Jeff Sessions recently announced that the Department of Justice would be increasing their efforts to catch and prosecute leakers of classified materials. This has been a main priority for President Trump after a number of leaks hit the news media dating back to when he was the president-elect. Today, they’ve got one. And who they caught is surprising.
A former senior Senate Intelligence Committee aide was charged with lying to the FBI agents last year. The agents were investigating leaks made to three reporters. James Wolfe, 58, was formerly the director of security for the Senate panel for almost 30 years. He officially left his post in May but stopped doing committee work in December 2017.
Wolfe apparently contacted reporters with encrypted message applications. He also allegedly gave two reporters “non-public” information about committee work.
The Hill has more details:
“Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a joint statement that they ‘have fully cooperated’ with the FBI and DOJ. They also said that the Senate panel “has made certain official records available to the Justice Department” through the Senate Legal Counsel.
“’We are troubled to hear of the charges filed against a former member of the Committee staff. While the charges do not appear to include anything related to the mishandling of classified information, the Committee takes this matter extremely seriously,’ they said.
“’This news is disappointing, as the former staffer in question served on the Committee for more than three decades, and in the Armed Forces with distinction. However, we trust the justice system to act appropriately and ensure due process as this case unfolds,’ they continued, adding the case would ‘in no way interfere’ with the panel’s ongoing probe into Russia’s election meddling.”
On Thursday the DOJ confiscated phone and email records from NY Times reporter Ali Watkins. She was in a relationship with Wolfe for three years. She is not cooperating with federal agents but has not yet been charged.