The Washington, D.C. Swamp Watch continues to identify heretofore unknown Swamp Rats oozing out of the murky depths of slimy bureaucracies in Foggy Bottom.
The latest comes from the shadowy workings of CIA and he just happened to be posted to the White House when Donald Trump took over as President. Problem?...he had a passionate bias against Trump. For the rest of the story, the following is an article, in part, by Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations October 30, 2019.
For a town that leaks like a sieve, Washington has done an astonishingly effective job keeping from the American public the name of the anonymous “whistleblower" who triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump — even though his identity is an open secret inside the Beltway.
More than two months after the official filed his complaint, pretty much all that’s known publicly about him is that he is a CIA analyst who at one point was detailed to the White House and is now back working at the CIA.
But the name of a government official fitting that description — Eric Ciaramella — has been raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry. Fearing their anonymous witness could be exposed, Democrats this week blocked Republicans from asking more questions about him and intend to redact his name from all deposition transcripts.
Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
“He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,” said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
Also, Ciaramella huddled for “guidance” with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.
And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. “He knows her. He had her in the White House,” said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
Documents confirm the DNC opposition researcher attended at least one White House meeting with Ciaramella in November 2015. She visited the White House with a number of Ukrainian officials lobbying the Obama administration for aid for Ukraine.
With Ciaramella’s name long under wraps, interest in the intelligence analyst is so high that a handful of former colleagues have compiled a roughly 40-page research dossier on him. A classified version of the document is circulating on Capitol Hill, and briefings have been conducted based on it. One briefed Republican has been planning to unmask the whistleblower in a speech on the House floor.
“Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White House knows. Even the president knows who he is,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and national security adviser to Trump, who has fielded dozens of calls from the media.
Yet a rare hush has swept across the Potomac. The usually gossipy nation’s capital remains uncharacteristically — and curiously — mum.
“They’re hiding him,” Fleitz asserted. “They’re hiding him because of his political bias."
A CIA officer specializing in Russia and Ukraine, Ciaramella was detailed over to the National Security Council from the agency in the summer of 2015, working under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked closely with the former vice president Joe Biden.
Federal records show that Biden’s office invited Ciaramella to an October 2016 state luncheon the vice president hosted for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Other invited guests included Brennan, as well as then-FBI Director James Comey and then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
Several U.S. officials told RealClearInvestigations that the invitation that was extended to Ciaramella, a relatively low-level GS-13 federal employee, was unusual and signaled he was politically connected inside the Obama White House.
Former White House officials said Ciaramella worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016, when the vice president was President Obama's "point man" for Ukraine. A Yale graduate, Ciaramella is said to speak Russian and Ukrainian, as well as Arabic. He had been assigned to the NSC by John Brennan.
He was held over into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the NSC, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017.
“He was moved over to the front office” to temporarily fill a vacancy, said a former White House official, where he “saw everything, read everything.”
The official added that it soon became clear among NSC staff that Ciaramella opposed the new Republican president’s foreign policies.
The Whistleblower, prior to filing, had met with Schiff’s Democratic staff for “guidance." At first, the California lawmaker denied the contacts, but later admitted that his office did, in fact, meet with the whistleblower early on.
Republicans participating in the restricted inquiry hearings have been asking witnesses about Ciaramella and repeatedly injecting his name into the deposition record, angering Schiff and Democrats, who sources say are planning to scrub the references to Ciaramella from any transcripts of the hearings they may agree to release.
“Their reaction tells you something,” said one official familiar with the inquiry.
Determined to keep the whistleblower's identity secret, Schiff recently announced it may not be necessary for him to testify even in closed session.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, asserted the American people have the right to know the person who is trying to bring down the president for whom 63 million voted.
Added Jordan: “The people want to know. I want to get to the truth."
Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert: Ciaramella was “supposed to be a point person on Ukraine, during the time when Ukraine was its most corrupt, and he didn’t blow any whistles on their corruption."