In a report from Yahoo News, as the selection process for the Jan. 6 committee remains underway, former CIA Inspector General David Buckley will be appointed as staff director.
But the decision to appoint Buckley may come back to haunt Democrats. According to a Report of Investigation document compiled by the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog office, a conclusion was reached by investigators that former CIA Inspector General Buckley retaliated against former CIA IG official Andrew Bakaj.
In April 2014, Bakaj states he met with Intelligence Community Inspector General Deputy Counsel Paul Wogaman to assist with an inquiry at the CIA's IG office. Upon Bakaj's superiors learning of his involvement to assist Wogaman, they became angry, stating Bakaj should have "confirmed that the request was authorized." But Bakaj had no responsibility to do so, the report indicated.
According to Yahoo News, "DHS investigators concluded that Buckley's decision to launch an investigation into Bakaj's record in the first place, regardless of what it found, was 'tainted' and motivated by retaliation."
One former CIA IG employee said he "came out of his seat" upon hearing of Buckley's selection for the Jan. 6 select committee. "There's an objective, impartial government agency that substantiated the allegations against him ... and now he's going to be the chief of staff to a high-visibility committee [that is] going to have whistleblowers providing testimony before the committee," he said. "This makes absolutely no sense. It taints the entire process."
The Democratic leadership's decision to appoint Buckley despite DHS's conclusions has cast doubt on the legitimacy of the select committee while enraging members of the intelligence community who are familiar with Buckley's tenure, according to Yahoo News.
Dan Meyer, the leader of the whistleblowing program at the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General, wrote in an email that "reprising [creates] a corrupting management culture," a pattern of behavior that "will give congressional sources pause."
"The IC whistleblowing program, from 2013 to 2018, received a number of allegations, some substantiated, that inspectors general themselves were engaging in retaliation against their own intelligence officers charged by President Obama and Director [James] Clapper with, ironically, protecting whistleblowers. It was an unanticipated challenge, and one that ultimately ended the program."
Jason Foster, the former chief investigative counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote, "no whistleblower is likely to trust someone with a record of opening a retaliatory investigation."
"The chaos and partisanship infecting the process undermines the committee's credibility, which has developed into a full-blown dumpster fire at this point," he added.
"How can whistleblowers safely step forward to the Select Committee when a federal watchdog found its staff director reprised against a whistleblower?" asked Irvin McCullough, deputy director of legislation at the whistleblower protection nonprofit the Government Accountability Project.
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