Trump Continues Obama's Pursuit of Leakers by Snooping on Media Contacts

DOJ investigating ex Senate Intel staffer for leaking information

Greg Nash

Ms. Watkins's personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said: "It's always disconcerting when a journalist's telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department-through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process".

Wolfe, 57, is a former Army intelligence analyst who worked for the Senate for over 30 years. He was working as Director of Security for the SSCI, a position he held for approximately 29 years when he made false allegations.

In a joint statement, committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) and vice chair Mark Warner (D-VA) said they were "troubled" by the charges against Wolfe but planned to move forward with their investigation.

Watkins is referring to T.V. show "House of Cards" character Zoe Barnes, who is a reporter and has a personal relationship with Congressman Frank Underwood in order to get stories.

Per the filing, Wolfe told "Reporter #3" on October 16 that he served Page with a subpoena, and the next day agreed to the reporter's request to provide Page's contact information.

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Watkins denied that Wolfe was a source of classified information when they were dating, and says she disclosed the relationship to her editors at BuzzFeed News, Politico, and the New York Times at the time. But as reported earlier on Thursday evening by TheBlaze, a New York Times reporter's private messages were seized by the Department of Justice.

The FBI had secretly seized records of Watkins' communications with Wolfe.

The indictment charges Wolfe with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and details how Wolfe passed classified information, including presumably information related to one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page, to a series of media outlets, confirming long-standing suspicions of the career intelligence community's complicity in leaks.

As part of the probe, the Justice Department took the unusual step of seizing Watkins' phone and email records.

News of the Trump administration's investigation into Watkins' communications comes a day after Wolfe's arrest and indictment on charges of lying to the FBI about his communications with reporters.

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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.

Dayspring added, "Any time that a journalist's ability to do their job is threatened in a manner such as this, it's a major concern".

The case is likely to spur a robust discussion in the coming days ahead about targeting the communications of journalists as lawmakers continue to demand highly classified documents related to the Russian Federation investigation.

If the manner by which the Justice Department pursued these records sounds familiar, it should: Something similar happened in 2013 when the Justice Department collected two months of phone records from Associated Press reporters to try to track down the source of a leak about a Central Intelligence Agency operation in Yemen. He's scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. "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".

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Wolfe was arrested in connection with a Department of Justice information into the unauthorized disclosure of non-public information.

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