NY Times: Whistleblower is a CIA officer

The whistleblower whose complaint alleged that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE tried to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida MORE is a CIA officer, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing three people familiar with his identity.

The officer was reportedly working in the White House at one point and has returned to the intelligence agency, according to the newspaper.

The Times reported that not much else is known about the whistleblower.

The whistleblower's attorneys refused The Times's request to confirm that he worked for the CIA, telling the newspaper that it was dangerous to publicize information about him. 

“Any decision to report any perceived identifying information of the whistleblower is deeply concerning and reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way,” said Andrew Bakaj, his lead attorney. “The whistleblower has a right to anonymity.”

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"Publishing details about the whistleblower will only lead to identification of someone, whether our client or the wrong person, as the whistleblower," said Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower's other attorneys. "This will place this individual in a much more dangerous situation, not only in their professional world but also their possible personal safety."

A spokeswoman for acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireCongressional Democrats request FBI briefing on foreign election interference efforts Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones Hillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal MORE told the Times that it would continue to work to protect the whistleblower. 

Maguire expressed similar sentiments at a Thursday hearing, saying, "We must protect those who demonstrate the courage to report alleged wrongdoing, whether on the battlefield or in the workplace.”

He said he did not know the person's identity. 

The Times quoted its executive editor in the story defending the paper's decision to publish the information. 

"The role of the whistle-blower, including his credibility and his place in the government, is essential to understanding one of the most important issues facing the country — whether the president of the United States abused power and whether the White House covered it up,” said Dean Baquet.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment, referring The Hill to the office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which also declined to comment. 

The Hill has reached out to the DNI for comment.

The report comes hours after the House Intelligence Committee released the whistleblower complaint, which alleges that Trump sought Ukraine's help in the 2020 election by pushing a corruption investigation against Biden, the current Democratic presidential front-runner.

The White House released a memo Wednesday showing Trump's efforts in a July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine to get that country to open an investigation into Biden, with Trump urging the Ukrainian leader to speak to his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting CIA found Putin 'probably directing' campaign against Biden: report Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate MORE on the matter.

Democratic lawmakers have widely panned Trump's efforts and say they bolster their case for impeachment, while the president has defended his actions.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.

Updated at 3:51 p.m.