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Justice Department Seized New York Times Reporter's Phone, Email Records

11 June, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Ex-Senate intel aide charged after DOJ seizes reporter's records

The indictment read that Wolfe denied he was a source for multiple articles containing contained classified information provided by the executive branch to the committee.

At one point, he was presented with a news article containing classified information and was asked, in a written questionnaire, if he had had contact with any of the piece's three authors.

Jim Wolfe, a longtime former director of security at the Senate Intelligence Committee, was indicted and arrested Thursday night for giving false statements to F.B.I. agents during their investigation into leaks of classified information to the media.

Watkins learned of the seizure of her email and cellphone data in a letter sent from the Department of Justice in February, but she didn't notify the Times of the investigation until Thursday, according to the newspaper.

One of those scoops was said to be Watkins' story on April 3, 2017, for Buzzfeed News that revealed the FBI was investigating former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page because a Russian spy attempted to recruit him in 2013. She previously worked for BuzzFeed, her employer when the two began their affair. Recently, he demanded immunity from Congress as a condition for answering questions about the actions of the Justice Department under his leadership. On Thursday, Ms. Watkins told her editors that Mr. Wolfe was not a source of classified information for articles she had written during their relationship, which ended a year ago.

Watkins has not been charged. They said he denied those contacts.

The chronology suggests Mr. Wolfe, then Ms. Watkins' lover, was a source for the computer story. "But confronted with pictures of the two together, he admitted being in a "personal relationship" with her since 2014", according to the Times. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said he lied about his relationship with the reporter and about revealing information to her.

Sens. Richard Burr, R. -N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., the chair and vice chair, said they'd learned of the investigation late past year and had "fully cooperated" with the authorities since then. The committee is also conducting its own investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

Each false statement count is punishable by up to five years in prison, though if convicted, Wolfe would nearly certainly face only a fraction of that time. Wolfe was arraigned in court Friday on charges of lying to investigators about his contact with journalists.

Said the lede: "NEW YORK - A former campaign adviser for Donald Trump met with and passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013".

Wolfe was accused of using his personal cellphone, his congressional email account and the encrypted apps Signal and WhatsApp to communicate sensitive information to reporters. During Wolfe's Federal Bureau of Investigation interview in December, Wolfe denied sharing non-public information with reporters and said he was not in regular electronic communication with any journalist, the indictment says.

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".

In response to an inquiry from CNN, her lawyer Mark J. 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". Last year, he said the department was pursuing about three times as many leak investigations as were open at the end of the Obama administration.

"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.

On Friday morning, Trump said the Justice Department had caught "a very important leaker" and said it could be a "terrific thing". Sessions said that authorities were prepared to stop "the culture of leaking".

The charges should serve as a warning to those who consider lying to law enforcement, said Jessie K. Liu, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.


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