PORTLAND, Ore. — When Portland talk show host Lars Larson spoke the name of the man he believes is the Trump whistleblower Thursday during a live interview on the Fox network, he was not the first to point to the man.
Last Sunday, President Trump encouraged the media and supporters to reveal the name.
Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul tweeted a link to a right wing news story with a name.
Wednesday, Trump's son tweeted a link to a different story with the same name.
Larson said he did nothing wrong. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden disagrees.
“What I’m working on, both as a member of the Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Whistleblower Caucus, is strengthening our whistleblower laws not looking at ways to roll them back,” said Wyden.
When asked if he thought it illegal for broadcasters to say the whistleblower’s name Wyden seemed to think it was.
“There are a host of protections for whistleblowers and I’m sure they're going to be some who are going to try to parse what those laws are about. I think they're crystal clear," said Wyden. "And that is protecting whistle blowers is embedded in our laws."
Protections? Yes. But secrecy for the whistleblower name? No.
Tung Yin teaches law at Lewis and Clark College. When asked if its illegal to say the whistleblower’s name he said, “Probably not.”
Yin said the whistleblower law does protect the person, but the protection is from retaliation at work, from an angry boss or someone else in authority.
“….meaning [you] can’t demote them, cant fire them, dock them pay, can’t re-assign them to grunt work or whatever. So naming somebody doesn’t seem to fit within any of those categories,” Yin said.
The actual whistleblower law only says the Inspector General who would get the first complaint should keep the name confidential.
And once it gets out, the name is pretty much fair game under the law.