A former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee — who was in charge of maintaining all classified information from the Executive Office to the Senate Intelligence Committee — was indicted on charges of giving false statements to FBI agents looking into possible leaks to reporters, the Justice Department announced Thursday night.
James A. Wolfe, 58, served as the panel’s security director for 29 years, according to the feds. He was responsible for receiving, maintaining all classified information from the Executive Office to the committee.
Prosecutors said Wolfe lied to the FBI in December 2017 about contacts he had with three reporters. Prosecutors say he also lied about giving two reporters non-public information about committee matters.
Earlier Thursday, the New York Times revealed that federal investigators had seized years’ worth of email and phone records relating to one of its reporters, Ali Watkins. She previously had a three-year romantic relationship with Wolfe, the Times reported, adding that the records covered a period of time before she joined the paper.
Wolfe reportedly told FBI agents in 2017 that he lied to them about his relationship with a reporter identified in court papers as “REPORTER #2” after he was shown photos of the two of them together. But he maintained that he did not share any classified information or news leads.
Wolfe allegedly was in contact with the reporter and exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications and often daily phone calls, according to the indictment. He would also meet at the reporter’s apartment, court papers alleged.
Wolfe had extensive contact with reporters about “MALE-1,” who was reportedly identified as Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
Wolfe received classified information about “MALE-1” on the same day he exchanged 82 text messages with “REPORTER #2,” according to the indictment. A few weeks later, “REPORTER #2” published an online article that revealed the identity of “MALE-1.”
On April 3, 2017, Watkins’ byline appeared on a BuzzFeed article that revealed that Page had met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013.
Wolfe allegedly called “REPORTER #2” nearly a half-hour after the story went live and had a phone conversation for about seven minutes.
In December 2017, Wolfe texted “REPORTER #2.”
“I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism. … I always tried to give you as much Information (sic) that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else. … I always enjoyed the way that you would pursue a story,like nobody else was doing in my hal1way (sic). I felt like I was part of your excitement and was always very supportive of your career and the tenacity that you exhibited to chase down a good story.”
It is alleged that Wolfe used several means to contact reporters, including Signal and WhatsApp. He also met “clandestinely in person,” in secluded areas of the Hart Senate Office Building, the indictment charges.
Wolfe is expected to make his first court appearance Friday. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.