WASHINGTON (AP) - The acting director of national intelligence has agreed to testify next week to the House intelligence committee after baulking at the panel's demand to turn over a secret whistleblower complaint.
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff subpoenaed Mr Joseph Maguire last week, saying he was withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress and questioning whether he had been directed to do so by the White House or the attorney-general.
Mr Schiff did not divulge the subject of the complaint, but said the committee has been told that the intelligence community's inspector-general determined it to be credible and a matter of "urgent concern".
Mr Maguire will testify publicly about the whistleblower complaint on Sept 26, and the committee will also hear from the intelligence community's inspector-general on Thursday (Sept 19) in a closed-door hearing, Mr Schiff announced.
"The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress," Mr Schiff said.
In a letter on Tuesday, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Mr Jason Klitenic, wrote that the agency is protecting the whistleblower and argued the allegation does not meet the definition of "urgent concern".
He said the complaint "concerned conduct from someone outside the intelligence community and did not relate to 'intelligence activity' under the DNI's supervision".
Mr Schiff said last week that Mr Maguire is required to share the complaint with Congress and said the attempt to hold it back "raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct".
He added that he was concerned that administration officials "are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect" President Donald Trump.