The ousted inspector general of the intelligence community says he is “disappointed and saddened” that President Trump fired him, but he also encouraged other inspectors general to continue to speak out when they are aware of wrongdoing, the AP reports. Trump notified Congress late Friday that he intended to fire Michael Atkinson, a pivotal figure in his impeachment last year, because he had lost confidence in him. On Saturday, Trump made it clear that the move had been retaliatory, telling reporters that Atkinson was a “disgrace” and had done “a terrible job” because he had provided an anonymous whistleblower complaint to Congress—a move that was required by law. Atkinson said in the statement, sent to reporters late Sunday, that “it is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general, and from my commitment to continue to do so.”
Atkinson said in the email that he was legally obligated to “ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matters involving classified information to the congressional intelligence committees,” and that such whistleblowers were protected against reprisal. Trump repeatedly called for the whistleblower's name to be revealed. Atkinson also directed his message to other inspectors general, saying that he knows they will “continue to do everything in their power” to continue to protect whistleblowers. “Please do not allow recent events to silence your voices,” Atkinson wrote. Atkinson's statement was sent to reporters by email on Sunday evening and was copied to Alan Boehm, the executive director of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. Boehm confirmed the authenticity of the letter in a follow-up email exchange with the AP.
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