Clapper asks for leniency for Senate Intel’s former security director caught leaking, lying to FBI

DCNFLuke Rosiak, DCNF

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote a letter asking for leniency for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s former security director who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his contact with a reporter.

James Wolfe “lied to FBI agents in a December 2017 interview in connection with the FBI’s probe of leaks of information regarding the activities of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to various reporters,” his lawyer wrote. “It is a decision, along with his breaking his marital vows and violating his former employer’s rules regarding contacts with the media, that he deeply regrets.”

Clapper submitted a handwritten letter to the judge supporting Wolfe, saying “knowing Jim as I do, I know this whole experience — and its exposure in the media — has been very traumatic for him already. I would hope the court would consider his long and faithful service, as well as what he has endured so far — in sentencing and would recommend minimal confinement.”

Republican intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr and with Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein also wrote to “seek leniency in the sentencing of Mr. James Wolfe … we do not seek to diminish the seriousness of the allegations against Jim, nor diminish the significance of misleading federal agents … but we ask that the totality of his service and career be taken into consideration.”

The sentencing documents were first reported by Buzzfeed, which once employed Ali Watkins, a reporter with whom Wolfe had a relationship.

Separately, Feinstein’s driver was outed as a Chinese spy, something she quietly swept under the rug.

During a Dec. 15, 2017, interview with FBI agents, Wolfe denied knowing four separate reporters. But phone records and photographic evidence showed that Wolfe knew the journalists, according to a grand jury indictment.

He pleaded guilty in October to lying about his contacts with one reporter.

Wolfe appears to have given journalists information about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The government indictment suggests that Wolfe gave reporter Ali Watkins information about Page for an article that she published on April 3, 2017. He also allegedly provided information to reporters for an Oct. 17, 2017, story about a subpoena issued against Page.

Wolfe, 57, was in a multi-year relationship with the 26-year-old Watkins, who now works for The New York Times.

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