Must-Read Facts on New York Times Reporter Ali Watkins

Intelligence Committee CIA nominee Gina Haspel center seated testifies during a confirmation hearing in Washington

Intelligence Committee CIA nominee Gina Haspel center seated testifies during a confirmation hearing in Washington

Wolfe, a former security director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) was indicted and arrested late Thursday for allegedly lying to the FBI as part of an investigation related to the leak of classified information in December a year ago. He made a brief appearance in federal court in Baltimore Friday, where U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson released him from custody and ordered him to appear at the federal courthouse in Washington next week. "WOLFE and REPORTER #2 also communicated with each other through encrypted ceIl phone applications".

The Freedom Forum Institute, a media rights organization, said the case is the first in the Trump administration in which a reporter's records have been seized. He said he was still getting details on the case.

"I'm a big, big believer in freedom of the press", Trump told reporters before departing for a trip to Canada. He allegedly shared classified information with them. "It has to remain classified".

One of the four reporters who prosecutors alleged received information from Wolfe was identified as New York Times correspondent Ali Watkins, the newspaper said Thursday night, adding that the Senate staffer and Watkins had a romantic relationship that began about four years ago.

The FBI asserted that Wolfe had helped Watkins with articles while they were dating but Watkins said Wolfe was not a source of classified information during their relationship, according to the Times.

Watkins' records were seized as part of an investigation into Jim Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

In an indictment unsealed late Thursday, prosecutors charged James Wolfe with three counts of making false statements to federal authorities.

Wolfe, a former Army intelligence analyst, stopped performing committee work in December and retired in May.

In early 2013, for example, the Obama DOJ led by Attorney General Eric Holder secretly obtained the home and cell phone numbers of individual AP journalists, in what the news agency called a "serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news".

He also said that though he saw journalists every day as part of his job, he never spoke to them about anything related to the committee.

The committee placed Wolfe on leave and revoked his access to the committee spaces and material the day of his Federal Bureau of Investigation interview, according to a committee source who asked not to be identified in order to discuss its internal operations.

The indictment alleges Watkins and Wolfe spoke on the phone for about seven minutes shortly after the piece was published.

The Senate intelligence committee holds a confirmation hearing for CIA nominee Gina Haspel last month.

Late on Thursday evening, the Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner issued a statement, calling the news "disappointing". He happened to sit amid a flow of juicy information as director of security for the same Senate committee. Previously, Trump has suggested that reporters should be jailed for publishing classified information.

The investigation of Wolfe came to light this week after the committee said that it was cooperating with the Justice Department "in a pending investigation arising out of the unauthorized disclosure of information". That reminds us of a few things - one, that President Obama was sharply criticized by the media for going after leakers in the way that his administration did. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the Justice Department may change some of those rules, which some prosecutors say have hindered investigations.

According to the Times, this is the first time the Trump administration has sought a reporter's records.

Obtaining a reporter's records is considered an "extraordinary" measure that must be approved by top Justice Department officials, according to the guidelines for federal prosecutors.

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