The intelligence community inspector general fired by President Trump said he believes his ousting was rooted in his doing his job appropriately, including his handling of the Ukraine whistleblower report.
Michael Atkinson addressed the president’s decision to fire him last week in a Sunday letter, writing that Trump’s loss of confidence in him “derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so.”
He continued, “As an Inspector General, I was legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters involving classified informationt to the congressional intelligence committees, and that when they did blow the whistle in an authorized manner, their identities would be protected as a guard against reprisals.”
Atkinson thanked those who publicly supported the “ICIG’s actions in administering” the Ukraine whistleblower’s disclosure. He said it had been an “honor” to serve the American public and encouraged future whistleblowers not to be afraid to speak out.
After a whistleblower filed a complaint about Trump’s July 2019 phone call with the president of Ukraine, during which he urged investigations into political opponents, Atkinson deemed the complaint “to be “urgent” and “credible” and forwarded it to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
Congress was notified by the White House on Friday evening that Atkinson was being removed because of a lack of confidence in his ability to perform his duties. The move was met with backlash from Democrats in Congress, and Horowitz vowed that ‘aggressive, independent oversight’ will persist within the intelligence community.
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