Report: Fox News Management Forbids Hosts from Using Alleged Name of Ukraine ‘Whistleblower’
Fox News Channel management have ordered network hosts to refrain from using the alleged name of the so-called “whistleblower” — reported to be Eric Ciaramella — who sparked the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, according to a report. CNN Business states that while some Fox News personalities want to use the name reportedly linked to the “whistleblower” complaint, bosses have warned against the move. On October 31, an unnamed executive emailed staff that the network had not “independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower” and advised to “NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests” in connection to the so-called “whistleblower’s” identity, according to the report.
The demand from Fox News management to staff includes some of the network’s most-high profile personalities, including Sean Hannity. Jeanine Pirro, host of Justice with Judge Jeanine, suggested on Friday that hosts were to follow the guidelines, telling viewers that she and other employees “apparently can’t say Ciaramella’s name.” On Monday, Hannity said he “confirmed independently” the so-called “whistleblower’s” name, though he opted against revealing this name.
“You know what, I will play the game for a little bit,” he told viewers. “I will take the lawyers’ threats that they’re going to sue me; it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
CNN’s report came as reporters expressed fury over Donald Trump Jr. tweeting a Breitbart News article containing Ciaramella’s name, despite this particular guess at his identity being discussed publicly for several days.
Last week, a RealClearInvestigations report suggested Ciaramella, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, is the so-called “whistleblower.” Even before the RealClearInvestigations report, Ciaramella’s name had been floating around circles of political observers and social media.
The Breitbart News report tweeted by Trump Jr. detailed how Ciaramella has previous ties individuals behind the discredited Steele dossier, which in part was used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil the 2016 Trump campaign:
Eric Ciaramella, whom Real Clear Investigations suggests is the likely so-called whistleblower, was part of an Obama administration email chain celebrating the eventual signing of a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine.
That and other emails show Ciaramella interfaced about Ukraine with individuals who played key roles in facilitating the infamous anti-Trump dossier produced by Fusion GPS and reportedly financed by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. One of those individuals, then-Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland (pictured), received updates on Ukraine issues from dossier author Christopher Steele in addition to Nuland’s direct role in the dossier controversy.
“Because of course he did!!!” the president’s eldest son tweeted of the report, prompting outrage from some in establishment politics and media circles.
Because of course he did!!!— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 6, 2019
Alleged ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella Worked Closely with Anti-Trump Dossier Hoaxer https://t.co/v5kDe0X62u
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted:
Attempts by the president and congressional Republicans to publicly identify the whistleblower are inexcusable and must stop. These efforts are nothing more than an attempt to distract the public from a legitimate investigation of serious allegations made against the president. pic.twitter.com/NdbRhmHQjj— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) November 6, 2019
“Shocking. @DonaldJTrumpJr today tweeted out the name of alleged whistleblower. They just don’t care about the laws, rules, norms. Hoping someday America will return to some sense of normal,” former United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Former U.S. Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub tweeted:
To the thugs tweeting out the name of a purported whistleblower: This may or may not be the whistleblower, but you are endangering the safety of every member of this person’s family. This sort of intimidation tactic is for broken authoritarian countries and the mob. Shame on you!
MSNBC contributor Joyce Alene tweeted:
Publicly naming a whistleblower doesn’t harm just the person who came forward, it’s intimidation to prevent others from doing so. Trump claims Ukraine was about preventing public corruption, but now campaigns to intimidate witnesses who might bring public corruption to light here https://t.co/sHYoOteVsf— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 6, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. hit back at critics in a later tweet, pointing out that as a private citizen he has a right to share any public information he pleases and noted Ciaramella’s name was already public:
The entire media is #Triggered that I (a private citizen) tweeted out a story naming the alleged whistleblower. Are they going to pretend that his name hasn’t been in the public domain for weeks now? Numerous people & news outlets including Real Clear Politics already ID’d him. https://t.co/bcamyTaXP3— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 6, 2019