The Morning Briefing: Deep Stater Busted for Lying about Leaking and Much, Much More
Good Friday morning.
Here's what is on the president's agenda today:
- The president participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the president of the French Republic in Quebec
- President Trump participates in the official welcome of the G7 Summit
- The president participates in a working lunch and Session I of the G7 Summit
- President Trump participates in Session II of the G7 Summit
- The president participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the prime minister of Canada
- President Trump participates in a working dinner and Session III of the G7 Summit
- The president participates in a cultural event at the G7 Summit
Former Senate Intel staffer busted in leak probe
A former staffer on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI, actually pronounced "sissy") was busted for lying to the FBI about leaking classified information to the press. He wasn't busted for leaking, just lying, which is interesting. Here's the indictment if you want to read it. Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller writes:
The Trump Justice Department has seized a New York Times reporter’s email and phone records as part of an investigation into unauthorized leaks from a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer to multiple reporters.
According to The Times, the DOJ sent a letter in February to national security reporter Ali Watkins informing her that her phone and email records, including for an account that she used in college, had secretly been seized.
The seizure of Watkins’ communications is the first known instance of the Trump administration directly targeting reporters in leak investigations.
One of the reporters, Ali Watkins, who is in her 20s, had a 3-year relationship with the former director of security for the SSCI, James A. Wolfe, who is in his late 50s. (Did I see this storyline on House of Cards? I think I did.)
Wolfe, who worked in the Senate for 29 years and had access to Top Secret information, allegedly lied to FBI agents in December 2017 about his contacts with the three journalists, including Watkins.
A Justice Department spokesman said in the indictment that Wolfe used encrypted messaging apps to communicate with the journalists. He lied to FBI agents about providing non-public information to two reporters about Senate Intelligence matters.
Here's what the stinking security director of the SSCI, who handles the most sensitive data in the country, leaked to reporters including his lady friend.
According to the indictment, Wolfe provided classified information to Watkins for a March 17, 2017 article at BuzzFeed about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The article revealed that Page was interviewed by the FBI as a witness in a 2013 investigation of a Russian spy ring operating in New York. Page’s identity was masked — he was identified as “Male-1” — in the court papers for the case. The government claimed that Russian agents met with Page, possibly as an attempt to cultivate him as a source.
Page was not accused of wrongdoing in that investigation and gave a voluntary interview with the FBI for the case. But Watkins’ report has widely been cited as evidence of Page’s close ties to Russia. Page is accused in the infamous Steele dossier of being the Trump campaign’s conduit to the Kremlin for purposes of collusion. He has vehemently denied the allegations.