WASHINGTON: Only a handful of people know his or her identity, but the whistleblower whose complaint threatens to implode Donald Trump's presidency is already being lauded as both a hero and a traitor.
Six weeks after submitting a damning complaint about Trump that was made public Thursday (Sep 26), neither the president nor his intelligence chief knows their name or job, much less Democrats who have made the complaint the basis of an impeachment probe of the US leader.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the person is a man who works for the Central Intelligence Agency and had been seconded for a time to the White House.
The whistleblower's explosive complaint depicts Trump using his official powers to pressure Ukraine's president to get dirt on former vice president Joe Biden, currently the most likely Democrat to face Trump in next year's presidential election.
Democrats have accused the president of abuse of power in seeking foreign interference in a US election, two years after Russia meddled in the 2016 vote to help Trump's campaign.
The complaint only identifies the whistleblower as a member of the sprawling US intelligence community, 16 separate bodies with 100,000 people.
But it suggests the person is a skilled analyst deeply knowledegable about Eastern European politics with strong contacts in the White House.
"BY THE BOOK"
He or she recruited attorney Andrew Bakaj, a specialist in national security and whistleblower law, to help prepare the Aug 12 complaint for the inspector general of the intelligence community.
"I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear that it's a partisan person," Trump said earlier this week.
"I don't know who the whistleblower is," acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the leader of the intelligence community, said Thursday.
Federal whistleblowers have strong protections under a special law governing officials wanting to report wrongdoing by colleagues or superiors, but they have to go through a strictly defined process.
Maguire said the person acted "by the book."
"I think the whistleblower did everything in the right way," he told the House Intelligence Committee.
TRUMP "ALMOST A SPY"
But protecting the person could be hard. Bakaj has agreed to have them appear behind closed doors at the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to answer questions about the complaint.
Trump has already launched a campaign of personal attacks, accusing the whistleblower of relying on secondary reports from others in the intelligence community and holding a bias against the president.
"Who is this so-called 'whistleblower' who doesn't know the correct facts. Is he on our Country's side" Trump asked in a tweet this week.
And on Thursday, Trump appeared to threaten them.
"They're almost a spyRead More – Source