How a reporter’s romance with her source muddies the FBI’s seizure of her records Wolfe, 57, has been charged with lying to the FBI, which says he initially denied knowing Watkins before being confronted with photographs of the two of them together; he then admitted to a romantic relationship that began in 2014. That year Watkins, then a 22-year-old senior at Temple University, helped McClatchy newspapers break a story related to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wolfe was the committee's security director. Temple boasted about Watkins's role in the scoop, at the time: Journalism major Ali Watkins spent some of her internship at McClatchy DC News hanging around elevators and locked doors — but not because she was idle. Rather, she was establishing relationships with people who might serve as sources for stories. And in December 2013, her creative persistence paid off. A breaking national story was the direct result of tips she received through unnamed sources with whom she has developed trusting relationships since she began reporting for McClatchy in May 2013. Watkins's student email records were among those seized by the FBI during the investigation of Wolfe. FNYT WASHINGTON — A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide was arrested on Thursday in an investigation of classified information leaks where prosecutors also secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records. The former aide, James A. Wolfe, 57, was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with sensitive information related to the committee’s work. He denied to investigators that he ever gave classified material to journalists, the indictment said. Mr. Wolfe, the Intelligence Committee’s director of security, was slated to appear before a federal judge on Friday in Washington. Reached on Thursday evening before his arrest, Mr. Wolfe declined to comment. Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama. News media advocates consider the idea of mining a journalist’s records for sources to be an intrusion on First Amendment freedoms, and prosecutors acknowledge it is one of the most delicate steps the Justice Department can take. “Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and communications between journalists and their sources demand protection,” said Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman. Ms. Watkins’s personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said: “It’s always disconcerting when a journalist’s telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department — through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process. Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges.” So…. 22 year old Watkins… was shacking up with 53-year-old, married Wolfe…. in exchange for intel… for FOUR YEARS. They had already had this arrangement going prior to Trump. And when Trump stepped into office, they decided to turn against him.