Former Senate Security director arrested for leaking to reporters

There’s a lot to unpack here. James Wolfe was Director of Security for the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence until retiring in January. He has just been arrested on federal charges for lying to the FBI about contacting reporters.

Specifically, he was in charge of classified documents. Justice says he leaked contents of a document, which had Secret and Top Secret areas, to REPORTER #2, who is New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. They are in a relationship.

Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to Secret and Top Secret documents. If you leak them and get caught, you are almost certainly screwed.

Wolfe stupidly thought encrypted message application Signal protected him. It didn’t. If someone gets access to the phone or router they can monitor everything. Those receiving Signal messages might save them. It’s just not secure.

The Senate yesterday voted overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis to cooperate with FBI on a certain area, which in retrospect, is obviously this.

From the indictment.

After WOLFE stated that he did not know about REPORTER #2’s sources, FBI agents confronted WOLFE with pictures showing WOLFE together with REPORTER #2. After being confronted, WOLFE admitted to the FBI agents that he had lied to them, and that he had engaged in a personal relationship with REPORTER #2 since 2014.

In or around December 2017,but before being interviewed by the FBI, WOLFE sent a text message to REPORTER #2 that included the following: “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 that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else.”

In or around March 2017, a particular Executive Branch agency agreed to fumish the SSCI with a specific classified document (“the Classified Document’) for official purposes. The Classified Document contained both SECRET and TOP SECRET information, including SECRET-level information regarding the identity and activities of the individual referred to in this Indictment as MALE-1.

On or about March 17,2017,the Classified Document was transported to the SSCI. As Director of Security, WOLFE received, maintained, and managed the Classified Document on behalf of the SSCI.

On or about March 17, 2017, WOLFE exchanged 82 text messages with REPORTER #2, and that evening engaged in a 28-minute phone call with REPORTER #2.

On or about April 3,2017, a news organization published an online article under REPORTER #2’s byline, that revealed the identity of MALE-1.