INTL

FBI Details Intelligence Staffer Probe Ahead of Sentencing
Sentencing hearing for James Wolfe scheduled on Dec. 20

James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, leaves the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being booked on June 11. A sentencing hearing for Wolfe is scheduled for Dec. 20.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI faced a dilemma and had to take “extraordinary” actions when it realized in 2017 that the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared compromised in his role safeguarding information and had a clandestine relationship with a national security journalist.

Had James Wolfe been an executive branch employee, the FBI would have notified intelligence agencies if a Top Secret clearance holder was compromised so they could protect national security, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Senators Urge No Prison Time for Intelligence Committee Aide Who Lied to FBI
Prosecutors, on other hand, recommend two years in prison for James Wolfe

Senators urged leniency for former Senate Intelligence Committee James Wolfe, who lied to the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While federal prosecutors on Tuesday recommended a two-year prison sentence for James Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee who pleaded guilty in October to a charge he lied to the FBI about his contacts with journalists, his former bosses urged the judge to show mercy. 

A letter to the judge from current committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, and former chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California urged no prison time for Wolfe, who was director of security for nearly three decades.

Richard Burr: ‘If You Lie to Us, We’re Going to Go After You’
Senate Intelligence chairman alludes to Mueller plea agreement with Michael Cohen

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, right, appeared with Vice Chairman Mark Warner on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said that Thursday’s guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, should be seen as a clear warning.

“It’s a loud message to everybody that is interviewed by our committee, regardless of where that prosecution comes from: If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you,” Burr said Friday. “Our mandate is at the end of this to get as close to the clear truth as we possibly can, and we can’t do it on conjecture. We’ve got to do it on facts.”

Democrats Want More Security Clearances for House Intel Aides
There are too many top-secret documents and not enough staffers, they say

Adam Schiff, shown here at a 2017 news conference on the president’s ties to Russia, says the House Intelligence Committee has a “very small staff” for a very large job. More security clearances could help. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A long-stalled effort to hire more staffers with security clearances to help the House Intelligence Committee will get fresh momentum in the 116th Congress, as Democrats take leadership roles.

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who will likely be the next chairman, said he’s looking for ways to provide panel members’ personal staffs with top secret clearances so they can review classified information. Schiff said he will work with U.S. intelligence agencies to determine the best way to meet lawmakers’ needs.

Under Democratic Control, Russia, Spy Agencies, Tech to Get Greater Scrutiny, Schiff Says
If House flips majority, top Democrat on Intelligence Committee says expect more oversight

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, says the panel would conduct more oversight under Democratic control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats take the House in next week’s election, the House Intelligence Committee plans to exercise greater oversight over U.S. intelligence agencies, finish the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and probe threats posed by new technologies, according to Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, who would become chairman of the panel.

If Democrats win, “we must refocus the committee on conducting serious oversight of the intelligence community and the Trump Administration’s direction to the intelligence agencies we oversee,” Schiff told CQ Roll Call in an email.

Democrats Press Dan Coats for Details of Trump’s Chinese Election Meddling Claims
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee ask if intelligence community will back the president

Sen. Ron Wyden is leading a request for intelligence about Chinese election meddling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee want to know whether the actual intelligence backs up President Donald Trump’s claims of election meddling by the Chinese.

“We are writing with regard to President Trump’s most recent comments on foreign interference in U.S. elections, wrote Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Kamala Harris of California, in a letter released Tuesday addressed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Rosenstein Agrees to Sit for Transcribed Interview With Judiciary, Oversight Leaders
Freedom Caucus, rank-and-file panel members will not be able to participate

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will sit for a transcribed interview with House Judiciary and Oversight committee leaders on Oct. 24. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has agreed to sit for a transcribed interview with leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees Oct. 24, the panels’ chairmen announced Thursday evening.

The announcement comes just hours after House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, an Oversight subcommittee chairman, called on Rosenstein to resign, citing his unwillingness to cooperate with the panels’ investigation.

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Security Chief Pleads Guilty
James A. Wolfe admits to one count of making false statements to FBI

James A. Wolfe, right, seen here with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee has pleaded guilty to one charge of making false statements to the FBI.

The guilty plea, which was announced by the Justice Department on Monday, comes along with a commitment by the government to move to dismiss related charges.

GOP Sen. James Lankford Equivocates on Trump Claim that China Is Interfering in US Elections
President: ‘We have evidence’

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., addressed the potential for China to interfere in U.S. elections in broad strokes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. James Lankford, a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, equivocated in an interview this week on the question of whether the Chinese government is seeking to influence the midterm elections as the president has claimed.

President Donald Trump said at the United Nations Security Council in September that “regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration.”

House Members Plan Election Hacking Demonstration
Katko and Quigley have legislation to create a federally backed hacking competition

The House will host a voting system hacking demonstration next week.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two House members are planning to host a demonstration of a voting system hacking next week.

Republican Rep. John Katko of New York and Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois are leading the event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, which will feature the director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society, J. Alex Halderman.