Yesterday Brian Ross, Today Ali Watkins – New York Times Moves “Reporter #2” of Of Washington DC…
The executive suite corporate media are making moves of journalists who all circle around the recently indicted senate intelligence committee staffer James Wolfe. The motivation for the moves is transparent.
James Wolfe has pleaded not guilty. A trial seems likely. It is virtually guaranteed that many, if not all, of James Wolfe’s media contacts will become part of the trial record if he takes his defense all the way to criminal court without coping a plea deal. That means there are potentially dozens of reporters, and corporate media outlets, who might find themselves -and their contacts with Wolfe- in the headlines as part of the evidence.
Anticipating this possibility, yesterday Brian Ross departed ABC and today the New York Times begins dealing with deep throat journalist Ali Watkins.
(Via NYT) The New York Times demoted a reporter who acknowledged a romantic relationship with a Senate staffer who is suspected of leaking information to journalists.
Times editor Dean Baquet said Tuesday he would reassign the reporter, Ali Watkins, from the paper’s Washington bureau to New York in the wake of revelations that she had been involved with James Wolfe, the former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Watkins covered the committee for a number of publications, although not the Times.
Interestingly, the Times is upset with Watkins not revealing the executed search warrant that seized her records.
A secondary issue for the Times was Watkins’s failure to tell her editors for nearly four months that federal prosecutors had seized her records as part of their investigation. The Department of Justice notified Watkins in February that her records were part of the investigation, but she withheld this highly unusual — and newsworthy — information on the advice of her attorney until early June. (read more)
Here again the reasoning is simple. The indictment against Wolfe was sealed until June 7th, 2018. The feds nailed Wolfe on December 15th, 2017. Everything happening between December 15th and June 7th is six months of the FBI hunting leakers and connecting leaks to journalists.
Ms. Ali Watkins, was identified and an appropriate search warrant was authorized by the court. Ms. Watkins was notified February 13, 2018. [Document link] No doubt part of that notification included her agreement, based on conversation with her lawyers, to keep quiet while the FBI continued the investigation; OR Ms. Watkins could be charged with interference and easily go from being a “subject in” to “the target of” an investigation…
Key word is “notified” on February 13th, 2018. While it is difficult to gain a search and seizure warrant on a journalist, it is noted a judge authorized a very extensive search warrant against “Reporter #2”. Cited statute HERE and HERE
Why is the New York Times apoplectic about not being notified? Because Ms. Ali Watkins was essentially a legal surveillance virus infecting all of her contacts at the newspaper for a period of four months. All of her electronic communication was at risk of being monitored; including all of the contacts and instructions she was getting from her bosses at the New York Times HQ.
The Bigger Story Behind the James Wolfe Indictment HERE