Ever since Donald Trump first began to chart a course that would end with him residing in the White House, it seems that ‘leaks’ to the media have become extremely common. There are numerous ongoing investigations trying to find the source of these leaks, and on Thursday, it seems that they scored their first suspect.
The Department of Justice, working alongside Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, received access to information from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday. Less than a day later, they had already found at least one culprit involved in these leaks. Jeff Sessions has indicted at least one leaker, who had a 30-year relationship with the federal government working as a security director. Nice to see that while he seemed to be ignoring the leaks, he was really hard at work going after the perpetrators.
He was allegedly busted for lying to the FBI during their investigation into illegal leaks to the mainstream media.
According to prosecutors in the case, Wolfe lied to the FBI in December 2017, and was dishonest about the contact he had with three separate reporters.
They also claim that he lied about giving information that was not readily available to the public to two reporters.
Before his arrest on Thursday, the New York Times claimed that federal prosecutors seized multiple years’ worth of email data and phone records related to its reporter, Ali Watkins, likely in searching for the leak.
Watkins had previously had a three-year-long relationship with Wolfe.
According to the grand jury indictment against the former Senate employee, on (or ‘about’) December 15, 2017, FBI agents interviewed him in Washington D.C. This interview was non-custodial in nature and entirely voluntary, meaning he could have gotten up and left at any time, refused to answer, or indeed, even refused to show up to the interview.
The indictment, which was just unsealed this morning, suggested that Wolfe “orally volunteered” that he never talked to any of the three named reporters about anything related to his work at the SSCI.
After the government employee filled out a questionnaire, claiming he had no relationship with the reporters being investigated, the FBI pounced, and asked about an article written by ‘REPORTER #2,’ as she is known in the indictment.
Wolfe said he didn’t know about #2’s sources for the article they mentioned. However, when the agents showed him pictures they had of the pair together, he relented, admitted that he lied on the questionnaire, and proclaimed that he was in a relationship with the said reporter since sometime in 2014.
Most likely, this refers to Ali Watkins.
The indictment alleges more dishonesty, however. Even though Wolfe claimed that he only had communications with her, the Bureau found extensive evidence of contact with other reporters, including two cases where he discussed information not available to the general public.
They also found that he used his personal cell-phone and his government email account to contact these reporters.
The paperwork points out that in a year and a half, between December 2015 and June 2017, they found at least five instances where Wolfe contacted ‘REPORTER #1’ (whose identity is still unknown), using his government-issued email account.
It also claimed that he would frequently meet with reporters, including ‘REPORTER #2’ (likely Ali Watkins) and ‘REPORTER #3’ (identity unknown), in places where he believed no one would hear them, including the Hart Senate Office Building.
The DOJ even claimed that ‘REPORTER #2’ published an article involving secret and top-secret information shortly after meeting with Wolfe.
Just as interesting as the identity of the individual who leaked information to multiple members of the press, however, is the newfound uproar over the methods used to investigate the leak.
The New York Times and other left-leaning media outlets suddenly find themselves in a tizzy over the fact that the Trump administration went through a proper investigation and demanded emails from media outlets.
Somehow, this is an assault on the free press when the Trump administration does it, but it’s completely fine, or not worth mentioning, when Barack Obama’s administration did the same thing?
The DOJ under Obama did much worse to Sharryl Atkisson, then working for CBS, and James Rosen, a reporter for Fox News, including threatening them with time in a federal prison for refusing to divulge their sources.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to investigate a leak. This is what the right way generally looks like.
If the mainstream media wishes to maintain a veneer of credibility when it comes to ‘protecting sources,’ they’ll need to begin by showing an even-handed response no matter who the government’s targets are.
Hopefully, this will be the first of many leakers to be caught, and may even lead to knowledge of who, exactly, leaked stories from the FBI offices of Andrew McCabe and James Comey designed to denigrate the president.