Trump says prosecutors 'caught a leaker'

Trump says prosecutors 'caught a leaker'

Longtime former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, James A. Wolfe, was indicted and arrested Thursday night on charges of giving false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in 2017 about repeated contacts with three reporters, according to the Washington Examiner.

Watkins reportedly had a relationship with Wolfe but claims he was not a source of information.

The indictment is significant because it exposes the extensive ties between unelected career officials and members of the media in Washington.

In December 2017, Wolfe texted "REPORTER #2".

INSKEEP: OK. So part of this is getting the phone records of a New York Times reporter or someone who worked for a number of news organizations including, ultimately, The New York Times.

Elements within the government have always been suspected in engaging in selective leaks, including classified information, to the media in an effort to control the news narrative. And President Trump, of course, has been very vocal about his desire to crack down on leaks.

"While the charges do not appear to include anything related to the mishandling of classified information, the committee takes this matter extremely seriously", the senators said.

Lawyers and journalism experts have argued that the Espionage Act applies to the person who leaks the classified information - not to publishers or journalists.

In a follow-up email, Murphy noted that Watkins made the decision not to share the information of her surveillance with the Times after consulting with her attorney.

Wolfe allegedly was in contact with the reporter and exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications and often daily phone calls, according to the indictment. The agents provided him with a printed questionnaire which he filled out while also giving verbal answers. The DOJ indictment said she was an undergraduate student working as an intern when their "personal relationship" formed about that time.

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It is alleged that Wolfe used several means to contact reporters, including Signal and WhatsApp.

Watkins tweeted in 2013 about Netflix House of Cards character Zoe Barnes, an intrepid reporter involved in a brief romantic affair with then-Congressman Frank Underwood, a relationship many see as having parallels with Watkins and Wolfe's relationship. The pair communicated on an often daily basis over the course of almost four years. They met at secluded spots, including Senate office stairwells, restaurants and her apartment.

On March 17, 2017, Wolfe received and managed a document from the executive branch that contained secret and top-secret information, including secret information about the identity and activities of an individual identified only as MALE-1, the indictment states.

Ms. Watkins broke the story for BuzzFeed on April 3, 2017.

Watkins has covered a number of high-profile national security stories during the Trump administration, including former Trump advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos' communications with Russians during and before the Trump campaign.

The seizure - disclosed in a letter to the reporter, Ali Watkins - suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama. The committee is one of multiple congressional panels investigating potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. The couple also spoke for 28 minutes the same evening.

The story broke the afternoon of October 17.

"Seizing a journalist's records sends a bad message to the public and should never be considered except as the last resort in a truly essential investigation", Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement.

Standards are stricter for the Department of Justice to obtain records from journalists. He worked as security director for the Intelligence Committee, and his arrest appears to be part of the Trump administration's promised push to crack down on leakers.

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