Shared from the 11/4/2019 Houston Chronicle eEdition


Gohmert repeats debunked statement


The claim: “As we have learned, the Intel Inspector General (IG) changed the rule after the complaint was known in order to allow hearsay complaints, but the IG dishonestly backdated the rule change so that damage could be done to President Trump.” — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert

Gohmert made the claim in an op-ed written for the Daily Caller about the whistleblower complaint behind the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

PolitiFact ruling: Pants on Fire. Gohmert repeated a debunked claim circulated by Trump and could not provide evidence to support his statement.

No rules regulating whistleblower complaints were changed. The Office of the Inspector General altered the form for submitting complaints to make it more clear that whistleblowers can supply either first or second-hand information, as has been the case since 2014.

Discussion: The basis for Trump’s claim was an article on the conservative website The Federalist that said the intelligence community eliminated a rule that would require whistleblowers to provide “direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.”

In reality, the current rules, in place since 2014, remain unchanged. Whistleblowers are allowed to provide both first and second-hand information.

What did change recently is a form for submitting a whistleblower complaint to the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

The earlier version of the form, which had been in use since May 24, 2018, included a section titled, “First-hand information required” that stated the Office of Inspector General must be “in possession of reliable, first-hand information” to “find an urgent concern ‘credible.’ ”

In August, the Office of Inspector General changed the form because the office found that some sections “could be read — incorrectly — as suggesting that whistleblowers must possess first-hand information in order to file an urgent concern complaint,” according to a statement from the office.

The language on the original form about firsthand information referred to requirements for the investigation that follows the submission of a complaint — not a requirement of the complaint itself.

The whistleblower complaint in question was submitted on Aug. 12, 2019, using the earlier version of the form, according to the Office of Inspector General. The whistleblower stated on the form that “he or she possessed both first-hand and other information,” according to the office.

For more on the research and the conclusion, visit Politifact Texas,

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