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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The New York Times defended its decision to publish a story identifying the whistleblower as a male CIA officer, as executive editor Dean Baquet said it reported "limited information" about his identity so readers could "make their own judgments about whether or not he is credible."

The big picture: Federal whistleblowers are protected by law. Readers and some in the national intelligence community expressed concern that revealing too much detail in media reports could put the officer's life and reputation in danger and deter future whistleblowers.

What we know: AP confirmed the NYT report. The timeline of the officer's complaint raises questions regarding how the White House and the Justice Department handled it, per AP.

  • The CIA officer initially filed the complaint to the CIA, which notified the White House and Justice Department. On Aug. 12, the whistleblower was granted more legal protections after he flagged the intelligence community's inspector general.
  • The administration initially blocked Congress from viewing the whistleblower's complaint — as is usually required under federal whistleblower statutes when a complaint is marked as of "urgent concern" — citing a Justice Department decision.
  • A redacted version of the complaint and the White House's memo of President Trump's conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were eventually made public this week.

What they're saying:

  • Baquet: "We decided to publish limited information about the whistleblower — including the fact that he works for a nonpolitical agency and that his complaint is based on an intimate knowledge and understanding of the White House — because we wanted to provide information to readers that allows them to make their own judgments about whether or not he is credible."
  • AP: "The Associated Press is publishing information about the whistleblower's background because the person's credibility is central to the impeachment inquiry into the president."

Go deeper: 300+ former national security officials condemn Trump-Ukraine actions

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
38 mins ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.