Former national security officials call for whistleblower's identity to be protected

Former national security officials call for whistleblower's identity to be protected
© Aaron Schwartz

Ninety former national security officials are demanding the whistleblower at the center of allegations that sparked an impeachment inquiry into President Trump be protected. 

In an open letter to "the American people," first reported by The Wall Street Journal late Sunday, the former national security officials commend the whistleblower's actions and stress that the person went through the proper procedure to report the alleged wrongdoing. 

"A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers," they wrote. "What’s more, being a responsible whistleblower means that, by law, one is protected from certain egregious forms of retaliation."

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"Whatever one’s view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower’s complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity," they added. "Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection."

Trump has continued to attack the unidentified whistleblower, as he defends a call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of the allegations. 

In a private event hours after the complaint was released, Trump accused the whistleblower of being "close to a spy," according to a recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times and reporting confirmed by The New York Times. 

"I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” he said, according to the recording. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

The White House released a partial memo of the call that shows Trump asking Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage Schiff: Whistleblower testimony might not be necessary Trump warns Democrats will lose House seats over impeachment MORE, a leading 2020 presidential candidate. Trump has said there was nothing inappropriate about the call. 

On Sunday, attorney Andrew Bajak confirmed he is representing another whistleblower, said to have firsthand knowledge of Trump's interactions with Ukraine. 

The White House later defended Trump, saying in a statement the emergence of a second whistleblower "doesn't change the fact that [Trump] has done nothing wrong."