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Tag: Leaks

Ex-Senate Aide James Wolfe Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI about Contacts with Reporters

Jim Wolfe (Linkedin photo)

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide pleaded guilty on Monday to lying to the FBI about contacts with reporters covering the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

James A. Wolfe, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents in a December interview in which he denied providing unclassified but protected information about a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify before the committee.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two similar charges and recommend what amounts to zero to six months in jail, The New York Times reports

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20.

Wolfe had been in charge of handling classified information provided to the committee for 28 years.

During the investigation, information was brought to light that investigators had violated Justice Department guidelines by secretly seizing years of records from a reporter’s phone and email without giving the required advance notices to the news organizations where she had worked.

Wolfe’s lawyers emphasized in a statement that their client had not been charged with leaking classified information.

“We have seen numerous distortions on social and other media of the facts of this matter,” they said. “So we emphasize again today that Jim was never charged with having compromised classified information, nor is such a charge part of today’s plea. Jim has accepted responsibility for his actions and has chosen to resolve this matter now so that he and his family can move forward with their lives.”

Eric Starkman: Reporters’ Conflicts of Interest, Romance And All

Eric Starkman is free-lance writer living in Los Angeles.

By Eric Starkman

Reading about Ali Watkins, the New York Times reporter romantically involved with the former Senate aide arrested for lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, I wasn’t alone recalling the immortal words of the newspaper’s legendary editor Abe Rosenthal: “I don’t care if you f…k an elephant, just so long as you don’t cover the circus.” Rosenthal, whose tombstone says, “He kept the paper straight,” made the comment when he was asked why he fired a Times reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer after discovering she slept with one of her sources while working there.

But those who believe that sleeping with sources violates a cardinal journalism rule are clinging to an era when newsrooms were littered with Olivetti typewriters and pneumatic tubes. The practice is widespread and known and countenanced by editors for decades.  In the more than four decades I worked in media and public relations, comprised reporters and other journalistic wrongdoing was commonplace. One example is the Times editor romantically involved with a PR executive whose clients the newspaper was always magically interested in.

But don’t take my word on this.

In 2009, Gawker published this story about Times reporters involved with their sources, including former White House correspondent Todd Purdum, who married Clinton spokesperson Dee Dee Myers, and reporter Bernard Weinraub, who covered Hollywood while dating then Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal. Four years later, the Washington Post published a headlined story, “Media, administration deal with conflicts (emphasis mine),” and chronicled the pervasiveness of the Beltway’s incestuous relationships. Breitbart has published a more current list of possibly conflicted Washington reporters.

Rosenthal declared his edict when the Times reigned supreme and competition was considerably more limited. In his day, being right was a bigger priority than being first, and the Times was careful to print only information that it had independently verified. The Times rarely exceled on the first day of a breaking story, but its second-day reporting ran circles around the competition. Hence the moniker, “The newspaper of record.”

Read more »

GOP Trying to Pinpoint DOJ-FBI Leaks to Media That Might Be Creating Anti-Trump Spin

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Political allies of President Donald Trump are working hard to prove a bias on the part of the Justice Department when it comes the Trump-Russia investigation.

In recent weeks, GOP congressional investigators have publicly and privately questioned senior Justice Department and FBI leaders about interactions with reporters covering the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, hoping to expose any leaks by law enforcement to help put an anti-Trump spin on the case, Kyle Cheney of Politico reports.

“There are a number of other inappropriate communications that have transpired between the FBI/DOJ and media outlets that have not been disclosed,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative and member of the Oversight Committee, according to Politico.

 

Manafort Calls on Justice Department to Investigate Leak of FBI Wiretaps

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is urging the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate who leaked to the media information about the FBI conducting several wiretap probes of him, Bloomberg reports.  

Manafort also is asking the Justice Department to release “any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there,” Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement Tuesday.

Using leaked information, CNN reported Monday that two FISA court orders were obtained by the FBI to authorize wiretapping of Manafort before and after the presidential election.

Of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement on Tuesday. The Justice Department’s inspector general “should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.” 

Rosenstein: Leak Investigations Won’t Target Journalists

typewriter-reporterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s escalation of probes into government leaks will not target journalists, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Sunday.

“We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs,” Rosenstein said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s not our goal here.”

The Justice Department announced last week that it was stepping up investigation into government leaks. Under the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said leak investigations have tripled.

“We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer,” Sessions said at a news conference Friday.

Rosenstein clarified Sessions’ position on Sunday.

“The attorney general has been very clear that we’re after the leakers, not the journalist,”  Rosenstein said. “We’re after the people who are committing crimes.”

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Vows to Crackdown on Leakers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some critics have said President Donald Trump has often been more obsessed with leaks than the substance involving possible improprieties.

Now, the  the Justice Department is responding, vowing to aggressively prosecute government officials who leak classified information, the Daily Beast reports.

 

“As the Attorney General has said, the Department of Justice takes unlawful leaks very seriously and those that engage in such activity should be held accountable,” an official told The Daily Beast.

 

Trump Slams FBI for Being Unable to Contain Leaks about His Administration

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump once again blasted the intelligence community, this time slamming the FBI for failing to prevent leaks inside the bureau.

“The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security “leakers that have permeated our government for a long time,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”

Trump fired off the tweets a day after it was discovered that his administration tried to get the FBI to undermine evidence of ties between his campaign team and Russia during the presidential election.

This is just the latest round of attacks aimed at the intelligence community.

Homeland Security ‘Spilled’ Classified Information 100+ Times Last Year

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security “spilled” classified information more than 100 times lat year, and 40% of those breaches came from one office, Bloomberg View reports.

Lawmakers and authorities warned that classified information is at risk until Homeland Security can better protect sensitive intelligence.

A “spill” is “the accidental, inadvertent, or intentional introduction of classified information into an unclassified information technology system, or higher-level classified information into a lower-level classified information technology system, to include non-government systems,” a Homeland Security official explained.

That may mean using a personal e-mail to send or receive classified material, using the wrong kind of copier or failing to properly classify sensitive information.

An internal document obtained by Bloomberg View revealed 119 classified spills in fiscal year 2015. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis in Washington had the most spills.