DOJ Seizes NY Times Reporter’s Phone and Email Records in Leak Investigation – Former Senate Intel Aide Arrested
Former Senate Intel Committee aide, James A. Wolfe, 57, was arrested on Thursday after the DOJ conducted an investigation into classified information leaks to reporters.
Wolfe repeatedly lied to investigators about his contacts with reporters and made false statements to the FBI.
The Justice Department also seized New York Times reporter, Ali Watkins years’ worth of phone and email records.
Watkins previously worked for Buzzfeed and Politico as a national security reporter.
New York Times reporter Ali Watkins
The New York Times reported:
A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide was arrested Thursday in an investigation of classified information leaks where prosecutors also secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records.
The former aide, James A. Wolfe, 57, was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with private information related to the committee’s work. They did not say whether it was classified.
Mr. Wolfe was slated to appear before a federal judge on Friday in Washington. Reached Thursday evening before his arrest, Mr. Wolfe declined to comment.
Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump.
According to the NY Times, Ali Watkins was having a romantic relationship with the Senate Intel aide, Wolfe. Some of their communication back and forth took place before she was employed by The New York Times.
It is being reported Wolfe worked in a ‘bipartisan’ capacity for both Republicans and Democrats on the Committee for over 30 years as an Army Intel analyst; he retired in May.
On Wednesday, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) requested unanimous consent to approve the resolution.
The Senate moved quickly to provide documents to the DOJ in response to requests relating to the investigation into the leaks.
Fox News reported:
Portman, who is not a member of the intelligence committee, then made the standard request heard multiple times each day on the Senate floor: “I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.”
No one objected, meaning the Senate approved the resolution.
The Senate often conducts business and approves measures via “unanimous consent.” That means no member objects to approving a given matter. Such issues are typically cleared with all 100 senators in advance. However, many aides and senior sources were unaware that the resolution was coming to the floor.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., issued a joint statement Wednesday:
“As noted in the Senate Resolution, the Department of Justice has sought the assistance of the Committee in a pending investigation. The Committee is cooperating with the Department on this matter. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”
A few weeks ago, President Trump put White House leakers on notice.
“We will find out who they are,” said the President after referring to leakers as “traitors and cowards.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said back in November, “We intend to get to the bottom of these leaks.”