The Department of Justice seized a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records this year in an effort to probe the leaking of classified information, the newspaper reported on Thursday, noting it represented the first known instance of the DOJ going after a journalist’s data under President Trump.
The DOJ seized years’ worth of records from journalist Ali Watkins’s time as a reporter at BuzzFeed News and Politico before she joined The Times in 2017 as a federal law enforcement reporter, according to the report Thursday.
Watkins was alerted by a prosecutor in February that the DOJ had years of records and subscriber information from telecommunications companies such as Google and Verizon for two email accounts and a phone number belonging to her.
Investigators did not receive the content of the records, according to The Times.
FBI agents reportedly contacted Watkins about a previous three-year romantic relationship with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s former director of security, James Wolfe, as part of a probe into unauthorized leaks.
Watkins reportedly did not answer the agents’ questions, however. Watkins told The Times that Wolfe did not act as a source for information during their relationship.
She also said she informed editors at BuzzFeed, Politico and The Times of the relationship.
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