Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Justice Department Seized New York Times Reporter's Phone, Email Records

Justice Department Seized New York Times Reporter's Phone, Email Records

Wolfe had been the committee's security director for almost 30 years. He was responsible for receiving, maintaining and managing classified material that passed between the White House and Senate lawmakers.

He also made false statements about providing two reporters with non-public information related to the matters occurring before the SSCI, the release said.

James Wolfe, 58, was indicted on three counts of making false statements about his contacts with three reporters.

The New York Times said Thursday that their reporter Ali Watkins - who has covered national security for Politico - received a letter from the US Attorney's Office in Washington, DC, in February that notified her of the legal action.

Brad Dayspring, a Politico spokesman, said in a statement: "Ms. Watkins' primary beat during her short time at POLITICO was not the Senate Intelligence Committee, which we had two reporters covering, but national security and law enforcement, including topics relating to China, worldwide spy games, and Cuba". She did not answer their questions.

"During the same interview with the F.B.I., Mr. Wolfe denied knowing Ms. Watkins". Confronted with photographs of he and Watkins together, he relented, admitting he had lied, but denying discussing or passing Senate Intelligence Committee information to her.

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"While the charges do not appear to include anything related to the mishandling of classified information, the committee takes this matter extremely seriously", the panel's chairman, Republican Senator Richard Burr, and its top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, said in a statement.

Wolfe, who is from Ellicott City, Md., was expected to appear in court on Friday, prosecutors said, but the AP says it was not immediately clear if he has retained a lawyer. Last year, he said the department was pursuing about three times as many leak investigations as were open at the end of the Obama administration. He further indicated that he had not had a personal relationship with any of the journalists.

Wolfe was arrested and indicted on charges of lying to the FBI on Thursday as part of that investigation. A few weeks later, "REPORTER #2" published an online article that revealed the identity of "MALE-1".

The criminal case arises from a December 2017 Federal Bureau of Investigation interview with Wolfe in which he denied having relationships with journalists or discussing committee business with them.

"Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges", MacDougall added.

Katie Pavlich agreed on "America's Newsroom" that the government has every right to prosecute people for leaking classified information, but at the same time reporters have a "valid reason to be concerned" about how the government goes about seizing reporters' electronic information. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have decried such disclosures, with Sessions saying in August that the number of leak of criminal leak probes had more than tripled in the early months of the Trump administration.

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