[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 43 (Monday, March 12, 2018)]
[Page S1642]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  I, Senator Charles E. Grassley, intend to object to proceeding to the 
nomination of Jason Klitenic, of Maryland, to be General Counsel of the 
Office of the Director of National Intelligence, dated March 12, 2018.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I intend to object to any unanimous 
consent request at the present time relating to the nomination of Jason 
Klitenic, of Maryland, to be General Counsel of the Office of the 
Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), until the ODNI and the Office 
of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IC IG) provide 
fulsome responses to questions posed and documents requested concerning 
the Acting IC IG's efforts to terminate the Executive Director for 
Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection and to 
hamstring the whistleblower protection program in the intelligence 
  To be clear, I have no concerns regarding Mr. Klitenic's capabilities 
or qualifications, and ultimately no intent of withholding my support 
for him as soon as this matter is resolved.
  On November 29, 2017, I sent a letter to ODNI Director Daniel Coats 
and to Acting IC IG Wayne Stone noting disturbing allegations my office 
received that the IC IG was moving to terminate the Executive Director 
as part of an effort to significantly weaken the IC IG's role in 
ensuring consistent and effective whistleblower protections throughout 
the intelligence community. I requested that the offices seek to 
preserve all information contained in the Executive Director's office, 
much of which concerned highly sensitive protected disclosures made by 
individuals within the intelligence community, as well as allegations 
of wrongdoing against senior officials within the IC IG. I also sought 
all documents related to the IC IG's efforts to place the Executive 
Director on administrative leave and pursue personnel action against 
him. At that time, I informed the Chairman of the Senate Select 
Committee on Intelligence that I would object to any unanimous consent 
request to confirm Mr. Klitenic until I received an answer to my 
letter. To date, I have received no response.
  Since that time, the IC IG has indeed moved to terminate the 
Executive Director, and I have continued to receive reports that this 
process has been marked by significant irregularities, conflicts of 
interest, and ongoing efforts to ``stack the decks'' in hiring prior to 
the arrival of a new permanent, Senate-confirmed head of that office, 
who rightfully should have the authority to make such decisions. 
Moreover I have reason to believe these latest efforts may be a direct 
response to displeasure within the IC IG with Congress's exercise of 
its constitutional responsibility to provide fully informed advice and 
consent with respect to the President's nomination of a permanent IG. 
If true, such behavior is totally unacceptable. It is an affront not 
only to this institution but to the President's prerogative to choose 
nominees, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to lead the 
agencies under his authority. On the contrary, I would note that there 
is no independent authority anywhere in the Constitution granted to 
freewheeling bureaucrats.
  Based on these ongoing concerns, Senator Ron Wyden joined me in 
sending a letter on March 6, 2018 to Director Coats following up on my 
original letter and seeking a stay of any personnel action against the 
Executive Director until Congress has an opportunity to review this 
action and fully understand exactly how the IC IG is, or is not, 
appropriately administering the IC whistleblowing program. Until we 
have answers, I will object to Mr. Klitenic's confirmation.