Former Senate Employee James Wolfe Lied To FBI, Arrested

The Justice Department is looking into whether a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide leaked classified information

Watkins has covered a number of high-profile national security stories during the Trump administration, including former Trump advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos' communications with Russians during and before the Trump campaign.

After FBI agents presented photos to Wolfe of him and Watkins together, he admitted to having a personal relationship with the reporter and confessed that he had lied about not sharing information with her. He is reportedly accused of sharing non-public information of the Committee's business to members of the press.

"The Attorney General has stated that investigations and prosecutions of unauthorized disclosure of controlled information are a priority of the Department of Justice", said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement.

According to the DOJ, Wolfe, security director for almost 30 years, had all the information classified "secret" and "top secret" provided by the Executive Branch, including the U.S. Intelligence Community, to the SSCI.

A longtime US Senate staffer was arrested late Thursday on charges of lying to federal agents as part of an investigation related to the unauthorized disclosure of non-public information, according to a federal indictment.

All reporters are unnamed in the indictment, but the Times identified Watkins. Wolfe is scheduled to make his initial appearance on Friday morning at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

In 2017, Wolfe reportedly admitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was untruthful in his statements about his personal relationship with a reporter, when he was confronted with photos of them together.

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The FBI asserted that Wolfe had helped Watkins with articles while they were dating but Watkins said Wolfe was not a source of classified information during their relationship, according to the Times.

James A. Wolfe, a former top aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of lying to the FBI about contacts with multiple reporters as part of the Justice Department's stepped up investigation of high-level leaks. "We were made aware of the investigation late past year and have fully cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice since then", they said.

In a text message to the same unidentified reporter in December, Wolfe allegedly wrote: "I've watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism".

Since seizing a journalist's records is so delicate - and potentially an intrusion on their First Amendment rights - there are special regulations the Justice Department must follow.

She also said she informed editors at BuzzFeed and Politico of the relationship.

"Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges", he said, according to the AP. "It is hoped that these charges will be a warning to those who might lie to law enforcement to the detriment of the United States".

Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both repeatedly emphasized the need to crack down on leaks of classified information.

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