A top Treasury Department employee was dramatically arrested holding a flash drive with ‘Suspicious Activity Reports’ (SAR) and “highly sensitive material relating to Russia, Iran, and the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” this week, according to prosecutors.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior official at the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), was charged with illegally giving a reporter bank reports documenting several suspicious financial transactions, known as Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”), from October 2017 to the present.
“The financial transactions involved Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina and the Russian Embassy,” federal officials stated.
An unidentified, higher-ranking Treasury associate, identified only as an “associate director” at FinCEN, to whom Edwards reported, was cited as a co-conspirator with Edwards, but was not charged.
Apparently, that unnamed person “exchanged more than 300 messages with a reporter via an encrypted messaging application.”
Edwards saved thousands of SARs, “along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information,” to a government-provided flash drive.
She admitted sending the SARs to the reporter by “taking photographs of them and texting the photographs.”
The files were allegedly saved to a folder on the flash drive under “Debacle\Emails\Asshat.”
Fox news reported, “During her interviews with FBI agents, Edwards initially denied any contact with the news media, and called herself a ‘whistleblower’ who saved the SARs for ‘record-keeping.’
“The journalist’s name Edwards allegedly spoke with was not disclosed in court papers. But the documents list about a dozen stories published by Buzzfeed News over the past year-and-a half, including an article headlined, ‘GOP Operative Made ‘Suspicious’ Cash Withdrawals During Pursuit of Clinton Emails.’ Another article was titled, ‘These 13 Wire Transfers Are A Focus of the FBI Probe Into Paul Manafort.’”
“The most recent Buzzfeed article cited in the charging documents was published on Monday.”
“A review to date, pursuant to a judicially-authorized search warrant executed today, of Edwards’ personal cellphone has revealed that the cellphone contains the substance of many of these communications, including … communications in which Edwards transmitted or described” SARs to a reporter, FBI Special Agent Emily Eckstut wrote in the arrest warrant.
“At the time she was questioned, Edwards was also in possession of a flash drive that appeared to be the same drive on which she saved the SARs,” Eckstut added.
Buzzfeed declined to comment.
“In her position, Edwards was entrusted with sensitive government information. As we allege here today, Edwards violated that trust when she made several unauthorized disclosures to the media,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “Today’s action demonstrates that those who fail to protect the integrity of government information will be rightfully held accountable for their behavior.”
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said Edwards “betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information.”
According to documents, Edwards also sent the reporter “internal Treasury Department emails, investigative memos and intelligence assessments.”
Many conservatives agree that such ‘resistance’ must be stamped out. Permanently.
Fox News added:
Edwards’ arrest comes after a former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee pleaded guilty to one count of giving a false statement to FBI agents looking into leaks of national security information to several reporters — including one now at the New York Times whom he dated before she joined the paper.
James Wolfe, who served as the Senate panel’s security director, lied to the FBI in December 2017 about contacts he had with three reporters, according to a statement of offense released Monday as part of his guilty plea. He also allegedly lied about giving two reporters non-public information about committee matters. His guilty plea on Monday to one count means that the other two counts against him will be dismissed.
And, just weeks ago, once-secret text messages revealed that anti-Trump ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had discussed a “media leak strategy” amid the Russia probe. Strzok and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were both fired for their conduct during that probe.
“I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go,” Strzok texted Page on April 10, 2017, according to Meadows, who cited newly produced documents from the Justice Department.
On April 22, Strzok wrote, “article is out! Well done, Page,” and on April 12 he told her that two negative articles about Page’s “namesake” would soon come out, according to Meadows. That was an apparent reference to Carter Page, the former Trump adviser whom the FBI surveilled for months after obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.