Republicans are reportedly looking to bring the whistleblower who kicked off the Ukraine investigation in to testify before the committee.

Republicans' witness list is due Saturday morning and one of Trump's top defenders says at the top of the list will be the whistleblower who first sounded the alarm about the president's posture toward Ukraine.

Assuming that they do get summoned and do show up, how would their anonymity be preserved? Is there any precedent to bringing in an anonymous person that we can look to for an example?

  • The name of the whistleblower is widely known, and was at that time already.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 14, 2020 at 1:01
  • @Sjoerd - The name of an alleged whistleblower is known. As far as I'm aware, no one has provided any evidence for him being the whistleblower beyond "he fits the described profile of what we think we know about him."
    – Bobson
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:20
  • That level of proof you require is seldom seen in politics. Most stories are based on "sources say." If you require evidence beyond reasonable doubt, there won't be many stories left. The name of the whistleblower is better confirmed than many stories run by the media.
    – Sjoerd
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:23
  • @Sjoerd - If someone who was in a position to know came forward and made the claim, I'd accept that. But again, I haven't seen any of that. W. Mark Felt was considered a strong possibility, to be Watergate's Deep Throat before anyone actually confirmed it, but there were other potential people who were proposed and specifically denied by someone who could be assumed to know (Woodward). The speculation may very well be right (as it was for Deep Throat), but it's by no means definitive yet.
    – Bobson
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


Assuming that they do get summoned and do show up, how would their anonymity be preserved? Is there any precedent to bringing in an anonymous person that we can look to for an example?

Whistleblower.org has an example from a similar (though probably not as high profile) situation in the US (emphasis mine):

An IRS hearing in September 1997 illustrated the risks facing whistleblowers who try to remain anonymous. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing about IRS enforcement of tax laws. Six witnesses described as top IRS workers were granted anonymity and testified from behind screens, their voices modified electronically, to prevent their identification.

Whistleblower Jennifer Long, a 15-year IRS tax auditor, ran into her supervisor at a Houston airport where she was catching a flight to the hearing. Her cover blown, Long testified publicly at the nationally televised hearing about “egregious tactics used by IRS revenue agents.”

Internationally, I've heard about these kinds of measures as well. For example, the International Criminal Court in the Hague has the following on protecting witnesses in the courtroom on its website:

The Chamber can order certain protective measures that apply while the witness testifies in order to protect the witness's identity and whereabouts. Such measures may consist of face/voice distortion while the witness is giving evidence and/or the use of a pseudonym. Judges can also conduct parts of hearings in private or closed sessions when necessary to protect the witness's identity or the identity of other persons at risk on account of testimony.

  • Accepting this for now, in lieu of an any official statements, since the historical precedent is definitely relevant and probably what would happen this time as well. If someone involved with the impeachment inquiry actually gives a statement as to the steps that they would take/are taking, I'll switch to accepting that.
    – Bobson
    Nov 14, 2019 at 16:59

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