A former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member was arrested and indicted on charges of lying to FBI agents over press leaks, the Department of Justice said today, in an investigation that saw the records of a New York Times journalist seized.
James Wolfe, 58, was indicted on three counts of making false statements about his contacts with three reporters.
Authorities said he also lied to the FBI about providing two of those reporters with private information about the work of the committee, of which he was director of security for around 29 years.
In his position, Wolfe had access to secret and top-secret information. He is set to appear before a federal court in Washington today.
As part of the probe, the Justice Department seized years of records related to two email accounts and a phone number belonging to one Ali Watkins, the Times reported.
It added that Watkins had been in a three-year romantic relationship with Wolfe. Wolfe's indictment references an admission to FBI agents in 2017 that he had falsely denied being in a relationship since 2014 with an unnamed reporter.
The Times said it learned of a February letter informing Watkins her records had been obtained on Thursday, adding those records covered a period before she started working for the Times in late 2017. The content of those communications was not obtained.
It spells the first known case of a journalist's records being seized under the Trump administration, which is engaged in a crackdown on leakers.
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