A former employee of the Senate intelligence committee has been arrested on charges of lying to the FBI about contacts he had with multiple reporters. James A. Wolfe, the longtime director of security for the committee—one of multiple congressional panels investigating potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign—was indicted on three false statement counts after prosecutors say he misled agents about his relationships with reporters. Though Wolfe is not charged with disclosing classified information, prosecutors say he was in regular contact with journalists who covered the committee, meeting them at restaurants, private residences, and in a Senate office building, per the AP. He also maintained a yearslong personal relationship with one reporter, which prosecutors say he lied about until being confronted with a photograph.
The indictment was announced soon after the New York Times revealed that the Justice Department had secretly seized the phone records and emails of one of its journalists, Ali Watkins, as part of the same leak investigation involving Wolfe. The newspaper said Watkins was approached by the FBI about a three-year relationship she had had with Wolfe when she worked at other publications. The newspaper also said Watkins maintained that Wolfe was not a source of classified information for her during their relationship. "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," said Watkins' attorney, Mark MacDougall.
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