Almost a year after Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to aggressively pursue leakers within the government feeding sensitive information, sometimes of the classified nature, the first indictment in the DOJ’s investigation was announced last night.
James A. Wolfe, former Senate Intel panel security director, was officially indicted for lying to the FBI in regards to his interactions with three separate reporters, as well as lying about the sensitive materials he relayed to two of those reporters. Wolfe, who ironically was in charge of handling and protecting all classified materials from the Senate Intel Committee, is alleged to be the person performing the leaking.
A former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee — who was in charge of maintaining all classified information from the Executive Office to the panel — was indicted for allegedly giving false statements to FBI agents looking into possible leaks to reporters, the Justice Department announced Thursday night.
James A. Wolfe, 58, served as the panel’s security director for 29 years, according to the feds.
Wolfe lied to the FBI in December 2017 about contacts he had with three reporters, the indictment read. He also allegedly lied about giving two reporters non-public information about committee matters.
Although Wolfe was indicted for lying to the FBI, the false statements were made in the course of an investigation into the leaking of classified materials, meaning that Wolfe was a specific target of the investigation. During the questioning process, Wolfe allegedly lied to investigators
The indictment details interactions that Wolfe had with the 3 reporters, even admitting to a “romantic relationship” with one of the reporters, who happen to be working for Buzzfeed at the time.
Wolfe allegedly admitted to FBI agents in 2017 that he lied about his relationship with a reporter identified in court papers as “REPORTER #2.” He admitted the relationship after he was shown photos of the two of them together, according to the indictment.
Wolfe was allegedly in contact with “REPORTER #2” and they exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications and often daily phone calls. He would also meet at the reporter’s apartment, court papers alleged.
Wolfe had extensive contact with reporters about “MALE-1,” who was reportedly identified as Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
Wolfe received classified information about “MALE-1” on the same day he exchanged 82 text messages with “REPORTER #2,” according to the indictment. A few weeks later, “REPORTER #2” published an online article that revealed the identity of “MALE-1.”
On April 3, 2017, Watkins’ byline appeared on a BuzzFeed article that revealed that Page had met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013.
Wolfe allegedly called “REPORTER #2” nearly a half-hour after the story went live and had a phone conversation for about seven minutes.
In December 2017, Wolfe allegedly messaged “REPORTER #2.”
“I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism. … I always tried to give you as much Information (sic) that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else. … I always enjoyed the way that you would pursue a story,like nobody else was doing in my hal1way (sic). I felt like I was part of your excitement and was always very supportive of your career and the tenacity that you exhibited to chase down a good story,” the message read, according to the indictment.
It’s assumed that “REPORTER #2”, to whom Wolfe sent a nice encouraging text message too regarding her career, is in fact Ali Watkins, the same reporter he admitted to having a romantic relationship with.
It appears that Wolfe’s interactions with Ali Watkins has turned out to be the most expensive “romantic relationship” of his life.
Yesterday, federal investigators seized email and phone records of Ali Watkins, who currently works for the New York Times, a job that she was offered after publishing a story in Buzzfeed
Earlier Thursday, the New York Times revealed that federal investigators had seized years’ worth of email and phone records relating to one of its reporters, Ali Watkins. She previously had a three-year romantic relationship with Wolfe, the Times reported, adding that the records covered a period of time before she joined the paper.
Watkins worked previously for BuzzFeed, Politico and McClatchy, all well-known publications that favor Democratic while opposing anything and everything relating to President Donald Trump.
Ironically, Ali Watkins sent a tweet back in 2013 criticizing a character on the television show House of Cards for “sleeping with your source”, which is apparently exactly what she did to obtain sensitive materials from Wolfe in order to write her story for Buzzfeed. It appears the move paid off for Ali Watkins, as shortly after her story was released she was offered a job at the New York Times, where she is currently still employed.
In addition to the above tweet, Watkins more recently defended the Senate Intel Committee against accusations that someone within their committee was leaking confidential information to reporters. Watkins accused the Trump administration of wrongfully blaming the leaks on the committee, even going as far as to accuse the president’s lawyers of doing the leaking, which as we now know was not the case. In short, President Trump was proven right and the media proven wrong once again.
The SSCI read is, Trumpster lawyers will leak info about upcoming appearances, blame the committee, then use as a pretext not to cooperate.
— Ali Watkins (@AliWatkins) September 19, 2017
Senate Intel has been SOOO frustrated in recent weeks by the constant dribble of leaks about who’s testifying to them, when.
— Ali Watkins (@AliWatkins) September 19, 2017
Hypocrisy knows no bounds in the mainstream media and politics, yet at least now it explains why Ali Watkins was so fervent in her support of the Senate Intel Committee’s supposed integrity.
Reporters leveraging their “romantic capabilities” and seducing sources is certainly nothing new, but presents yet another embarrassment for the mainstream media in a time when they are regularly branded “fake news” and horribly biased by conservatives and President Trump himself.
The indictment of a single alleged leaker may not appear to be much progress, especially given the number of leaks that have occurred throughout Trump’s administration. However, those within the government who are still leaking will certainly take note of the indictment of a possible fellow leaker, which could lead them to curb their own leaking to reporters out of fear of being exposed and brought up on charges themselves.
Wolfe’s indictment also reassures Trump supporters that, at very least, some action is being taken behind the scenes to track down and prosecute leakers on the part of the Department of Justice, which has received much criticism for their apparent lack of progress as of late. In the end, the indictment of a single leaker can have a ripple effect by striking fear and apprehension in any other leakers who would usually be eager to please anti-Trump reporters…and possibly enjoy a “romantic relationship” of their own with a starry-eyed young journalist.