Leaker Crackdown Begins: Top Senate Staffer Arrested In Leak Probe; NYT Journo's Records Seized

Longtime former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, James A. Wolfe, was indicted and arrested Thursday night on charges of giving false statements to FBI agents in 2017 about repeated contacts with three reporters, according to the Washington Examiner.

Jim Wolfe, a longtime former director of security at the Senate Intelligence Committee, was indicted and arrested Thursday night for giving false statements to F.B.I. agents during their investigation into leaks of classified information to the media.

According to the Department of Justice, Wolfe lied to F.B.I. agents back in 2017 "about his repeated contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications."

Wolfe is also accused of making false statements about providing "non-public information related to matters occurring before the [Senate Intelligence Committee]" to two additional reporters. -Washington Examiner

Wolfe, 57, is a former Army intelligence analyst who worked for the Senate for over 30 years. He stopped performing work for the committee in December and retired last month. More from the NYT:

Court documents describe Mr. Wolfe’s communications with four reporters, using encrypted messaging applications. It appeared that the F.B.I. was investigating how Ms. Watkins learned that Russian spies in 2013 had tried to recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser. She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts.

In another case, the indictment said, Mr. Wolfe used an encrypted messaging app to alert another reporter in October 2017 that he had served Mr. Page with a subpoena to testify before the committee. The reporter, who was not named, published an article disclosing that Mr. Page had been compelled to appear. After it was published, Mr. Wolfe wrote to the journalist to say, “Good job!” and, “I’m glad you got the scoop,” according to court papers.

The same month, Mr. Wolfe reached out to a third reporter on the same unidentified app to offer to serve as an unnamed source, the documents said.

Mr. Wolfe also communicated with a fourth reporter, using his Senate email account, from 2015 to 2017, prosecutors said. They said he denied those contacts.

Mr. Wolfe’s alleged conduct is a betrayal of the extraordinary public trust that had been placed in him. It is hoped that these charges will be a warning to those who might lie to law enforcement to the detriment of the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General John. Demers

See the indictment here: 

Ex-girlfriend's communications seized

News of Wolfe's arrest follows an article by the New York Times which claims that the Department of Justice "secretly seized years' worth of a New York Times reporter's phone and email records," in connection with an investigation into classified leaks.

NYT national security reporter Ali Watkins - formerly of Buzzfeed and Politico, came under investigation as part of a DOJ inquiry into Wolfe. FBI agents approached Watkins about her relationship with Wolfe while investigating unauthorized leaks - the first known instance of the Justice Department seizing a reporter's data under President Trump. 

Ali Watkins

Watkins claims that Wolfe was not a source of classified information during their relationship. 

A prosecutor notified Ms. Watkins on Feb. 13 that the Justice Department had years of customer records and subscriber information from telecommunications companies, including Google and Verizon, for two email accounts and a phone number of hers. Investigators did not obtain the content of the messages themselves. The Times learned on Thursday of the letter, which came from the national security division of the United States attorney’s office in Washington. -New York Times

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last year that the DOJ was aggressively pursuing around three timx as many leak investigations as were open at the end of Obama's second term - while Obama's DOJ prosecuted more leaks than all previous administrations combined

The seizure — disclosed in a letter to the reporter, Ali Watkins — suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.


When law enforcement officials obtained journalists’ records during the Obama administration, members of Congress in both parties sounded alarms, and the moves touched off such a firestorm among advocates for press freedom that helped prompt the Justice Department to rewrite its relevant guidelines. -NYT

In early 2013, for example, the Obama DOJ led by Attorney General Eric Holder secretly obtained the home and cell phone numbers of individual AP journalists, in what the news agency called a "serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news." 

“It’s always disconcerting when a journalist’s telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department — through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process,” said Ms. Watkins’s personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall to The Times. “Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee hinted at the leak investigations on Wednesday, noting that it was cooperating with the DOJ "in a pending investigation," while the Senate had earlier voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to share committee information with the DOJ "in connection with a pending investigation arising out of the unauthorized disclosure of information." 

Press advocates have long considered the idea of mining a journalist's records to be an intrusion of First Amendment freedoms - one which federal prosecutors at the DOJ acknowledge must be dealt with delicately. “Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and communications between journalists and their sources demand protection,” said Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman.



cheka Mactruck Thu, 06/07/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

look at that pic --- straight from the agent lewinsky branch of the service....


"NYT national security reporter Ali Watkins - formerly of Buzzfeed and Politico, came under investigation as part of a DOJ inquiry into Wolfe. FBI agents approached Watkins about her relationship with Wolfe while investigating unauthorized leaks - the first known instance of the Justice Department seizing a reporter's data under President Trump."

In reply to by Mactruck

Dolar in a vortex Keyser Fri, 06/08/2018 - 00:03 Permalink

This is going to get fun. She was doing her source for 3 years.

Is this how Buzzfeed trains their staff.

So many businesses operate under the "whatever it takes" principle.

I really want some elected officials in DC to go down. And HRC, Holder, Comey, Rice, Lynch, McCabe ... and others will be fun to watch as the turn on the Kenyan.

In reply to by Keyser

CuttingEdge The Alarmist Fri, 06/08/2018 - 05:04 Permalink

What you are saying, phil is it is unlawful for law enforcement to recover highly classified material politically leaked to a third party? In this case an employee of the Slimes? In an age where journalistic integrity is none existent?

Fuck 'em.

See how they like it up the arse when the roles are reversed. The squealing will be delightful.

They deserve to be hanging from lamp posts, anyway.



In reply to by The Alarmist

CuttingEdge CuttingEdge Fri, 06/08/2018 - 05:26 Permalink

Something I thought to keep an eye on later today:


Judicial Watch announced that a federal court ordered a hearing for Friday, June 8, 2018, regarding communications of the Office of the Attorney General with Nellie Ohr, the wife of former Senior DOJ Official Bruce Ohr, who was critical to the Clinton/DNC dossier authored by Christopher Steele (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No.1:18-cv-00491)). The suit is before U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton.

Then I did some reading:

Judge Reggie B. Walton (Bush appointee): In May 2007, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts appointed him to a seat on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[4] His term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ended May 18, 2014. During his FISC tenure, Judge Walton was "exceptionally concerned" about the NSA's "flagrant violation" of the court orders regarding privacy, and he accused the agency of "misinterpretations."


Hmmm...not bad. Then it started going downhill fast.


Walton also presided over the trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby.


And the kicker - Judicial Watch have previous with him:

On October 4, 2016, Walton rejected the release of Hillary Clinton criminal indictment drafts prosecutors prepared, but never issued, during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s. He ruled that Clinton had a "substantial privacy interest" when he rejected a Judicial Watch lawsuit under FOIA


Don't hold your breath, Tom.

In reply to by CuttingEdge

NidStyles HopefulCynical Fri, 06/08/2018 - 06:34 Permalink

I stopped believing in equality. It seems ridiculous to think we are all equal considering how many of us can walk through hell and it doesn’t change our outlook or perspectives. Then the rest get permanently scarred and turn into basic bitch animals that can’t control themselves.

In reply to by HopefulCynical

Ecclesia Militans HopefulCynical Fri, 06/08/2018 - 08:41 Permalink

I think Jeff Sessions is an asshole who prefers congenial lunches with former Senate colleagues to his responsibilities to the Constitution and the people of the Republic.  I wonder how many 14-year old girls he asked out to lunch when he was an Assistant DA back in the day....

Anyway that chick reporter is likely calling in sick today and thinking about the conversation she is going to have with her parents at some point about all of this.

In reply to by HopefulCynical

TeethVillage88s jcaz Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:46 Permalink

How many times did this "Guy" in the club take the Oath to Protect the US Constitution and her laws?

"Wolfe, 57, is a former Army intelligence analyst who worked for the Senate for over 30 years. "

Reporters are supposed to be opposition, spies, just like bankers, just like Facebook & Google, just like the Vatican & Royalty.  - My guess is that this reporter can continue in her career.  But some people are waiting for convictions and the little people might have to pay and take the blame for Hillary, Comey, Moi-ller, McCabe, Roseblatt, Awans, Washerman-Shitz, FISA Courts, Klapper

- Martin Armstrong says - anyone can buy up media corporations, public corporations, so ... Vatican, Royalty, Wealthy Elites, Lobbyist, Tenured Contress, Entrenched MICC, Stateless-unpatriotic-corporate charters are to Blame?


In reply to by jcaz

tbone654 tbone654 Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:13 Permalink

I'm saying congress will finally be bi-partisan when it comes to protecting themselves from prosecution...   Remember Dan Rostenkowski and his Post Office abuse scandal?  He wasn't the only one, just the biggest pig in the pen...  They were all doing it for extra cash, on both sides of the aisle...

In reply to by tbone654

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In reply to by Anunnaki

nmewn CuttingEdge Fri, 06/08/2018 - 05:51 Permalink

Yes, the Alinsky Nuuuz has been abusing OUR First Amendment (and hiding behind it) for it's own political purposes for a very long time.

It is not "their job" to pick and choose which stories will be read by the public and which will be published for their own political goals & expediency while other information is withheld as they shelter themselves under the umbrella of "freedom of the press"...

...at OUR and the Republics expense...

...I might add.

For example elements of the Alisnky Nuuuz KNEW there was a FISA warrant on the Trump campaign and it's members long before the general public yet they let the public dangle on the misinformation that there was not. Former DIA Clapper was "invited" to be on Meet the Depressed with Chuck Trotsky and was allowed to state so outright, without being challenged. They also KNEW the "Steele dossier" was nothing but a bought & paid for fabrication of the Hillary campaign, paid for by financial strawman arrangements with Perkins-Coie and Fusion GPS, yet...they-said-nothing.

I could go on but in short, the vast majority of the "the media" assume title & privileges (calling themselves the Fourth Estate) to which they have never been granted or merited and are known to be howling, laughable abusers of.

It should be noted here that Comey (like Wolfe) gave classified information to "his friends" (Richman & Wittes) for the purpose of having it published in the Alinsky Nuuuz.

Tick tock bitchez ;-)

In reply to by CuttingEdge

nmewn GeezerGeek Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:32 Permalink

lol...yes, but only leaking classified information damaging to the Trump administration at the time, now it's all coming back to bite them in the ass.

And like I was saying below, there are those who will want to know "what else and to whom" he's been leaking.

The Senate Intelligence Committee does do other business (besides dealing with this farcical Trump-Russia crap) that they would really NOT be pleased with foreign nations knowing about  ;-)

In reply to by GeezerGeek