The New York Times is conducting a review of reporter Ali Watkins, who reportedly had a personal relationship with the Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who was indicted last week on three counts of lying to FBI agents about his contacts with reporters and allegedly leaking classified information to the press, according to The New York Times.
The review is being led by Charlotte Behrendt, an associate managing editor, and Andrew Gutterman, who oversees the Times’ labor department.
Watkins email and phone records were seized by the Department of Justice in February as the FBI probed Senate Intelligence Committee aide James Wolfe, whose job in the Senate was related to protecting sensitive information reviewed by lawmakers on the committee. Watkins and Wolfe were involved in a years-long relationship, which ended last year. Watkins reportedly disclosed the prior relationship to Times management before she started working at the newspaper in December and said that she did not use Wolfe as a source while they were dating.
In the past year, Watkins has been approached by people who identified themselves as federal agents at least twice and has been questioned about Wolfe and her sources— once last June and once in February, the Times reported.
In June, a man contacted Watkins and offered to work as a potential source for her stories, according to the Times. But at the meeting, the man — whom the Washington Post has identified as Jeffrey Rambo — told her he knew about her relationship with Wolfe and asked her to help him identify government leakers. Rambo, who is reportedly a Customs and Border Protection agent, is currently under review for his conduct related to the interaction with Watkins, according to the Post.
Watkins reportedly told Politico management — where she was working at the time, covering the Senate Intelligence Committee — about the encounter and disclosed her relationship with Wolfe for the first time. Her byline continued to appear on stories covering the intelligence committee.
She joined the Times in December and covers federal law enforcement.