In August, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Commmunity (ICIG) sent the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire a whistleblower complaint concerning President Trump’s phone call with the President of Ukraine. Now the DNI is required by law to transmit to Congress any whistleblower complaints that are matter of urgent concern, and the ICIG informed Maguire that this was indeed a matter of urgent concern. But instead of just transmitting the complaint, Maguire consulted Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), and the OLC issued a legal opinion stating that the whistleblower complaint did not meet the legal definition of “urgent concern”, and thus Maguire was not required to transmit the complaint to Congress.

Maguire ultimately did transmit the complaint to Congress after receiving a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee. But it appears that the issue did not end there. Last month, the ICIG wrote a letter to Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel, head of the OLC, criticizing the OLC opinion and urging him to reconsider it. And then last week, a group of Inspectors General from across the federal government sent a letter to Engel concurring with the ICIG’s criticisms. But what struck me is the opening line of the letter:

Thank you for your interest in the views of the Inspector General community on the concerns raised by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) in response to the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) September 3, 2019 Memorandum for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

It sounds like Engel asked this group of Inspectors General for their opinion on the OLC Memo. So my question is, is the OLC reconsidering its opinion? Has the Justice Department made any statements about this?

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    Confused by your question. Are you saying that the OLC (Engel) did ask the IG community for feedback and you want to know why OLC (Engel) did that ? Without the benefit of the communication from Engle to the IG community, the inference that might be drawn from that "thank you..." could range from a formal letter from Engle actually requesting IGs feedback, to a sarcastic "thanks for the FO letter" . – BobE Oct 31 '19 at 3:40
  • @BobE I rephrased my question title. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 31 '19 at 4:56

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