Burr, Warner express disappointment over indictment of former Intel committee aide

Burr, Warner express disappointment over indictment of former Intel committee aide

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Sen. Mark Warner & Sen Richard Burr provide an intelligence briefing on the status of the Russia probe
Sen. Mark Warner & Sen Richard Burr provide an intelligence briefing on the status of the Russia probe, Photo by Doug Christian

WASHINGTON – Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) expressed disappointment following news of the indictment of a former committee aide who is charged with lying to investigators about media leaks.

“This news is disappointing, as the former staffer in question served on the Committee for more than three decades, and in the Armed Forces with distinction,” Burr and Warner said in a joint statement on Thursday evening. “However, we trust the justice system to act appropriately and ensure due process as this case unfolds. This will in no way interfere with our ongoing investigation, and the Committee remains committed to carrying out our important work on behalf of the American people.”

The senators said “the charges do not appear to include anything related to the mishandling of classified information.” The senators said they were informed of the investigation late-last year and that the committee has been cooperating with the FBI and the Department of Justice.

The three-felony count indictment identifies former Intelligence committee Director of Security James A. Wolfe as the defendant in the case. Wolfe was arrested on Thursday, according to DoJ.

The case has been assigned to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the indictment.

Wolfe will appear before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Friday, according to media reports.

In a December FBI interview, Wolfe was asked whether he had had communication with three reporters, according to the indictment. Wolfe said that he did not. Wolfe was shown a copy of a story the reporters wrote that contained classified information, according to the indictment.

Wolfe later admitted that he lied to investigators about having contact with one of the reporters after investigators furnished a picture of he and the reporter, according to the indictment. Wolfe told investigators that he had a “personal relationship” with the reporter but insisted that he did not provide classified information that was featured in the reporter’s story, according to the indictment.

The indictment does not identify the reporters.

The New York Times reported Thursday evening that the phone records and emails of its national security correspondent, Ali Watkins, were seized by federal investigators.

In April 2017, Watkins was employed by BuzzFeed. She wrote an article about Russian espionage efforts against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Information related to the espionage campaign had been given to the Senate Intelligence Committee two weeks earlier, according to the indictment.

 

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