Longtime Director of Security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Accused of Lying to FBI About Repeated Contacts with Reporters
WASHINGTON – A former staff employee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has been indicted and arrested on charges of making false statements to special agents of the FBI during the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified information, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, and Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
James A. Wolfe, 57, of Ellicott City, Md., was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. At the time he made the alleged false statements to the FBI, Wolfe was Director of Security for the SSCI, a position he held for approximately 29 years. As SSCI Director of Security, Wolfe was entrusted with access to classified SECRET and TOP SECRET information provided by the Executive Branch, including the U.S. Intelligence Community, to the SSCI. In this position, Wolfe was responsible for safeguarding all classified information in the possession of the SSCI.
Wolfe is alleged to have lied to FBI agents in December 2017 about his repeated contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications. Wolfe is further alleged to have made false statements to the FBI about providing two reporters with non-public information related to the matters occurring before the SSCI.
“The Attorney General has stated that investigations and prosecutions of unauthorized disclosure of controlled information are a priority of the Department of Justice. The allegations in this indictment are doubly troubling as the false statements concern the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and confidential information,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Those entrusted with sensitive information must discharge their duties with honesty and integrity, and that includes telling the truth to law enforcement.”
“Mr. Wolfe’s alleged conduct is a betrayal of the extraordinary public trust that had been placed in him,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “It is hoped that these charges will be a warning to those who might lie to law enforcement to the detriment of the United States.”
“All individuals in positions of trust must be held to the highest of standards, as the American public deserves no less,” said Special Agent in Charge Dunham. “As alleged in this indictment, Mr. Wolfe failed to meet those standards in his repeated lies to federal agents concerning the unauthorized disclosure of information. His arrest demonstrates that this conduct will not be tolerated, and those that engage in it will be held accountable.”
Wolfe was arrested on June 7, 2018, and is expected to make his first appearance Friday, June 8, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The case is entitled United States v. James A. Wolfe, and the matter has been assigned to the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for each count of making a false statement to federal law enforcement agents is five years in prison. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant, if he is later convicted, will be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The investigation into this matter is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Columbia, with assistance from the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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