Name That Criminal Defendant!

This is 100% stolen from Julie Kelly at American Greatness, but trust me, it’s worth stealing:

In a recent court filing, the defendant’s attorneys begged for mercy. The offender—once a high-level government official assigned with protecting national security secrets—had pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement to the FBI in 2017.

Citing his modest upbringing, community involvement, and decorated military service, the defendant’s lawyers asked the judge only to impose a sentence of probation rather than jail time.

“This case has garnered a significant amount of media attention,” the attorneys wrote, “and plainly sends a message to the public that lying to federal agents—even when those lies were denials animated by a desire to conceal a personal failing—has profound consequences.”

The appeal was supported by letters written by powerful people, including top lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who attested to the man’s overall decency, claiming he had already suffered enough and how his “conduct is contradicted sharply by the character of the man that his family and community and country relied upon and loved and respected.”

So General Michael Flynn…no, wait!

No, that entreaty was not about Lt. General Michael Flynn; it was on behalf of James Wolfe, the former security chief for the Senate Intelligence Committee who was caught not just lying to FBI officials but illegally leaking classified information to journalists, including his 20-something girlfriend. Wolfe’s misconduct was far more egregious—and damaging—than the process crime committed by Flynn.

Late Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Wolfe to two months in jail for one count of lying to the FBI; the prosecution had asked for 24 months. After a tearful apology to the judge, Wolfe essentially escaped with a slap on the wrist. Outrageous.

Wolfe, 58, was a key player in the leaking strategy employed by anti-Trump bureaucrats to seed bogus Trump-Russia collusion stories in the news media during the administration’s early months. Entrusted with safekeeping the committee’s most secret documents, Wolfe was caught passing off the information to four reporters. One of the journalists, Ali Watkins, was at least 30 years his junior; their three-year affair began when she was a college intern working for a Washington, D.C. news organization.

I am so old, I can remember when intelligence officials leaking top secret information to women they were sleeping with was frowned upon. At one time, the fear was that such women might be Russian spies. Now, it is reasonable to assume that they are Democrats.

When confronted by the FBI about the affair and the disclosure of classified information to the other reporters, Wolfe repeatedly lied both during a personal interview and on a questionnaire. The investigation into Wolfe’s activities was so critical and risky that “the FBI’s executive leadership took the extraordinary step of limiting its notification to two individuals—the Chair and Vice Chair of the [committee]. Had this delicate balance not been achieved, this situation could easily have resulted in the possible disruption of information flow—an untenable degradation of national security oversight.”

Sounds a little bit more consequential than a phone conversation about Russian sanctions, right?

But here is the real injustice: While it was clear by both the original indictment and the sentencing memo that Wolfe was responsible for disclosing details about the FISA warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, he was not charged with that crime—a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The swamp protects its own.

Yes, the truth is coming out, and it’s a nasty, ugly truth. If you reside in the protected class of Washington bureaucrats who break the law, betray your public duty and attempt to destroy innocent Americans by wielding unchecked power, you will get away with it. You will have a letter of commendation written on your behalf by U.S. senators, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). You will avoid being charged with a felony, even though your conduct presented serious national security risks. You successfully will evade nonstop media coverage by sympathetic journalists while they instead obsess about a lesser crime committed by an ally of the president they despise.

That sums it up pretty well. I confess that I had forgotten James Wolfe’s name. Somehow, no one seems interested in his crimes. Meanwhile, Ali Watkins, who began her affair with Wolfe while a college student and was covering national security for the Times by the time she was 25–it helps to be sleeping with the director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee–is still employed by the paper, although she has been reassigned to the metro desk. As Julie Kelly says, “[h]er sex-for-scoops strategy worked like a charm.”

Somehow, though, all of this isn’t front-page news.

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