Sunday, 22 July, 2018


Senate Intel Committee veteran arrested for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Leaker found? Former Senate staffer charged with lying to FBI about reporter contacts A former Senate staffer has been accused of leaking info and a New York Times journalist is reportedly involved
Bennie Garza | 08 June, 2018, 21:27

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 was responsible for receiving, maintaining and managing classified material that passed between the White House and Senate lawmakers.

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. She did not answer their questions.

Watkins reportedly had a relationship with Wolfe but claims he was not a source of information. "But confronted with pictures of the two together, he admitted being in a "personal relationship" with her since 2014", according to the Times. "We were made aware of the investigation late a year ago, and have fully cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice since then". Wolfe is scheduled to make his initial appearance on Friday morning at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

The Times reporter, Ali Watkins, declined to comment on the matter.

A longtime US Senate staffer was arrested late Thursday on charges of lying to federal agents as part of an investigation related to the unauthorized disclosure of non-public information, according to a federal indictment. A few weeks later, "REPORTER #2" published an online article that revealed the identity of "MALE-1".

Prosecutors said Wolfe communicated with a fourth reporter using his Senate email account from 2015 to 2017.

On Dec. 15, 2017, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents presented Mr. Wolfe with a questionnaire about his relationships with reporters, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. After the story ran, Wolfe allegedly texted the journalist "Good job!" and "I'm glad you got the scoop".

"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 Watkins' personal attorney, Mark J. MacDougall.

"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.

Buzzfeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith said on Twitter that the online publication is "deeply troubled by what looks like a case of law enforcement interfering with a reporter's constitutional right to gather information about her own government".

He also denied being a source for stories, adding that he did not know who was leaking classified information to the press. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have decried such disclosures, and announced a sharp increase in leak investigations. Sessions said that authorities were prepared to stop "the culture of leaking".

"Mr Wolfe's alleged conduct is a betrayal of the extraordinary public trust that had been placed in him", said Jessie K Liu, US attorney for the District of Columbia.

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