James A. Wolfe, Former Senate Intelligence Committee Aide Arrested & Indicted in Investigation of Classified Leaks
THROW THE BOOK AT THIS GUY, MAKE AN EXAMPLE OUT OF HIM AND THE LEAKS WILL COME TO A CRASHING END …
As reported at the New York Times, 57 year old James A. Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide for 30 years, was arrested and indicted (see indictment here) in an investigation of classified information leaks during the Trump presidency. Wolfe repeatedly lied to investigators about his contacts with reporters and made false statements to the FBI. According to prosecutors, Wolfe communicated with a four reporters, using using encrypted messaging applications and his Senate email account, from 2015 to 2017. The media is up in arms as they claim their First Amendment rights have been violated by the seizure of their communication records by the DOJ. However, there will be no arrests of the media and no media names were included in the indictments. Tt is not a crime for the media to report the leak, but it is a crime to leak the classified information.
A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide was arrested on 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 sensitive information related to the committee’s work. He denied to investigators that he ever gave classified material to journalists, the indictment said.
Mr. Wolfe, the Intelligence Committee’s director of security, was slated to appear before a federal judge on Friday in Washington. Reached on 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. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.
In his role with the committee, Mr. Wolfe was responsible for safeguarding classified and other sensitive information shared with lawmakers. He stopped performing committee work in December and retired in May.
Court documents describe Mr. Wolfe’s communications with four reporters — including Ms. Watkins — using encrypted messaging applications. It appeared that the F.B.I. was investigating how Ms. Watkins learned that Russian spies in 2013 had tried to recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser. She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts.
Former U.S. Senate Employee Indicted on False Statements Charges
Longtime Director of Security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Accused of Lying to FBI About Repeated Contacts with Reporters
WASHINGTON – A former staff employee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has been indicted and arrested on charges of making false statements to special agents of the FBI during the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified information, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
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.”