Fearing leaks and potential retribution, House Democrats want to mask the whistleblower’s name from allies of President Donald Trump, The Washington Post reported Monday night.
The Post report cited three officials close to the discussions.
“There are lots of different protocols and procedures we’re looking into to find out what works and doesn’t work to protect the identity of the whistleblower,” a source told the Post. “That is paramount.”
The masking is not only intended to hide the whistleblower’s identity from leaks, it is also a measure being leveraged to encourage the whistleblower to testify before lawmakers of Democrat-led House committees, per the report.
Among the other considerations are having the whistleblower testify at a remote location away from the exposure of Washington, D.C., and potentially obscuring the whistleblower’s appearance and voice, according to the Post.
Lawyers for the whistleblower expressed concern in a Sept. 28 letter to the acting director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, that their client’s safety could be at risk after Trump suggested he was a spy who had committed treason.
They said certain individuals had offered a $50,000 “bounty” for any information on the whistleblower’s identity after the official complained to a government watchdog that Trump had pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.
The U.S. government source familiar with the whistleblower’s case said federal authorities were taking precautions to protect the official, but declined to say what measures had been put in place. The source also declined to say whether any specific threats had been made against the whistleblower.
A lawyer for the whistleblower declined to comment on his client’s security.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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