NYT reporter's past tweets come back to haunt amid leak case

Leroy Wright
June 10, 2018

INSKEEP: So what exactly did Wolfe do according to - according to prosecutors?

A prosecutor informed Watkins in a February 13 letter that the Justice Department had obtained records and subscriber information from communications companies, including Google and Verizon, pertaining to two email accounts and a phone number belonging to her, according to the Times, which learned of the letter on Thursday.

Wolfe will appear before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Friday, according to media reports. But when presented with a photograph of the two of them together, Wolfe acknowledged that he and Watkins had had a years-long romantic relationship.

Wolfe, of Ellicott City, Maryland, did not answer questions from reporters.

By Friday morning, the case had already begun setting off partisan fireworks.

He allegedly revealed, on multiple occasions, classified information about the committee's investigation into allegations of collusion between members of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian interests seeking to influence the USA election.

President Donald Trump has been criticized for his crackdown on the press as part of his obsession with leaks. "I'm a big, big believer in freedom of the press. It has to remain classified".

Wolfe allegedly called her almost a half-hour after the story went live and had a phone conversation for about seven minutes. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and the panel's ranking Democrat, Sen.

Information related to the espionage campaign had been given to the Senate Intelligence Committee two weeks earlier, according to the indictment.

NYT said yesterday, it learnt of a February letter informing Watkins that her records had been obtained, adding that those records covered a period before she started working for NYT late past year.

Wolfe, 57, was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. His wife was listed as the complainant. Wolfe cautioned the reporter to "never use [his] name" to any colleagues, the indictment said. The clearances are reviewed every five years. A government employee's security clearance can be denied if they have a criminal record of any sort. We advocated for them when insurance companies said no because they had a headache some years previously and now had a brain tumor and the insurance companies refused to cover it. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents confronted Mr. Wolfe about leaking classified information to reporters.

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Facing an uproar at the time, the Justice Department eventually tightened its rules for pursuing reporter records, though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ramped up leak investigations under the Trump administration. At the same time, we need freedom of the press.

"It's very interesting that they caught a leaker.it's a very important leaker", the President said while speaking to reporters at the White House.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, taking fire for aggressive investigative tactics taken against journalists, pledged in 2013 that he would "not prosecute any reporter" for doing their jobs. No changes have been made public to date, however.

The case raised new concerns about whether journalists would be targeted as part of national security investigations, despite the constitutional protection of the media under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. They said he denied those contacts.

She added that the Justice Department's actions "will endanger reporters' ability to promise confidentiality to their sources and, ultimately, undermine the ability of a free press to shine a much needed light on government actions". The indictment indicates that investigators obtained copies of many of those messages.

In recent months, Wolfe has been responsible for accompanying witnesses to the committee's secure spaces in relation to the Russian Federation inquiry.

Based on the information in the indictment, REPORTER #2 is Watkins.

The FBI was particularly interested in an article by Watkins that revealed that Russian figures had tried to recruit Carter Page in 2013.

Reporter Ali Watkins, age 22, made an immediate imprint on Washington journalism in 2014, helping McClatchy News win Pulitzer honors for an insider story about the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. She broke that news in a Buzz Feed article 14 months ago. She did inform the New York Times, where she now works, before she was hired.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that March, "Ali Watkins, now a 22-year-old freelancer for McClatchy in Washington, D.C., received a tip from sources who came to trust her while making herself a presence on Capitol Hill, according to a posting by Temple's School of Media and Communication".

In a statement, Watkins' attorney, Mark J. MacDougall, called the seizure of his client's telephone records "disconcerting".

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