Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Wolfe, ex-Senate intelligence committee staffer, indicted for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Bill Clark  CQ-Roll Call Group Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call Group
Kenny Thornton | 08 June, 2018, 20:29

The Justice Department claims Mr. Wolfe regularly met in secret with two of the reporters the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned him about as well as other journalists.

A prosecutor informed Watkins in a February 13 letter that the Justice Department had obtained records and subscriber information from communications companies, including Google and Verizon, pertaining to two email accounts and a phone number of Watkins, according to the Times, which learned of the letter on Thursday.

It's rare for the government to obtain the communications of reporters as part of a leak investigation, and the seizure of Watkins's records, the first known case under the Trump administration, signals the aggressiveness with which officials are pursuing leaks to the press. The FBI began looking into Watkins' sources after she reported on Russian spies' efforts to work with former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in April 2017, according to The Times.

The indictment provides a detailed account of Wolfe's interactions with one specific unnamed reporter.

Despite his denial, the indictment alleges, Wolfe "had, in truth, engaged in extensive contact with multiple reporters", adding that he was "conveying to at least two reporters information about" a person referred to in the documents only as "MALE-1". The Times said that Watkins had a relationship with Wolfe before she joined the newspaper. He is set to appear before a federal court in Washington today.

He worked closely with both Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan fashion for more than 30 years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, and their secretive operations. He also maintained a yearslong personal relationship with one reporter, which prosecutors say he lied about until being confronted with a photograph of him and the journalist.

Warriors beat Cavs to close in on second straight title
James, who can be a free agent in July, stopped just short of saying the Cavaliers don't have enough to beat these Warriors. And then you've got a guy in Klay (Thompson) who could easily be on a team and carry a team, score 40 in a quarter before.

In a statement Thursday night, Watkins' attorney, Mark MacDougall, said: "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".

"Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges", he said, according to the AP.

"Any time that a journalist's ability to do their job is threatened in a manner such as this, it's a major concern", Politico spokesman Brad Dayspring said, according to the organization.

Katie Pavlich agreed on "America's Newsroom" that the government has every right to prosecute people for leaking classified information, but at the same time reporters have a "valid reason to be concerned" about how the government goes about seizing reporters' electronic information. In August, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that in 2017, the number of such investigations had tripled as compared to the already high number opened by the Obama administration. The FBI said he gave false statements to agents "about his repeated contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications".

The US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, also weighed in, saying she hopes the charges against Wolfe "will be a warning to those who might lie to law enforcement to the detriment of the United States".

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