UNDER THE BRIDGE AT MIDNIGHT — There you are. Glad you de-coded my email (“Purple ducks came on Wednesday.”) because I need your help. But first, did anyone follow you? Took the red-eye to LaLa Land, Greyhound to El Paso, crossed the border, parachuted back to the U.S. into the swimming pool behind the Waco YMCA and walked the last 184 miles? Good. OK, here’s the inside skinny. Our mission comes from none other than the First Ego: find the whistle-blower. Everyone is guessing, some may be right, only one or two – and the snitch himself – know the truth. We’ve got to find him and, in the euphemistic words of the CIA, terminate with extreme prejudice.
To bring you up to speed, I have already checked with my source in the Agriculture Department, Deep Wheat. He said he was too busy putting down mass farmers’ munities because they can’t sell their crops to the Chinese. Besides, mid-America loves President Trump and would never betray him. I went to the Pentagon to check with my mole, Gen. Hans Grenade. We had to move to a place where no one would overhear our conversation: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and His Wife. The general said his colleagues at OP-CIT, MAX-TOT and WAL-MART were well into Operation Hair Scare, what to do and when. That’s all they would tell him, but he did notice the 1st Marine Division was rehearsing around a cardboard structure marked “2600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” My next stop was at the FBI headquarters. It was empty — everyone was fired or had quit. I tried the EPA, but the staff was putting up “Coal is Our Goal” and “Smokey Loves Smoke” signs. Over at the Treasury Department, the IRS can keep secrets. Those agents know how much you lied about your taxes, and some of them know all about Trump’s taxes, but try finding out anything from them.
At this point you may be wondering just why we have a whistle-blower law. It goes back to the Revolutionary War. In the winter of 1777, the American warship Warren was anchored outside of Providence, R.I. On board, 10 revolutionary sailors and Marines met in secret to discuss their concerns about the commander of the Continental Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins. They knew the risks: Hopkins came from a powerful family; his brother was a former governor of Rhode Island and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkins had participated in the torture of captured British sailors; he “treated prisoners in the most inhuman and barbarous manner,” his subordinates wrote in a petition.
Hopkins was fired, everyone sued everyone, but, without any recorded dissent, Congress enacted America’s first whistle-blower protection law. Fast forward: A 1989 law was supposed to protect federal employees who expose fraud and misconduct from retaliation. But over the years, these protections were ignored. The 1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act strengthened protection, as did the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. It provides protection to all government employees except national security employees.
We have seen various leaks, and can credit whistle-blowers. The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg leaked the papers to expose the mishandling of the war in Vietnam. Bradley E. Manning, an Army private, served time in prison for having passed classified data to WikiLeaks. Remember Edward Snowden? He was a National Security Agency subcontractor who leaked top-secret information about NSA surveillance activities – among other secrets, that NSA was spying on American citizens, which is against the law. Still, the U.S. charged Snowden with violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. He was the seventh person the Obama administration charged with violating the act. Were these people leakers, traitors or patriotic whistle-blowers?
Back to my pursuit. Fox News knows a lot about conspiracies, alternative facts and paranoia, so I asked if they could help me find my man. “We blame Obama and Hillary,” a spokesman wrote via tweeter. “Ask her about Benghazi. It’s all part of the Deep State conspiracy.” Of course! Deep State, that mysterious ring of Obama leftovers still in the government, trying to topple Trump. But Deep State is so deep, so devious, I couldn’t find anyone connected with that treasonous underground. I met with my ace source in the CIA, Clark N. Dagger. “Follow the leader.” I replied, “You mean the First Ego?” Dagger nodded. “He knows, but he likes the chase, and will triumphantly announce her identity, posthumously.” That was no help.
Then I heard a radio interview with East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. He said that he knows, by name, the identity of the whistle-blower. Remember that Gohmert was one of those GOP representatives who raided a House hearing on impeachment. Once inside the committee room, he got on a secure phone line and complained to his staff that he couldn’t use his cellphone inside one of the most secure rooms in the country that, everyone knows, blacks out all outside communications – well, almost everyone knows. I decided not to bother with Gohmert. I got a hot tip from the Houston Rockets that the fink was the Chinese government. Probably not. The NFL announced that the whistle-blower was right there in plain sight: “Our officials blow their whistles constantly.” My search was becoming frustrating. I tried The New York Times. “All we can say is that the source works for the CIA and was assigned to the White House, that he may be a she, but was wearing a beard, dark glasses and was constantly taking notes, drives a white Chevy with an unlisted license plate and a bumper sticker, ‘I brake for phone calls from Ukraine.’ But we never divulge our sources.” The Washington Post said Deep Throat had retired. I thought about asking Fake News, but knew I couldn’t believe them.
OK, you have your marching orders. I’m not here and neither are you. This meeting never happened. Now cover your tracks. Start walking backwards to Waco.
Ashby whistles at email@example.com