The attempt to discover the identity of the whistleblower who alleges President Donald Trump withheld military aid in exchange for a personal favor from Ukrainian officials undermines a critical element of our democracy.
By law, federal employees who anonymously report what they suspect are misdeeds by their superiors are afforded the protection of anonymity and from retribution. Examples of such reports include suspicion of abuse of authority or illegal or unethical activity such as fraud or wasteful spending.
The protections are widely used, though usually on a much smaller scale. For 2017 and 2018, more than 3,300 reports were made.