On Thursday, federal agents arrested James A. Wolfe and charged him with lying multiple times to FBI agents investigating leaks from the Russia collusion probe. Wolfe is the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Wolfe was taken into custody at his home in Ellicott City, Maryland, according to the NY Times.
The former high-ranking Senate official was released on Thursday with several conditions, including turning over his passport and traveling only in the state of Maryland.
News of Wolfe's arrest came hours after the New York Times discovered that federal agents seized phone and email records of one of its reporters, Ali Watkins, 26.
Watkins and Wolfe, who is a 57-year-old married man, enjoyed a 3 year romantic relationship which ended in December.
During that time, Watkins worked as a national security reporter for the Huffington Post, Politico.com, and BuzzFeed.
Wolfe reportedly lied to the FBI about providing sensitive classified information to four reporters covering the Russia collusion probe, including Watkins and a CNN reporter.
Watkins' former employer, Buzzfeed, was aware that she was involved in a relationship with Wolfe, but the news outlet chose not to disclose that information to the public.
It isn't clear whether the NY Times knew about Watkins' affair with Wolfe.
The feds' data haul from Watkins' and Wolfe's devices includes "tens of thousands" of daily text messages, emails and phone calls.
On April 3, the day the article was published, Watkins and Wolfe exchanged 124 text messages and a lengthy phone call, according to the National Review.
According to the indictment, Wolfe used an encryption messaging app to communicate anonymously with Watkins and the other 3 reporters.
The Signal Private Messaging app is widely regarded as one of the most secure. Signal's website bragged that "Signal is the most scalable encryption tool we have."
But many reporters who rely on Signal to communicate with confidential sources were dismayed to learn that the Justice Department had figured out a way to read the messages.
“Good job!” and “I’m glad you got the scoop,” Wolfe wrote in a text message after he tipped off one reporter that his committee had subpoenaed Carter Page. He even provided the reporter with Page's personal contact information.
The female reporter messaged back, “Thank you. [Page] isn’t pleased, but would deny that the subpoena was served.”
According to the indictment, Wolfe asked the reporters not to reveal his name to his Senate committee colleagues.
When interviewed by FBI agents in December, Wolfe denied knowing his lover until agents showed him surveillance photos of the two of them together.
He finally admitted he knew Watkins and he had an affair with her, but he flatly denied ever giving her classified information for her articles.
He also denied knowing or leaking information to the other 3 reporters. What he didn't know was that the FBI had cracked the Signal app's encryption code and recovered all of his communications with the 4 reporters.
Wolfe retired from the Senate Intelligence Committee in May after 30 years.
Wolfe's wife, Jane Rhodes-Wolfe worked for the FBI for 20 years.
The left cheered when federal agents raided President Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen's home and office and carted off all of his records -- including privileged attorney-client communications.
But they are crying foul now that the shoe is on the other foot.
A New York Times spokesperson criticized the Trump administration for spying on its reporter, saying, “Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and communications between journalists and their sources demand protection.”
Trump called Wolfe "a very important leaker."
“Reporters can’t leak. You cannot leak classified information. At the same time, we need freedom of the press. But you cannot leak,” Trump told reporters before jetting off to the G7 summit in Canada on Friday.
If convicted, Wolfe faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.