Sep 26, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Whistleblower complaint: White House pattern of hiding "politically sensitive" transcripts

The whistleblower complaint regarding the Trump administration's interactions with Ukraine alleges that the White House attempted to "lock down" the memo summarizing President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a sensitive computer system designed to hold national security information.

Why it matters: A footnote in the complaint states that the computer system is used for "codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action," and claims that White House officials stated that it was not the first time that the Trump administration had used the system "for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information."

  • The complaint states that a White House official called this action "an act of abuse" because the call "did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective" — backed up by the fact that the released memo did not include any notable redactions.
  • It also notes that the memo was removed from the system "in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization and distribution to Cabinet-level officials."

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