- A Customs and Border Protection agent is being investigated by the agency on accusations that he questioned the New York Times reporter Ali Watkins about her confidential sources.
- Agent Jeffrey Rambo reportedly approached Watkins by email and questioned her about her relationship with James Wolfe.
- Wolfe, the longtime security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI about giving “nonpublic information” to reporters.
- Rambo’s meeting with Watkins came as the White House, sought to rein in leaks that have embarrassed the Trump administration.
A Customs and Border Protection agent is reportedly being investigated by the agency on accusations that he questioned a New York Times reporter about her confidential sources, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Agent Jeffrey Rambo, who reportedly identified himself as a government agent but withheld his name, questioned reporter Ali Watkins after contacting her by email. According to the report, Rambo and Watkins met at a restaurant where Rambo explained that the White House was trying to unmask the confidential leakers in various news reports.
Rambo’s sitdown with Watkins, who was working for Politico at the time, came as the White House sought to crack down on leaks.
His questions revolved around the alleged three-year relationship between Watkins and James Wolfe, the longtime security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wolfe was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI about giving “nonpublic information” to reporters.
Rambo’s questioning, during which he cited dates and locations of Watkins’s and Wolfe’s overseas trips, reportedly unnerved Watkins, according to one person familiar with the situation who was cited by The Post.
The Post described Rambo’s line of questioning as “unorthodox,” given the subject matter, particularly because national security leaks do not fall under the Customs and Border Protection agency’s jurisdiction. Rambo was reportedly not involved in the FBI’s investigation into Wolfe, according to a law-enforcement official.
After The Post contacted the border patrol agency about Rambo’s involvement, a spokesman for the agency released a statement to The Post saying it “takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously.”
“The allegation has been immediately referred to CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility,” the spokesperson said. “We encourage all members of the public to report any potential misconduct immediately so that it may be investigated.”
Watkins reportedly told The Times that Wolfe was not a confidential source in her stories. Wolfe has denied leaking classified information to reporters.