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Feds Seize NYT Reporters Phone & Email Records, Arrest Senate Intel Comm Staffer Former Lover

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posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:37 PM
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So those broke in a series of developments.

Last night it was being reported that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee had unanimously passed a resolution to provide records to the DOJ to assist in an investigation.

Then early this evening, multiple outlets were reporting that it was an ex-committee staffer who was being investigated for leaking.

Right around that time, NY Times puts out an article about one of their reporters, Ali Watkins, having had her phone and emails records secretly seized. It's noted that in the pat, Watkins had a 3 year-long relationship with an ex-staffer of the Senate Intel Committee.

Justice Dept. Seizes Times Reporter’s Email and Phone Records in Leak Investigation


WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records this year in an investigation of classified information leaks. It was the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump.

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.

The records covered years’ worth of Ms. Watkins’s communications before she joined The Times in late 2017 to cover federal law enforcement. During a seven-month period last year for which prosecutors sought additional phone records, she worked for Buzzfeed News and then Politico reporting on national security.


It appears that at the time the two were dating, she was primarily a national security reporter for Politico and BuzzFeed and at the end, with NYT where she's been for a year. The former boyfriend of Ms. Watkins is identified as James A. Wolfe. She flatly denies haven't gotten any leaks from him and states that she told all employers during the time of the relationship, with NYT confirming that she'd informed them.

More recently, multiple outlets were reporting that James A. Wolfe had been indicted and within the last hour, that he'd been arrested.

Veteran of Senate Intel Committee arrested for lying to investigators in leak investigation


A longtime US Senate staffer was arrested late Thursday on charges of lying to federal agents as part of an investigation related to unauthorized disclosure of information, according to a federal indictment. Federal prosecutors accuse James Wolfe, the former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, of lying to FBI agents in December 2017 about his contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications. According to the indictment, Wolfe made false statements to the FBI about providing two reporters with non-public information related to the matters occurring before the committee.


Apparently Wolfe, 58, had 30 years of service before abruptly resigning at the end of 2017.

ETA:

Going back and re-reading the NYT article, Wolfe apparently had ceased doing work for the committee in December and then retired in May. The article also says that the reporter was approached by 3 FBI agents and questioned about the relationship with Wolfe just before going to work at the NYT.
edit on 2018-6-7 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:42 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Unfortunately post 9/11 has set a precedence for this to happen.

I don't care what side of the isle anyone falls. Every side has taken advantage of the espionage act, and it's disgusting.

Journalist should be safe. Plain and simple.


+9 more 
posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:47 PM
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former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee


That is more than just a "staffer".

A staffer is someone who gets coffee in comparison. The Security Director for the Senate Intelligence Committee for 29 years is kind of a big deal as opposed to wording it as just some staffer. The Fake News in downplay mode, they are losing their illegal anonymous sources in Trump's crackdown on leaking.



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:49 PM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker




Journalist should be safe. Plain and simple.


You would think.. But so should the Presidents lawyer.



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:51 PM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

It looks like the Trump admin is picking up where the Obama admin left off. My understanding was that at some point, the Obama admin had gotten enough backlash that the DOJ instituted new guidelines that made it more difficult to go after reporters' records. Specifically, they were supposed to reach out to a reporter's employer and attempt to get the needed information through the outlet.

The Obama admin had launched more leak investigations than anyone prior and IIRC, last year Sessions said that under him, the Trump DOJ was conducting 3x as many.

For me, it's going to be important to know what he is suspected of having leaked. If it's classified information that couldn't be characterized as whistleblowing and put lives in danger, that's a damn sight different than something that was maybe embarrassing.

ETA:

In case it wasn't clear, my opinion is that the Obama admin was engaged in what I found to be egregious and dangerous infringement on the freedom of the press and if the DOJ has obtained all of her records, this looks to me like more of the same. In fact, they could be mining it for other possible sources.

There has to be a VERY high bar for something like that.
edit on 2018-6-7 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

He was just identified as a staffer originally and there's only so much room in the title. Nobody was trying to downplay anything.



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:03 PM
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Good catch! I wonder what was actually leaked and when? And, for what purpose?

Good on them for continuing this plugging of that security sieve known as Washington, DC.



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:04 PM
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Here it is on the DOJ website.

Former U.S. Senate Employee Indicted on False Statements Charges


James A. Wolfe, 58, of Ellicott City, Md., was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. At the time he made the alleged false statements to the FBI, Wolfe was Director of Security for the SSCI, a position he held for approximately 29 years. As SSCI Director of Security, Wolfe was entrusted with access to classified SECRET and TOP SECRET information provided by the Executive Branch, including the U.S. Intelligence Community, to the SSCI. In this position, Wolfe was responsible for safeguarding all classified information in the possession of the SSCI.

Wolfe is alleged to have lied to FBI agents in December 2017 about his repeated contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications. Wolfe is further alleged to have made false statements to the FBI about providing two reporters with non-public information related to the matters occurring before the SSCI.

The Attorney General has stated that investigations and prosecutions of unauthorized disclosure of controlled information are a priority of the Department of Justice. The allegations in this indictment are doubly troubling as the false statements concern the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and confidential information,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Those entrusted with sensitive information must discharge their duties with honesty and integrity, and that includes telling the truth to law enforcement.”



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:06 PM
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Get a kick out of Ali Watkins twitter.

The cartoon is precious !!!!!!



😃🚬🔫



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:06 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: CriticalStinker

It looks like the Trump admin is picking up where the Obama admin left off. My understanding was that at some point, the Obama admin had gotten enough backlash that the DOJ instituted new guidelines that made it more difficult to go after reporters' records. Specifically, they were supposed to reach out to a reporter's employer and attempt to get the needed information through the outlet.

The Obama admin had launched more leak investigations than anyone prior and IIRC, last year Sessions said that under him, the Trump DOJ was conducting 3x as many.

For me, it's going to be important to know what he is suspected of having leaked. If it's classified information that couldn't be characterized as whistleblowing and put lives in danger, that's a damn sight different than something that was maybe embarrassing.

ETA:

In case it wasn't clear, my opinion is that the Obama admin was engaged in what I found to be egregious and dangerous infringement on the freedom of the press and if the DOJ has obtained all of her records, this looks to me like more of the same. In fact, they could be mining it for other possible sources.

There has to be a VERY high bar for something like that.


BS, scumbag reporters who go after intelligence directors to get classified information is no less than espionage. But hey, Stormy Daniels is the Left's hero so this BJ queen should get a pedestal from the Left too. Funny Monica didn't get adoration.....



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:09 PM
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Sounds like Ali maybe used her womanly wiles to get hooked up with a prime source. Maybe, maybe not jus' sayin'. Sure was convenient for her as a reporter anyways.

And, yes, it's possibly disturbing from a freedom of the press stance but, like you, I'm holding off for more info before deciding how I totally feel about it. TTP makes some good points above.




edit on 7-6-2018 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:19 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP


BS, scumbag reporters who go after intelligence directors to get classified information is no less than espionage. But hey, Stormy Daniels is the Left's hero so this BJ queen should get a pedestal from the Left too. Funny Monica didn't get adoration.....


So much to unpack there.

The usual authoritarian bent, maybe a bit of misogyny ("this BJ queen" ? Huh?) and a good measure of hypocrisy ("Funny Monica didn't get adoration") — is that you Rudy?



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:27 PM
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"one question Holmes...
what does elementary mean"


💡🤷


+2 more 
posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:28 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: TinfoilTP


BS, scumbag reporters who go after intelligence directors to get classified information is no less than espionage. But hey, Stormy Daniels is the Left's hero so this BJ queen should get a pedestal from the Left too. Funny Monica didn't get adoration.....


So much to unpack there.

The usual authoritarian bent, maybe a bit of misogyny ("this BJ queen" ? Huh?) and a good measure of hypocrisy ("Funny Monica didn't get adoration") — is that you Rudy?


Women who whore themselves out to obtain classified info are not the girl next door who just wants to be an independent women's libber. There is no glue on you misogyny sticker, and it is worn out from trying to rub it on too many people.


+1 more 
posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:35 PM
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Oh his job was real juicy, top target for any intel operation.





A former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee-- who was in charge of maintaining all classified information from the Executive Office to the panel


Wow, he had access to all the stuff that was for "Presidential eyes" that was ever shared with the Senate Intel committee.

Sourc e



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:53 PM
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originally posted by: Krakatoa
Good catch! I wonder what was actually leaked and when? And, for what purpose?

Good on them for continuing this plugging of that security sieve known as Washington, DC.


Things like this


www.buzzfeed.com...





The FBI Never Asked For Access To Hacked Computer Servers



posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

From your link:


Wolfe allegedly was in contact with "REPORTER #2" and exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications and often daily phone calls, according to the indictment. He would also meet at the reporter’s apartment, court papers alleged.

Wolfe had extensive contact with reporters about "MALE-1," who was reportedly identified as Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.

Wolfe received classified information about "MALE-1" on the same day he exchanged 82 text messages with "REPORTER #2," according to the indictment. A few weeks later, "REPORTER #2" published an online article that revealed the identity of "MALE-1."

On April 3, 2017, Watkins’ byline appeared on a BuzzFeed article that revealed that Page had met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013.

Wolfe allegedly called "REPORTER #2" nearly a half-hour after the story went live and had a phone conversation for about seven minutes.

In December 2017, Wolfe allegedly messaged "REPORTER #2."

“I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism. ... I always tried to give you as much Information (sic) that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else. ... I always enjoyed the way that you would pursue a story,like nobody else was doing in my hal1way (sic). I felt like I was part of your excitement and was always very supportive of your career and the tenacity that you exhibited to chase down a good story," the message read, according to the indictment.

It is alleged that Wolfe used several means to contact reporters, including Signal and WhatsApp. He also met “clandestinely in person,” in secluded areas of the Hart Senate Office Building, the indictment charges.




posted on Jun, 8 2018 @ 12:28 AM
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originally posted by: notsure1
a reply to: CriticalStinker




Journalist should be safe. Plain and simple.


You would think.. But so should the Presidents lawyer.


On the other hand, the information gleaned would likely be used against the Security Director and probably not against the reporter.



posted on Jun, 8 2018 @ 12:37 AM
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a reply to: nwtrucker

Good point. I find myself wondering if anyone encouraged him to do some of this. He'll probably be inclined to tell it if so since it looks like a jail term is definitely staring him in the face. I read the indictment over fairly quickly and in at least one instance he offered to be a source for the reporter. No one was twisting his arm. So...what was his motive? Reporter 4 I think that one was.



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