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Rand Paul breaks unwritten code, arguing need to expose political bias


Published February 4, 2020


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Tuesday dropped a bombshell on the Senate floor, reading the name of the "anti-Trump CIA operative" believed to be the "whistleblower" who filed the complaint that triggered impeachment, Eric Ciaramella.

During his remarks in the Senate impeachment trial, Paul read the question he submitted last week that was rejected by Chief Justice John Roberts. Ciaramella's name is in the question, but Paul didn't say he was the whistleblower.

In any case, Paul and other colleagues have argued the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 requires only that the inspector general not disclose the whistleblower's name. It does not stop a member of Congress, the president or anyone else from identifying a whistleblower.

Paul's question was: "Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together, and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal house impeachment proceedings?"

Paul's speech Tuesday:

Paul on Tuesday criticized "overzealous" protections for whistleblowers, arguing the American public needs to know of political bias that might influence the actions of intelligence agencies and secret courts, the Gateway Pundit reported.

"By having such overzealous protections we don't get to the root of how with happened," he said. "This could happen again."

He warned that biased employees could "game the system to go after you."

Americans should be concerned, she said, that under the Obama administration federal agents listened to telephone calls and read text messages.

He said intel agencies should be banned from going after political campaigns.

"We need to change the rules. We cannot have secret courts trying to change the elections," he said.

After Roberts refused to read Paul's question, the Kentucky senator posted it on Twitter.

Investigative reporter Paul Sperry has reported it's an open secret in Washington that that the whistleblower is Ciaramella. Lawyers for the whistleblower have not made an outright denial that their client is Ciaramella.

Paul argued his question wasn't necessarily about a "whistleblower," explaining he had no independent confirmation of his identity.

"My question is about the actions of known Obama partisans within the NSC and House staff and how they are reported to have conspired before impeachment proceedings had even begun," he wrote on Twitter.

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., initially said the whistleblower would testify in the Senate trial. But Schiff changed his mind after he was caught falsely stating his office had no interaction with the whistleblower before the complaint was filed. And since Sperry reported the whistleblower is Ciaramella, the CIA analyst's political bias and connections have been scrutinized.

Sperry reported that just two weeks after Trump took office, Ciaramella was overheard in the White House discussing with Misko how to remove Trump, according to former colleagues.

Ciaramella and Misko -- who later joined Schiff's staff -- were Obama administration holdovers working in the Trump White House on foreign policy and national security issues. Both, Sperry reported, expressed anger over Trump's new "America First" foreign policy, a dramatic change from President Obama's approach to international affairs.