NYT’s Watkins may have had her own insurance policy, unredacted Page FISA images

It appears there is already a unredacted copy of the Carter Page FISA application sitting on a New York Times newsroom server courtesy of former Washington bureau reporter Ali Watkins, according to a recent report.

Watkins, 26, you may remember was the ex-Buzzfeed, ex-Huff-Po, ex-Politico reporter, who has admitted to having a three-year affair with James Wolfe, a high-ranking aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wolfe, 58, was charged with lying to the FBI during its Intelligence committee leak probe

Ali Watkins

During this time Watkins was a finalist for a Pulitzer prize for her writing on the intelligence community.

As part of the leak probe Watkins, then working for the New York Times had her emails and other correspondences with Wolfe seized as part of the investigation.

Federal prosecutors have a very high bar to hurdle in order for a grand jury to subpoena a reporters phone and text messages, which the Intelligence leak probe accomplished. Watkins did not inform the Times of this subpoena until the paper was about to write about Wolfe being charged, some months later on advice from her lawyer.

As part of that investigation, it is alleged by the blog site The Conservative Treehouse, that Wolfe sent Watkins 82 images of the 83-page Page FISA application. One page was blank in the document.

Is this the reason Watkins was only reassigned by the Times after confessing to sleeping with a source?

Did the Times want to hold on to the images or was it as Executive Editor Dean Baquet said at the time, “I also believe that The Times must be a humane place that can allow for second chances when there are mitigating circumstances.”

The “mitigating circumstances” may very well be the unredacted FISA application images.

The second chance alluded to by Baquet  had many in the Times newsroom questioning why she would be kept on staff after admitting to such offenses.

However, Watkins is now writing about bees swarming a hot-dog cart in Times Square, which seems to me to be a stinging rebuke for her journalistic mistakes.

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Markets searching for a shred of news

The news lull of August is in full swing. I have been looking for two hours for a shred of meaningful news to opine about.

A quick look at the financial headlines tells you everything you need to know about global markets. Currency devaluations in Turkey and China are making markets jittery for lack of any real news.

Now don’t get me wrong, China cutting the value of the yuan as a response to President Trump’s tariff threats has meaning to the backwater currency trading markets, but to make global markets move on the scale they have this morning is a bit of overkill and a result of lack of news on other fronts.

The same with the Turkish lira devaluation taking down the emerging markets. This is less than a blip on the screen any other time of the year. Today it’s leading the WSJ.com website.

So now we have big moves in currencies and sovereign bonds — two markets that most investors know very little about — driving overall stock markets.

Well perhaps later today we can get back to real market-driving news like Tesla’s Elon Musk on Twitter showing the check he received from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to take the electric automaker private.

If this continues tomorrow, I think I’ll give you an update on my honey bees and the honey I harvested. It’s a helluva more interesting than currencies and sovereign bonds.

Bees are buzzing and so am I over new brood

This morning at 5:30 I pick up my new brood of bees. From time-to-time I will update you on the trials and tribulations of being a first season beekeeper.

While everyone wants and enjoys honey, I am not in that camp. I am doing the beekeeping to pollinate my vegetable gardens, which is my first love.

I grow eight varieties of greens and we eat fresh salad all season — picked minutes before arriving on the table. Beans, tomatoes, zucchini are some other crops I grow.

Last year’s bounty, if you can call it that, was so sparse that I decided then to bring in my own bees to help increase the yield. Too much pesticide being used for manicured lawns have wreaked havoc on wild bee colonies here in the suburbs.

Well, I have to go transfer some frames to my hive and feed them to get this whole thing started.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers.