Whistleblower's Attorney Threatens Legal Action Against Journalists For Outing Their Client

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Posted: Nov 03, 2019 5:57 PM
Whistleblower's Attorney Threatens Legal Action Against Journalists For Outing Their Client

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucc

The Ukrainian whistleblower's legal team has repeatedly maintained the notion that their client's anonymity is important and is protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

According to the legal team's statement released on Thursday, the government isn't the only party responsible for protecting the whistleblower's identity. The media has a responsibility as well. Should a journalist or media outlet publish the whistleblower's name, they could face legal recourse: 

Accordingly, we neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower. Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.

Although the attorneys, Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid, haven't explicitly said they would file lawsuits, they haven't ruled it out either.

“I am not going to be limiting any future options that may exist,” Bakaj told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 

Zaid recognized that there's no law on the books that prevents media outlets from publishing the whistleblowers alleged identity, but said that comes down to “ethics and professionalism.”

The Daily Caller pressed Bakaj on how reporters could be held liable for publishing the whistleblower's identity, but the attorney didn't provide any further context other than "he is not limiting future legal options."

A report has circulated alleging that 33-year-old Eric Ciaramella is the whistleblower. 

Republicans have repeatedly called for the release of the whistleblower's identity because of his personal political bias against President Donald Trump. We know the whistleblower is a registered Democrat and worked with former Vice President Joe Biden.