Top US Senate staffer charged in leak investigation
Top US Senate staffer charged in leak investigation
Justice Department investigators seized NY Times reporter’s phone and email records in search for leaks: report
08 June, 2018, 21:43
The New York Timesrevealed phone records and emails belonging to one of their reporters were seized by the Justice Department as part of their ongoing investigation into a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide. But she only learned that her records had been seized when she received a letter from the Justice Department in February.
The former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee was arrested Thursday on charges that he lied to the FBI about his contacts with reporters in an investigation into leaks.
At this time, Wolfe has not been convicted of wrongdoing in relation to the charges of making false statements and he was not charged with leaking classified information in the federal indictmentreleased by the Justice Department.
While this is the first time that the Trump administration's Justice Department has aggressively gone after reporters' electronic communications, the Obama administration also pursued reporters' records during President Obama's first term.
It's clear from the context of the indictment that Watkins was the author of one story the FBI was investigating to determine who served as her source or sources.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a press release that Wolfe lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications.
Wolfe was the security director at the SSCI for three decades from 1987 to 2017 and reportedly managed all classified information, from the Executive Office to the panel.
Watkins, a national security reporter who previously worked for HuffPost, Politico and BuzzFeed News, declined to comment and referred questions to a Times spokeswoman.
We also know that much of the leaked information centered on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Wolfe cautioned the reporter to "never use [his] name" to any colleagues, the indictment said.
"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.
The court papers indicate Watkins and Wolfe had a "personal relationship" dating back to 2014. Prosecutors say he also lied about giving two reporters non-public information about committee matters.
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr (R-NC) and the committee's vice chairman Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)(5th R) stand with members of the committee as they speak to the media about the committee's findings and recommendations on threats to election infrastructure on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2018.
In a text message to the same unidentified reporter in December, Wolfe allegedly wrote: "I've watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism. We were made aware of the investigation late previous year, and have fully cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice since then".
According to CNN, Wolfe will be arraigned on Friday.
Reporter #1 co-authored an article, prosecutors said, that contained classified information about Page that had been provided to the committee by the government.
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