PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A prominent Portland radio host is at the center of a nationwide debate about whether news organizations should release the name of the alleged whistleblower in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry.
Lars Larson, a conservative radio host, named the person he believes is the whistleblower while appearing as a guest on Fox News on Thursday.
On Friday, Larson told FOX 12 he stands by his decision to talk about the whistleblower, though many don’t agree with his choice.
Larson named the whistleblower about two minutes into the interview on Fox News, making him the first person to do so on a major news network.
Major news stations have withheld releasing any names without being able to independently verify who the whistleblower is. Many people also question the ethical implications, citing the Whistleblower Protection Act, which protects federal employees who disclose information about illegal acts, corruption and abuses of power in the government.
Sen. Ron Wyden said he thinks it’s dangerous to out a whistleblower and contrary to federal law. Larson, however, doesn’t see it that way.
“I got into the news business about 40 years ago to tell people information, not to selectively decide what to hold back,” Larson said.
Larson says the name has been circulating for a week now after the president’s son tweeted it last week. He says he believes it is the public’s right to know.
“I think that when we’re considering the potential removal of an American president, which is what Pelosi and Schiff are suggesting, something that’s never happened in American history, that people should know who’s making the accusation,” Larson said.
Larson says he hasn’t been able to confirm that the name he stated is for certain the whistleblower.
“I’m reasonably confident that he is the guy,” Larson said. “And this is why you’re seeing so many other outside-of-network sources name him.”
Wyden says the identity of whistleblowers must be protected to ensure that people feel comfortable coming forward with important information.
“The reason we have protections for whistleblowers is because our country feels it is so important for those individuals who courageously are willing to come forward, Wyden said. “We want them to do so so they can speak truth to power."
Fox News released a statement saying it has not been able to independently confirm the whistleblower’s identity.
Larson, who doesn’t work for Fox, says he only learned about their decision not to use the name after his appearance. Meanwhile, Wyden says he is working on strengthening laws to protect whistleblowers.
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