NYT Reporter Was Dating a Second Senate Intel Staffer | NTK Network NYT Reporter Was Dating a Second Senate Intel Staffer

NYT Reporter Was Dating a Second Senate Intel Staffer

The paper previously revealed that Ali Watkins was romantically engaged with the Senate Intel Committee's most prolific leaker.

By NTK Staff | 06.25.2018 @3:15pm
NYT Reporter Was Dating a Second Senate Intel Staffer

The New York Times revealed Sunday night that Ali Watkins, a Senate intelligence reporter for several publications, was dating at least one other staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee. A federal investigation unveiled Watkins’ previous romantic involvement with James Wolfe, the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Watkins, whose primary beat was the intelligence committee during her time at Politico and Buzzfeed, apparently was very comfortable in her closeness to those with access to classified information. According to an update from the Times, she began another relationship with a Senate Intelligence staffer following her breakup with Wolfe.

Last fall, after Ms. Watkins and Mr. Wolfe had broken up and while she was still reporting on the intelligence committee for Politico, she briefly dated another staff member at the committee, friends said. That relationship, which has not been previously reported, ended when the two decided not to pursue something more serious.

The reporter claims that neither Wolfe nor the unnamed intelligence staffer ever provided her with information. But the Times hinted that another of Wolfe’s affairs, with similarities to the Watkins case, carried overtones of an information-for-sex exchange:

He gave another young female reporter covering the Intelligence Committee some valuable information, according to a person with direct knowledge of the interaction. Then he sent her a series of personal nighttime texts, including one at 10 p.m. asking her what she was up to. She deflected his inquiries and never got another tip from him, the person said.

Still, Watkins insists that she never sought information related to the committee’s work, claiming she cut Wolfe off when he started discussing government matters.

In other instances, though, the reporter admitted using Wolfe for an advantage in obtaining scoops. “She would make a mental note of tidbits he mentioned offhand, or gossip with him about Capitol Hill, or throw out a fact and gauge his reply,” the Times wrote.

And the paper hinted that there may have been yet another romantic connection between Watkins and an intelligence source, reporting that a “national security veteran” brought her chocolates to a Valentine’s Day dinner:

On Feb. 15, two days after the Justice Department sent the letter notifying her that it had seized her records, Ms. Watkins sent an email to her colleagues in the Washington bureau. She had brought in chocolates for sharing — “from an old source who somehow thought it wouldn’t be creepy to bring them to a dinner, stupidly and unintentionally scheduled on valentine’s day,” she wrote.

According to a person familiar with the source, the dinner companion was not Mr. Wolfe, but a different Washington national security veteran.

How did her former editors feel about these revelations? They seemed unconcerned, defending Watkins’ ability as a reporter to the Times.

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