Swampy Director of Security for Senate Intel Committee Admits to Lying to FBI About Disclosing Information to Reporter
James A. Wolfe, the longtime director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, pleaded guilty Monday to making false statements to federal agents. Put plainly, the former committee employee selectively leaked classified and incomplete information to The New York Times, in a manner intended to politically damage President Donald Trump.
Worth noting, Big Media and lawmakers claimed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) was conducting the “serious investigation” into Russia and the 2016 election. The House Intelligence Committee run by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is almost single-handedly responsible for actual oversight that led to unveiling of abuses of secret spying programs.
Their counterparts in the U.S. Senate — specifically, Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C, and Ranking Member Mark Warner, D-Va. — have done little but get caught up in their own Russian ties and propose limited free speech through social media and other venues.
Wolfe, 57, of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of making a false statement to special agents of the FBI during the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified national security information.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, and Special Agent in Charge Timothy M. Dunham of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Wolfe was indicted in June 2018 on three false statements charges. However, under the plea agreement he reached with federal prosecutors, the government will move to dismiss the remaining counts at sentencing in December.
“At the time Wolfe made the false statement to the FBI, he was the Director of Security for the SSCI, a position he held for more than 28 years,” the Justice Department (DOJ) said in a statement. “As SSCI Director of Security, Wolfe was entrusted with receiving, maintaining, and managing classified national security information provided to the SSCI by the Executive Branch of the United States.”
A statement of offense filed at the hearing revealed the FBI opened an investigation in April 2017 into the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information that had appeared in a specific article published by a national news organization. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the federal government has opened more cases against leakers than ever before.
However, it is also true that politically-motivated leaking had become unprecedented under the Trump Administration.
In December 2017, the FBI interviewed Wolfe, who was asked specifically about whether he had been in contact with any reporters and, if so, who those reporters were, and what were the nature and extent of those contacts and the means by which those contacts occurred.
On October 16, 2017, and again on October 24, 2017, Wolfe provided Ali Watkins at The New York Times with non-public information concerning a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify before the SSCI. Wolfe also admitted making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with three additional reporters, including Ms. Watkins.
The charge of making a false statement to special agents of the FBI is a felony punishable by a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.
DOJ said sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson will hand it down on December 20.
The investigation into this matter is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Ballantine and Tejpal S. Chawla and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Ingersoll of the District of Columbia, with assistance from the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.