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Former Senate staffer indicted for allegedly lying to FBI about contact with reporters

  • James A. Wolfe, a former director of security at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been indicted and arrested for allegedly lying to the FBI.
  • Wolfe allegedly made false statements about his repeated contacts with reporters, the DOJ said in a statement.
James A. Wolfe
Ting Shen | Xinhua | Getty Images
James A. Wolfe

A former staff employee for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been indicted and arrested for allegedly lying to the FBI, the Department of Justice said in a statement released Thursday.

James A. Wolfe, a former director of security at the SSCI, was indicted for allegedly lying to FBI agents in December last year about repeated contacts with three reporters, which included the use of encrypted messaging applications, the release said.

In addition, Wolfe allegedly lied to the agency about giving two reporters non-public information linked to "matters occurring before the SSCI."

The indictment did not elaborate on those matters.

Wolfe is expected to appear in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Friday.

Reporter's phone, emails seized

In his capacity as director of security, Wolfe had access to information classified "secret" and "top secret" that had been provided to the SSCI by the executive branch, and had been charged with protecting all classified information in the SSCI's ownership, the statement said.

Thursday's indictment announcement immediately followed a report in the New York Times that the Justice Department seized one of its reporter's phone and email records as part of an investigation into Wolfe.

FBI officials involved in that leaks investigation approached the reporter, Ali Watkins, about a romantic relationship she had with Wolfe, the Times reported.

Wolfe, who was arrested on Thursday, is expected to appear before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Friday.

According to the DOJ statement, the maximum penalty for each count of making a false statement to federal law enforcement stands at five years in prison.