CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd erupted over reports of an intelligence official informing the inspector general about a phone call by President Donald Trump, saying Wednesday it wasn't that official's duty to spy on the president.
Mudd, a fierce critic of the Trump White House and former CIA operative, was infuriated by the would-be whistleblower's conduct in an appearance on Cuomo Prime Time.
Recent Stories in Politics
"Boy, I'm about ready to blow a gasket. … That is extremely unusual," Mudd said. "Can you explain to me, A, why it's the U.S. intelligence community's responsibility to listen to the president of the United States speaking to a foreign leader and, B, why the U.S. intelligence community—under the rules provided by the Democrats in Congress—are responsible to report to the Congress what the president of the United States says."
Mudd said his duty as an intelligence official was to monitor Russians, Iranians, terrorists, and other enemies.
Mudd was responding to a Washington Post report revealing that an official in the intelligence community was so troubled by a call between Trump and a foreign leader involving an unknown "promise" that he informed the intelligence community's inspector general. The IG felt the matter was of "urgent concern," a legal threshold that required notifying congressional oversight committees.
"We're not responsible for reporting to the Congress what the president says. He can say what he wants, Chris," Mudd said.
"So you don't like that somebody snitched on the president," Cuomo said.
"Correct," Mudd said.
Mudd said whistleblowing in the intelligence community is appropriate for addressing problems like misuse of funds or unethical actions at CIA black sites.
Cuomo pushed back, asking, "What if he did say something to a foreign leader that sounded like a promise that went over the line enough that somebody of good conscience said, ‘He's not supposed to say things like this?'"
"Pardon me, what the heck is over the line?" Mudd asked. "The president can say what he wants to [Vladimir] Putin, he can say what he wants to Kim Jong-un! … It's not the responsibility of the intel guys to go police the president and go snitch on him to the Congress. Ridiculous."
Asked by Cuomo what the whistleblower should have done, Mudd snapped, "Quit."
"Quit and you can talk to the media if you want," he said. "You can write a book if you want. If you don't like what the president does … You don't go say, ‘well I have a secret avenue to the Congress.'"
Inspector General Michael Atkinson will testify Thursday in a closed-door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) wants U.S. intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the whistleblower complaint to Congress, the Post reported.