The Ukraine-Biden-Trump news has embroiled Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump, Ukraine, and the Biden family and has dominated the news cycle the entire week. News outlets and cable news networks compete for attention and viewership, often publishing scoops before their competitor has a chance to.
The New York Times appeared to prioritize publishing scoops over protecting a source’s identity, as their recent article suggested. The article in question published personal details about the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine-Biden-Trump news, such as his employer (the Central Intelligence Agency, known by the acronym CIA), and his professional (“a trained analyst”).
The whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in a 2020 election” and was published with some redactions by the House Intelligence Committee. The complaint stemmed from a July phone call that the president had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the phone call, which was publicly published unredacted by the White House, mentioned the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine and the potential of a Ukrainian government investigation into the Biden family.
Former president Joe Biden is considered a frontrunner candidate for the Democratic Party to defeat Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
NBC News published an article critical of the New York Times and noted that multiple former intelligence officials in the Obama administration disagreed with the Times’s reporting of the details. For example, the former deputy chief of staff to John Brennan, the former CIA director under Obama, said it was “absolutely horrifying” to publish details like the Times did.
The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, said that the details were published to give readers a better sense of the whistleblower’s credibility.
It is concerning because these personal details could expose the whistleblower to professional blowback and repercussions, such as being blacklisted from the intelligence community, losing his or her job, have his or her name released to the public, and other potential consequences. Also, the whistleblower could not only lose the right to privacy, but also gain notoriety in the intelligence community and all the negative publicity that comes with it.