Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire will not comply with a House Intelligence Committee subpoena ordering him to provide the panel with a whistleblower’s report of “serious misconduct,” escalating a standoff with the panel’s chairman over a complaint he says could involve the White House.

Panel Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) issued a subpoena to Maguire last week, ordering him to provide the complaint to the committee or, failing that, to testify publicly Thursday about why it was being withheld. Maguire’s general counsel, Jason Klitenic, informed Schiff in a Tuesday letter obtained by The Washington Post that the director was “not available on such short notice” and that the hearing “would not be a productive exercise” while the office is deliberating about how to handle the panel’s demands.

The intelligence panel has detailed little about the complaint publicly, except to reveal that while the whistleblower works in the intelligence community, the case “concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community,” as Schiff stated in a letter to Maguire last week accompanying the subpoena. In that letter, Schiff also pointed out that Maguire’s office refused to state whether White House officials and lawyers were involved in the decision not to transfer the complaint.

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Schiff has charged that Maguire is violating the law by withholding the complaint from Congress. By statute, he has argued, the complaint should have been transmitted to the intelligence panel within seven days because the intelligence community’s inspector general had determined that it was “both credible and urgent.”

But Klitenic has pushed back against Schiff’s reading of the whistleblower law as it applies to the current case. In a Sept. 13 response to the panel obtained by The Post, Klitenic argued that “there were serious concerns about whether the complaint met the statutory definition of an ‘urgent concern.’ ” Those concerns, he explained, led to consultation with the Justice Department.

“Based on those consultations, we determined that the allegations did not fall within the statutory definition of an ‘urgent concern’ and that the statute did not require the complaint to be transmitted to the intelligence committees,” Klitenic wrote.

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“The information within the present complaint is different from that involved in any past cases of which we are aware,” Klitenic continued, adding that “because the complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by people outside the intelligence community, the DNI lacks unilateral authority to transmit such materials to the intelligence committees.”

Such disclosures have piqued Schiff’s suspicions, however, about why Maguire is loath to give the panel either the complaint or a fuller, public reckoning — and “whether the White House or Attorney General” William P. Barr are ordering him not to comply with their demands, the congressman said.

“We’re determined to make sure that the whistleblower is able to provide his complaint to Congress, or her complaint to Congress, and that this urgent matter is addressed,” Schiff said Tuesday. “[Maguire] has yet to provide the complaint in response to the Committee’s subpoena, so I expect him to appear on Thursday, under subpoena if necessary.”

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