One’s A Hero, the Other’s a Villain: Compare the Media’s Treatment of Trump Impeachment ‘Whistleblower’ vs. Pentagon Papers ‘Leaker’

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman was the driving force behind Trump’s impeachment. Vindman is reported to have colluded with the “whistleblower” who leaked the contents of the former president’s call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump was pressing for more information about former Vice President Joe Biden’s threats against prosecutors investigating oil company Burisma, which had inexplicably hired his son Hunter Biden as a highly paid consultant despite no sign of qualifying experience. Donald Trump would later claim he had a “perfect call” with Zelensky, as he argued the declassified phone transcript showed.

The U.S. media had no problem championing Vindman as a “war hero” and “patriot” for coordinating with the “whistleblower” to divulge the classified information, despite it compromising national security and being of dubious value in supporting a narrative that President Trump had inquired about the Bidens entirely on the basis that it was a “political attack.”

President Trump had a compelling justification for asking Zelensky for verifiable evidence of Biden family corruption: It was his duty as president to know in order to safeguard national security.

Yet the media lined up to support the partisan narrative that Donald Trump as seeking unsubstantiated “dirt” on the Biden family, which was implied as having done no wrong.

Contrast this lionization of the actual Trump impeachment ‘whistleblower’ with the treatment of the alleged Pentagon document leaker Jack Teixeira. The 21-year-old junior enlisted airman with the Massachusetts Air National Guard reportedly had top secret security clearance that allowed him to access the most sensitive Pentagon secrets regarding the Ukraine war effort.

On Friday, the Pentagon Papers leaker was arrested in his Massachusetts home and perp-walked in front of the watching public.

BREAKING: Sky 5 was overhead as federal agents swarmed a Mass. home and detained a man amid the probe into leaked classified documents about the Ukraine war. https://t.co/5FCrFgz3QZ pic.twitter.com/cwdp4yWJLK

— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) April 13, 2023

The New York Times had actually beaten the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the government agency’s own game of identifying threats to national security.

“Federal investigators on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old air national guardsman who they believe is linked to a trove of leaked classified U.S. intelligence documents, which have upended relations with American allies and exposed weaknesses in the Ukrainian military,” the Times reported.

“The man, whom The New York Times was first to identify as Jack Teixeira, is a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and is tied to an online group where the leaked documents first appeared,” the report added.

The Times report also credited the Washington Post’s reporting as having assisted in the identification and tracking down of the leaker.

“The Washington Post initially reported Wednesday night that according to members of the small invitation-only Discord chat community where the leaked intel first appeared, the person who posted them was a ‘charismatic gun enthusiast’ in his early 20s who created the group and apparently worked on a U.S. military base,” the Times noted. “By the time he was identified as Teixeira by the New York Times, federal agents were already closing in.”

The Post, ironically, characterized Teixeira as having a “dark view” of the U.S. government.

OG had a dark view of the government. The young member said he spoke of the United States, and particularly law enforcement and the intelligence community, as a sinister force that sought to suppress its citizens and keep them in the dark. He ranted about “government overreach.” OG told his online companions that the government hid horrible truths from the public.

The Intelligencer reported on the substance of the documents that were leaked onto the social media platform Discord.

The Post, in its report on the source of the leaks, said it “reviewed approximately 300 photos of classified documents” as well as text posts that apparently transcribe other intelligence reports. Much of the media coverage has focused on a collection of about 100 documents from the leak. From the Post’s reporting, it appears much more material than that was originally leaked, though most of the documents don’t appear to have been made public.

The surfaced files are photographs of briefing documents and slides, mostly prepared in February and March, based on intel collected by the NSA, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, DEA, and National Reconnaissance Office (which manages U.S. spy satellites). Markings on the documents indicate that some were cleared for sharing with allies, while others were designated for U.S. eyes only — which was a major clue they came from a American source.

As the report notes, “many of the documents appear to have been prepared for Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” although “anyone with a high enough security clearance would have had access to them.”

That is quite the coincidence, given that General Milley will be stepping down from his post as the highest-ranking military officer in the United States by the end of the year.

Former chief of staff at the Pentagon and former deputy director of National Intelligence Kash Patel recently expressed to Breitbart News is how improbable it is that Teixeira acted alone.

“It’s just not possible,” he said. “You can be the biggest IT person in DOD, and you are still compartmented off of the actual information. Almost never does an IT person need to know, as we say, the substance of the intelligence. Their job is to provide the secure information systems around it to protect any disclosures,” he continued.

“This is crazy sensitive stuff,” he added. “Ninety-nine percent of people who have a Top Secret/SCI clearance don’t have access to this information. And me, as the former deputy DNI and chief of staff of the DOD and publisher of the [Presidential Daily Brief], with the highest security classification, knows that, literally, there is not a lot of people in the U.S. that have access to this kind of intel. It’s done for a reason. So this doesn’t happen.”

Patel said while the Joint Chief of Staff’s daily brief produced by its Directorate of Intelligence (J2) goes out to “thousands of people,” there is “underlying contributing information that is compartmented and goes to fewer people.”

“The underlying intel — that’s very sensitive because it exposes how we got it, who we got it from, when we got it, and whether we can get it again, how is that delivered,” he said.

The explanation of Teixeira’s top secret document access at such a young age was reported by the Boston Herald.

“As a ‘cyber defense operations journeyman,’ Teixeira has held a top secret security clearance since 2021,” the report noted. “For this, he had to a sign a lifetime binding non-disclosure agreement, acknowledging that disseminating protected information could result in criminal charges.

“He took advantage of his position, copying that highly classified information and then subsequently photographing it and posting it online,” retired naval Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, the former commander of the USS Cole when the ship was attacked by terrorists, told the Herald on Friday.

“He violated that trust, and he should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, as should his superiors,” said Lippold, who added, “This was a failure by leadership. There was inadequate oversight, and there was a lack of accountability throughout the chain of command for this to happen.”

No such call for reprimand of Lt. Colonel Vindman for his partisan attacks on Donald Trump, whom he has referred to as a “moron,” has similarly been forthcoming from the mainstream press. Indeed, the U.S. media has rushed to Vindman’s defense (as well as that of his twin brother, Eugene) to shield him and his associate “whistleblower” from retaliation.

After Trump fired him at the National Security Council, Alexander Vindman retired from the Army. Stripes reported on Vindman’s retirement, citing his lawyer, David Pressman.

“[Lt. Col.] Vindman did what the law compelled him to do, and for that he was bullied by the president and his proxies,” Pressman wrote. “And yet, [Lt. Col.] Vindman would not be intimidated and will not be corrupted. He did what he has always done: put the interests of his country ahead of his own.”

Vindman, however, has proven in the aftermath of his  to be far from a disinterested public servant merely doing his “duty” to reveal classified information that is of national importance. He coordinated with anti-Trump partisans in a political operation to sabotage the Trump presidency.

The impeachment had the desirable effect of chilling oversight of the Biden family’s demonstrable corruption in Ukraine. An ex-Obama staffer has recently come forward to reveal that President Biden and his son were involved in a “kickback scheme” in connection with his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings while he was vice president.

Mike McCormick, a stenographer for the White House for 15 years, told “Fox & Friends First” that the FBI has been ignoring his willingness to testify under oath before the federal grand jury about the alleged “kickback scheme.”

“In February, I went to the FBI and filed one of their tips on their website. If you do that, and you’re lying to them, you go to jail. I’m not lying. I’m telling the truth, and I’m not going to jail,” McCormick said Thursday. “Joe Biden is a criminal. He was conducting malfeasance in office to enrich his family. Jake Sullivan is a conspirator in that, and there’s more… Obama officials involved in it, I believe.”

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s current national security adviser, and outlined in a White House transcript Biden’s priorities for his trip to the country. This included U.S. investment in the Ukrainian energy sector days after Hunter joined the Burisma board, according to the New York Post.

Vindman, in his own right, is far from an impartial observer when it comes to U.S. involvement in Ukraine. After his military retirement, Vindman has been at the forefront of raising money to send Western mechanics close to the Ukrainian frontlines, where they will “repair battle-damaged donated weapons and vehicles that have been flooding into the country.”

“Vindman’s group has secured enough private funding to launch a pilot project in March, and has some backing from at least one company, which declined to be named but confirmed to Politico their interest in getting parts and material to Ukraine for more rapid repairs,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh is reporting that there is rampant corruption in Ukraine, including an alleged “embezzlement” scheme involving Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky himself.

Hersh’s report accuses the Ukrainian government of using U.S. taxpayer money to purchase diesel from Russia to fuel its military. He further suggested that Ukrainian officials are “competing” to set up front companies for export contracts to private arms dealers around the world.

The investigative journalist lays out the scheme that is reportedly being used to profit Zelensky and Ukrainian officials: Embezzlement of U.S. aid for energy funds.

“What also is unknown is that Zelensky has been buying the fuel from Russia, the country with which it, and Washington, are at war, and the Ukrainian president and many in his entourage have been skimming untold millions from the American dollars earmarked for diesel fuel payments,” Hersh reported. “One estimate by analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency put the embezzled funds at $400 million last year, at least; another expert compared the level of corruption in Kiev as approaching that of the Afghan war, ‘although there will be no professional audit reports emerging from the Ukraine’.”

“Zelensky’s been buying discount diesel from the Russians,” one knowledgeable American intelligence official told Hersh. “And who’s paying for the gas and oil? We are. Putin and his oligarchs are making millions” on it.

While much of Hersh’s report is difficult to independently corroborate, Zelensky’s presidency has been undertaking heightened anti-corruption measures since at least January.

“Most recently, the effort swept up Ihor Kolomoisky, a former owner of the largest Ukrainian bank, PrivatBank, and a powerful oligarch,” Time noted. “As Reuters reported, Ukrainian security services (SBU), conducted a search at Kolomoisky’s home in connection to an embezzlement investigation of Ukraine’s largest oil company and refiner, Ukrnafta and Ukrtatnafta, of which Kolomoisky owned a major stake in before the companies were seized by the Ukrainian government in November.”

The anti-corruption effort came in response to “various reports of embezzlement,” the report noted, including “accusations of stolen money intended for troops.”

While former President Donald Trump’s concerns about Biden family corruption in Ukraine have proven to be valid, there is now a media push to paint the Pentagon Papers leaker as a Russian sympathizer. It is the same “Russia collusion” playbook that has been run against U.S. government whistleblowers and corruption opponents since Donald Trump first came onto the national political scene.

“U.S. Airman Jack Teixeira showed off his father’s vintage Soviet pistol to the buddy who ratted him out to the FBI for leaking top secret U.S. intelligence and military documents on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, newly filed court records show,” the Daily Mail headlined.

“A 20-page application for a search warrant on the homes of his divorced parents, his cell phone and his red 2016 Chevrolet Colorado submitted to the court by FBI Agent Victoria Horne provides another peak into how the federal government plan to make their case against the U.S. Air Force guardsman,” the report added.

So, the FBI’s narrative is already taking shape: Teixeira was a potential “traitor” to the country for exposing top secret documents about the Ukraine War.

Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman was a “patriot” for exposing Donald Trump’s attempt as president to investigate Biden family corruption.

Tell me a nation’s heroes and villains, and I will tell you its future. Judging by the media’s treatment of the Trump impeachment “whistleblower” and the Pentagon Papers “leaker,” the future is a nation where patriotism is determined solely as unquestioning loyalty to the state’s narrative, rather than to the U.S. Constitution.

Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.

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