- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2019

Ahead of this week’s highly anticipated congressional testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer is pressing the Pentagon to do more to protect military whistleblowers and to notify all military and Defense Department workers of their legal right to testify without fear of reprisals.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the New York Democrat said Lt. Col. Vindman and Pentagon employees such as Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper have been vilified after offering testimony into the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

“Some have even gone so far to call Lt. Col. Vindman, a recipient of the Purple Heart after being wounded while serving in Iraq, a spy and question his loyalty to the United States,” Mr. Schumer said in his letter, adding the attacks are likely to accelerate after this week’s public appearance.

Lt. Col. Vindman and other “whistleblowers” are standing up for the Constitution they took an oath to uphold, he said.

“They are patriots for being willing to do what we hope and expect all civilian and military officials to do when asked: tell the truth,” Mr. Schumer wrote. “It is incumbent on you to ensure that they and others who come forward are afforded the same protection as whistleblowers and are protected from retaliation.”

Mr. Esper, along with other senior Trump administration officials, has said he will not comply with requests from the Democratic-led impeachment push, but has also told reporters recently that Lt. Col. Vindman should not face any retaliation for his decision to testify.

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