[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 61 (Monday, April 16, 2018)]
[Pages S2138-S2139]

                          NOMINATION OBJECTION

  Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, I am putting a hold on the nomination of 
Mr. Jason Klitenic to be General Counsel of the Office of Director of 
National Intelligence. I intend to maintain the hold until there is a 
satisfactory response to the March 6, 2018, letter Senator Grassley and 
I sent the Director of National Intelligence regarding the Intelligence 
Community Office of Inspector General, OIG, and the termination of its 
Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source 
Protection. To date, we have received no response to the letter, nor 
have we been provided the documents related to the Executive Director's 
termination requested in the letter.
  My hold is not connected to the qualifications of Mr. Klitenic to 
serve in the position to which he has been nominated, and it is my 
intention to release the hold once my concerns related to the OIG are 
  I ask unanimous consent to have the March 6, 2018, letter printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                    March 6, 2018.
     Hon. Daniel Coats,
     Director of National Intelligence,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Director Coats: We write to express deep concern about 
     the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General 
     (OIG) and to urge that you stay actions taken by the OIG 
     pending confirmation of the new Inspector General. We are 
     writing to you because the current acting leadership of the 
     OIG is the subject of our concerns as well as the subject of 
     allegations in connection with the specific personnel matter 
     in question.
       Late last week, the OIG's Executive Director of 
     Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection 
     (the ``Executive Director'') was terminated in a process 
     marked by procedural irregularities and serious conflicts of 
     interest. Further, the termination of the Executive Director 
     came after an extended period during which the acting 
     leadership of the OIG demonstrated a lack of support for the 
     critical whistleblower protection mission of the office.
       The timing of these actions, which occurred during the 
     confirmation process for Mr. Michael Atkinson to be the new 
     Inspector General, is especially troubling. We are concerned 
     that the termination of the Executive Director may constitute 
     an effort to preempt the nominee's authority to make his own 
     decisions upon confirmation. Moreover, during the nominee's 
     hearing, multiple U.S. Senators expressed the expectation 
     that the nominee would, if confirmed, address their concerns 
     regarding the current acting leadership of the OIG and its 
     approach to whistleblowers. We are concerned that any 
     preemptive steps taken by the acting leadership risk 
     undercutting the constitutional authority of the U.S. Senate 
     to provide advice and consent through the confirmation 
       We therefore write with several urgent requests. First, on 
     November 29, 2017, Senator Grassley sent you and the Acting 
     Inspector General letters urging the preservation of all 
     records relating to the Executive Director's then-proposed 
     termination, as well as all the contents of the Executive 
     Director's office.

[[Page S2139]]

     Senator Grassley has not received responses to those letters. 
     We request that you respond and that you ensure that the 
     Acting Inspector General responds as well. We further request 
     that the preservation described in the letters be 
     implemented, and that it be applied as well to all subsequent 
     records related to the Executive Director's termination and 
     all matters then pending involving his Office.
       Second, Senator Grassley's letters requested documents 
     related to the personnel action against the Executive 
     Director and related matters. We request your support in 
     ensuring that Congress receives the documents described in 
     the letters as well as subsequent documents related to the 
     process by which the Executive Director was terminated.
       Finally, we urge that all personnel decisions made by the 
     OIG since the nomination of Mr. Atkinson, including the 
     termination of the Executive Director, be stayed pending his 
     confirmation. (Mr. Atkinson's nomination has been favorably 
     reported by both the Committee on Homeland Security and 
     Governmental Affairs and the Select Committee on Intelligence 
     and is awaiting final Senate action on the Calendar.) Upon 
     his confirmation, the new Inspector General should have the 
     unfettered authority to consider both personnel and policy 
     matters de novo without being hindered by preemptive actions 
     taken by the current acting leadership.
       Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
     Charles Grassley,
       U.S. Senator.
     Ron Wyden,
       U.S. Senator.