Politics

Former Senate Aide Admits Lying to FBI on Media Contacts

James A. Wolfe could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 for sharing the wrong information with journalists

Image Credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images & Screenshot, YouTube/MSNBC

Former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence security director James A. Wolfe (shown above left) has pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his media contacts, stemming from an investigation sparked in part by a romantic relationship with a New York Times reporter.

Wolfe agreed to plead guilty to lying to bureau agents on one occasion. But the investigation that resulted in his arrest and conviction concerned contacts with three reporters, at least two of whom he gave classified information.

The reporters were not named in the government’s filing on the plea deal.

“I always tried to give you as much information as I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else.”

During the FBI’s interrogation of Wolfe, he was asked repeatedly about specific meetings with journalists, which he denied.

But when FBI agents showed him photographs of him with one of the reporters, Wolfe admitted lying.

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Wolfe was quoted by the government as telling another reporter, “I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism … I always tried to give you as much information as I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else … I always enjoyed the way you pursued a story like nobody else was doing in my hallway.”

After his arrest in 2017, it was learned that Wolfe had been in a romantic relationship with Times reporter Ali Watkins (above right) for at least three years. Wolfe had first gone to work for the intelligence committee in 1987.

Watkins has not been charged in connection with Wolfe’s case.

Related: Prison Ahead for Senate Aide Who Gave Secrets to NYT Lover

Wolfe’s attorneys released a statement, saying, “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. We will have much more to say about the facts and Jim’s distinguished record of nearly three decades of dedicated service to the Senate and the intelligence community at his sentencing hearing.”

He could face up to five years in federal prison at a December 20 sentencing hearing and a fine of as much as $250,000, but Fox News reported that “he realistically faces up to six months in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines.”

Wolfe signed the pleading and said he did so with no “promises, agreements, understandings or conditions.” He also declared his satisfaction with the legal representation he had been provided by his attorneys.

Check out these tweets about the story:

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