Under Barack Obama’s administration, practically everyone in Washington, D.C. had reporters on speed dial. The culture of leaking was so pervasive that even the Security Director for the Senate Intelligence Committee (just indicted) was treacherously hand feeding classified information to four different reporters. He was sleeping with one of them.
However, what James A. Wolfe didn’t know was that for months, he had been the subject of a secret leak investigation. Agents found all the evidence that they needed to get an arrest warrant in his girlfriend’s email accounts and phone records. In fact, the New York Times has been raided for evidence.
Wolfe, who’s highly-paid job is safeguarding all the classified sensitive information “cheese” that goes to the lawmakers, is sitting in a jail cell. The “rat” was arrested Thursday, sending a clear signal that the Department of Justice is keeping their word to crack down on the moles scampering around Capitol Hill.
In charge of making sure that everything America’s intelligence gathering community does is legal, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence monitors the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and all our other secret spies.
After Wolfe was hauled off in handcuffs, the press learned, to their absolute horror, that several “year’s worth” of New York Times reporter Ali Watkins’ phone and email records were secretly seized in February as part of the leak inquest.
“We intend to get to the bottom of these leaks,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in November. “I think it has reached epidemic proportions. It cannot be allowed to continue, and we will do our best effort to ensure it does not continue.”
The DOJ snagged “years of records and subscriber information from telecommunications companies such as Google and Verizon for two email accounts and a phone number belonging to her.”
Reporters for the left-leaning major media outlets, who have been divulging classified information only to smear President Donald Trump and his administration, are terrified to find out who will be next.
Under the law, the Justice Department is required to notify reporters before seizing their records. That lets them “negotiate over the scope of their demand for information and potentially challenge it in court.”
That didn’t happen this time because the government applied “an exception.”
The attorney general can “make an exception” if there are “compelling reasons” that giving notice would “pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security, or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.”
Wolfe was in charge of securing “one of the most tightly secured groups in Congress, with strict rules for lawmakers and the professional staff governing the circulation and release of sensitive, and often classified, information that passes before the committee.”
What he leaked clearly fell in the “grave harm to national security” category. If Watkins knew her texts and emails were being read by the FBI, she would have gone running to Wolfe, tipping him off. That would be a clear threat to the investigation’s integrity.
The bureau investigation started by digging into how Watkins learned some secret information that she used in an article last year, published by BuzzFeed News April 3, 2017.
She described how in 2013, “Russian spies” tried to “recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser.” In her article, Page “confirmed the contacts.”
Wolfe “stopped performing committee work in December,” for unknown reasons. Hindsight indicates it’s related to the ongoing investigation.
The timing lines up with when they asked him if he ever gave any classified material to a journalist, and he denied it. Wolfe then retired in May. Yesterday, he was arrested and charged with “repeatedly” lying to the FBI.
Thanks to Watkins, the FBI now has all the proof they need that “Mr. Wolfe used an encrypted messaging app” to tip off reporters.
After the FBI asked Watkins some preliminary questions about her relationship with Wolfe, informing her they were investigating the leak that appeared in her story, nothing further was done until February, when they quietly subpoenaed her records.
They notified her after the fact by a letter from the DOJ’s national security division. Watkins’ employer, the New York Times, didn’t learn about the seizure until after Wolfe was arrested yesterday.
Nobody had a clue about what was blowing in the wind until the Intelligence Committee released a puzzling statement on Wednesday that “it was cooperating with the Department of Justice in a pending investigation.”
At first, Wolfe denied even knowing Watkins, much less leaking to her, then he admitted to a 3-year “personal relationship” after they grilled him a little longer and showed him some photos of the two of them together.
In October of 2017, he told a second, unnamed, reporter that he had “served Mr. Page with a subpoena to testify before the committee.” After the article “disclosing that Mr. Page had been compelled to appear” was printed, Wolfe texted the journalist. “Good job! I’m glad you got the scoop,” court documents confirm.
Also in October of last year, Wolfe contacted reporter number three, offering “to serve as an unnamed source.”
Wolfe used his Senate email account with yet a fourth reporter. According to prosecutors, the relationship spanned “from 2015 to 2017.” Wolfe lied about all of those contacts.
According to the Attorney General, his men are doing three times the number of leak investigations Obama’s DOJ completed.