CIA impeachment whistleblower forced to live under surveillance due to threats: report
The CIA analyst who was the whistleblower in President Trump’s impeachment case was forced to live under strict security measures after receiving multiple threats, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Post reported that the CIA’s Security Protective Service implemented the measures after they noticed violent threats on the internet every time the president mentioned the whistleblower, who has not been identified by the government.
Officials said the threats increased when Trump tweeted about the analyst. The president’s allies also sought to reveal the person’s identify, with Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.), for instance, reading the name of the alleged whistleblower aloud during the impeachment trial.
Top lawmakers throughout the impeachment process stressed the need to protect the identify of the whistleblower, whose complaint alleged that Trump sought to get Ukraine’s help in the 2020 election by announcing an investigation of Democratic rival Joe Biden. Whistleblowers enjoy federal protections against retribution for coming forward.
“The president was tweeting, ‘Where’s the whistleblower? Where’s the whistleblower?’” a former senior U.S. official involved in overseeing the whistleblower’s protection told the Post. The official said the analyst was never in immediate danger, but without security, “there is a strong possibility that grave harm would have come to him.”
Current and former U.S. officials told the newspaper that the analyst was living under CIA security in hotels, and that armed officers drove him to work in an unmarked vehicle. A security team had to make sure his apartment was safe before he was allowed in to get any items.
Officials told the Post that the threats have subsided, and that some measures were pulled back. However, other measures will likely stay in place, as the analyst continues to face online attacks, sources told the Post.
The Hill has reached out to the CIA for comment.
The analyst was not the only person involved in the president’s impeachment to need security following attacks.
Officials told the Post that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who served as one of the House impeachment managers, needed full-time security.
And key impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told the newspaper that he was urged to move his family to a military base but chose not to, waiting instead for other security measures to be implemented, such as police patrols near his home.
Other political rivals of the president have blamed him for a rise in threats after he has attacked them publicly.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has argued that Trump is “complicit” in extremism surrounding an FBI-foiled plot to kidnap her earlier his year, charges the president has rejected.
Whitmer has said her family has seen increased threats when Trump targets her.
“I’m the one — it was our people that helped her out with her problem,” Trump maintained during a rally in her home state on Tuesday, before questioning the significance of the plot against her.
“I mean, we’ll have to see if it’s a problem, right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t,” he added.
The president had tweeted in April “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” due to Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions.
The FBI revealed earlier this month that the same people accused in the Michigan plot were also discussing targeting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Trump also tweeted about Virginia in April.
“Liberate VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” he wrote at the time.