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Excellent piece by Martin Longman @BooMan ... fits well in my latest diaries about British spooks and RussiaGate and Operation Mockingbird ... such warm relations between DNI and the media, BuzzFeed in this case.

James Wolfe's Case is Extraordinary

Having read through the entire indictment of James Wolfe, I have to say that the Feds were justified in taking the extreme step of looking at New York Times reporter Ali Watkins's electronic records. I don't say this lightly, and I'm not convinced that they did everything correctly in this case, but the behavior of Wolfe constituted a legitimate national security risk warranting an override of the presumed reporter/source privilege.

The primary problem here was more general than the specific role of Ali Watkins. Mr. Wolfe was the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's director of security from May 1987 to December 2017. In that role, he was responsible for safeguarding classified and top secret material and handling highly sensitive intelligence provided to the committee by the executive branch of the government. When the executive branch handed over material to the committee pertaining to a counterintelligence investigation on Carter Page, that information promptly leaked to the press, resulting in an April 3, 2017 BuzzFeed article by Ms. Watkins. Then, subsequently, when a subpoena was issued to Mr. Page compelling his appearance before the committee, that news immediately leaked, too.

A bit of sleuthing by the FBI turned up pictures of Mr. Wolfe and Ms. Watkins together. When questioned on December 15, 2017, Wolfe denied having any contact or relationship with Watkins. But when confronted with the pictures, he confessed to having had a four-year romantic relationship with her while still denying that he was her source for the scoop on Page. Wolfe also lied about having contact and being a source for two other reporters.

Just like Emptywheel, this is my first question on the leaked intelligence case ...

On the James Wolfe Indictment: Don't Forget Carter Page | Emptywheel |

The indictment also reveals the government obtained Signal and WhatsApp call records and content; it seems to have been Wolfe's preferred means to communicate "securely." I suspect they obtained the communications after June 2017, by targeting Wolfe's phone. It's possible he voluntarily provided his phone after confronted with his lies, but I suspect they obtained the Signal content via other means, basically compromising his device as an end point. I'll return to this, but it appears DOJ has made a decision in recent days to expose the ease with which they can obtain Signal and other secure chat apps, at least in national security investigations, perhaps to make people less comfortable using it.

What I'd like to focus on, however, is the role of Carter Page in the indictment.

The government lays out clear proof Wolfe lied about conversations with three reporters. With Watkins and another, they point to stories about Carter Page to do so. The Watkins story is this one, confirming he is the person identified in the Evgeny Buryakov indictment. Another must be one of two stories revealing Page was subpoenaed for testimony by the Senate Intelligence Committee -- either this one or this one.

I'm most interested, however, in this reference to a story the FBI raised with Wolfe in its interview, a story for which (unlike the others) the indictment never confirms whether Wolfe is the source.

For that reason, I suspect this is the story they asked about -- whether Wolfe is a source for the original credible story on Carter Page's FISA order. The focus on Page generally in the indictment suggests this investigation started as an investigation into who leaked the fact that Page had been targeted under FISA, and continued to look at the stories that revealed classified details about the investigative focus on him (stories which he rightly complained to SSCI about).

Here's the backstory behind "Russiagate" the MSM won't tell you   by leveymg on Jun 23rd, 2017

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 04:25:49 PM EST

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