Just a short while ago, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the indictment of Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), for leaking Suspicious Activity Reports, intelligence reports, and internal memoranda to a reporter, who isn’t identified in the indictment but who is Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News.
Jason Leopold really shines as a naked conduit for anonymous NatSec leaks. pic.twitter.com/XtV6YIojef
— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) November 14, 2017
Interesting how Jason Leopold is leaking information that's only damaging to the Russians. Funny kind of leak, that. Either he's a rube, but being jaded and cynical, I'd say he's smoking NSA pole.
— Matt Janovic won't build statues to losers (@MJanovic) November 14, 2017
This is a largely complete list of the articles the indictment claimed relied upon the leaks:
- Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016 (Nov. 14, 2017)
- Investigators Are Scrutinizing Newly Uncovered Payments By The Russian Embassy (Jan 17, 2018)
- Manafort Under Scrutiny For $40 Million In “Suspicious” Transactions (February 19, 2018)
- GOP Operative Made “Suspicious” Cash Withdrawals During Pursuit Of Clinton Emails (August 10, 2018)
- Here’s Why The FBI And Mueller Are Investigating “Suspicious” Transactions By Russian Diplomats (August 29, 2018)
According to the indictment:
c. Throughout the course of 2018, EDWARD? engaged in hundreds of electronic communications with Reporter-1, many via an encrypted application. A review to date, pursuant to a judicially-authorized search warrant executed today, of EDWARDS’s personal cellphone has revealed that that cellphone contains the substance of many of these communications, including, as described in greater detail below, communications in which EDWARDS transmitted or described SARs or other BSA protected information to Reporter-1.
d. When questioned by law enforcement officials earlier today, EDWARDS confessed that she had provided SARs to Reporter-1 via an encrypted application, though falsely denied knowing that Reporter-1 intended to or did publish that information through the News Organization. At the time she was questioned, EDWARDS was also in possession of a flash drive that appeared to be the same drive on which she saved the SARs related to the SARs Disclosures, among other files.
From the press release and the indictment, it seems pretty obvious that Edwards was a good soldier for the Resistance:
This is from the press release:
The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander.
And this nugget is from the indictment:
The majority of the files were saved to a folder on the Flash Drive entitled “Debacle – Operation-CF,” and subfolders bearing names such as “Debacle\Emails\Asshat.” EDWARDS is not known to be involved in any official FinCEN project or task bearing these file titles or code names.
And the leaks were not limited to Manafort and Russia:
c. Based upon my conversations with other law enforcement agents who have spoken with FinCEN analysts, who have in turn, reviewed the names of the Flash Drive Files, and conducted a comparison of those file names/sizes to records contained on FinCEN’s network, the Flash Drive Files appear to contain thousands of SARs, along with other highly sensitive material relating to Russia, Iran, and the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (more commonly known as “ISIL” or “ISIS”), among other things. Multiple files also bear labels referencing Paul Manafort and Reporter-l’s name.
But there is a lot more going on here that we don’t yet know about.
According to the SDNY press release, this is what Edwards was charged with:
EDWARDS, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports and one count of conspiracy to make unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports, both of which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
But we know from the indictment that Edwards initially lied to investigators and we know that she has admitted to at least eleven instances of disclosing classified information. Why isn’t that in the indictment? Because she flipped and is now a cooperating witness. I don’t want to sound like most on the left and many on the right talking about the bullsh** indictments made by Mueller as heralding someone “flipping,” but Edwards pleaded guilty on one count of conspiracy. Conspiracy requires two people and as the feds, other than under the Obama administration, don’t indict reporters for receiving leaks there is someone else in Treasury who is on borrowed time. From the indictment:
c. Between on or about August 24, 2018 and October 2, 2018, a co-conspirator not named as a defendant herein (“CC- 1µ) exchanged approximately 301 messages with Reporter-1 via the Encrypted Application.
c. Between on or about July 31, 2018 and August 2r 2018, the EDWARDS Cellphone and the personal cellphone of CC-1 exchanged dozens of messages via the Encrypted Application.
19. Based on my participation in the investigation and my conversations with other law enforcement agents who have reviewed documents obtained in the investigation to date, I have learned that CC-1 is an Associate Director of FinCEN to whom NATALIE MAYFLOWER SOURS EDWARDS, a/k/a “Natalie Sours,” a/k/a “Natalie May Edwards,” a/k/a “May Edwards,” the defendant, reports.
20. Based on my conversations with other law enforcement agents who have reviewed phone records for a cellphone documented in FinCEN records as the personal cellphone number for CC-1 (the “CC-1 Cellphone”), I have learned that in or about October 2017 – i.e., the month of the October 2017 Article containing SARs Disclosures – the CC-1 Cellphone exchanged approximately 325 text messages with the Reporter-1 Cellphone.
21. Based upon my conversations with other law enforcement agents who have reviewed records to date in response to a judicially-authorized pen register and trap and trace order for the CC-1 Cellphone, I have learned, in part, that:
a. On or about August 15, 2018, the CC-1 Cellphone exchanged approximately 10 messages with the Reporter-1 Cellphone via the Encrypted Application .
b. Between on or about August 24, 2018 and October 2, 2018, the CC-1 Cellphone exchanged approximately 301 messages with the Reporter-1 Cellphone via the Encrypted Application.
I suspect that where there are two, there are three or more, particularly when the unnamed conspirator is an associate director. My guess is that there are other sealed indictments out there for people who were junior to Edwards and ratted her out. If her LinkedIn is to be believed, Elizabeth Warren, in full warpaint, might ride to her rescue (I can’t resist a dare):
Screengrab from LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-may-edwards/
And another conspiracy is born:
Trump's handpicked and unconfirmed by the Senate US Attorney for SDNY has just indicted a FinCEN whistleblower. https://t.co/M4y5KVeYqv
— Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) October 17, 2018
Hopefully, this is happening in other agencies because there are plenty of targets.
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