The Department of Justice announced in June that it arrested a former Senate staffer and charged him with lying to the FBI about his voluminous contacts with reporters who broke stories based on leaks of classified and sensitive information he was privy to. James Wolfe, 57, spent nearly 30 years on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence before leaving his director of security post, where he was responsible for receiving, maintaining, managing, and safeguarding the committee’s classified information.

The indictment detailed contacts with four of the reporters he claimed never to have dealt with, including one with whom he had a lengthy intimate relationship beginning while she was in college. The New York Times recently reported on that relationship between Ali Watkins, 26, one of their national security reporters, and Wolfe.

Watkins was nominated for a Pulitzer while a college intern at McClatchy for a story she co-wrote based on leaks regarding the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The Pulitzer Committee noted the nomination was for “timely coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture, demonstrating initiative and perseverance in overcoming government efforts to hide the details.”

Watkins later reported on national security, including the work of the committee, for Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Politico, before being hired at the Times. The Department of Justice seized years’ worth of her phone and email records as part of their investigation of Wolfe. All of the major players in this story — Watkins, Wolfe, The New York Times, and the Department of Justice — behaved in less than admirable fashion. Let’s look at the problems with each.




Everybody Is Wrong About The Ali Watkins Scoops-For-Sex Scandal