Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has issued a statement this morning, criticizing “uninformed speculation” about the whistleblower whose complaint is now at the center of the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House.
Grassley has been an advocate for laws that protect whistleblowers in the federal government and he criticized media reports about this whistleblower’s identity. Grassley also said while more “legwork” must be done to verify second-hand information in the whistleblower’s report, Grassley said there is no legal basis to dismiss the complaint because it contains second-hand information.
Grassley said the person who filed the complaint “appears to have followed” the law “and ought to be heard out and protected.”
Grassley is the chairman and co-founder of the Senate Whistleblower Prote ction Caucus. Grassley issued the statement from his home in rural Butler County, where he’s recuperating from hernia surgery.
Grassley’s full statement is below.
Butler County, Iowa – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) made the following comments regarding the intelligence community whistleblower and related issues.
“This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality. Any further media reports on the whistleblower’s identity don’t serve the public interest—even if the conflict sells more papers or attracts clicks.
“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country.
“When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones. It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy. Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.
“As I said last week, inquiries that put impeachment first and facts last don’t weigh very credibly. Folks just ought to be responsible with their words.”
Grassley is the chairman and co-founder of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus and has authored and co-authored many of the nation’s whistleblower protection laws.