House Democrats are considering “rare precautions” to protect the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower out of fear that Republican lawmakers will leak that individual’s identity, the Washington Post reported on Monday afternoon. The precautions? Having the whistleblower testify “at a remote location and possibly obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice.”
Such a move doesn’t really come as a surprise when you consider President Donald Trump’s comments about meeting and/or “finding out” about the whistleblower and the whistleblower’s sources. These remarks, and the New York Times‘ controversial reporting about the whistleblower, prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to say that “This person […] ought to be heard out and protected.”
Andrew Bakaj, one of the attorneys representing the whistleblower, noted that in recent days right-wing operatives have offered lucrative bounties in exchange for information about his client’s identity.
Democrats are reportedly concerned that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee “could learn and then leak the identity of the whistleblower, who has agreed to answer questions before the intelligence committees in both the House and Senate,” per the Washington Post.
Republican members on that Committee include: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas).
What would the “rare precaution” of remote testimony involve? Technology obscuring the whistleblower’s face and altering their voice, per WaPo:
Aides have considered having the whistleblower testify from a separate location via a video hookup in which the camera would obscure the whistleblower’s image and alter his voice, possibly with modification technology. They also are talking about having the whistleblower sit behind a screen or partition. A third option being floated includes audio-only testimony.
[Image via Tom Brenner/Getty Images]