President Barack Obama’s former favorite U.S. General pled guilty Monday to lying to the FBI about leaking details of a classified CIA operation that disrupted Iran’s nuclear program in 2009.
Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright was famously labeled “Obama’s favorite general,” and served as his vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Cartwright was stripped of his security clearance in 2013, under suspicion of leaking information about the classified Stuxnet program. Stuxnet was a computer virus that heavily disabled Iran’s nuclear program in 2009.
“It was wrong for me to mislead the FBI,” Cartwright said in a statement after entering his guilty plea. “I accept full responsibility,” he added. His lawyers reportedly brokered a deal with federal prosecutors that recommends zero to six months in prison.
David Sanger of the New York Times revealed the size and scope of Stuxnet in a 2012 book, tying the U.S. and Israel to the highly successful covert operation. Sanger cited “participants in the program” as his source of information in the book, setting off a mammoth investigation by the U.S. intelligence community into who leaked the information.
Cartwright’s crime stems from lies to FBI investigators, who showed him “a list of quotes and statements from David Sanger’s book, a number of which contained classified information, Cartwright falsely told investigators he was not the source of any of the quotes and statements,” according to the charging documents.
Cartwright is the 10th person charged by the Obama administration with leaking classified information. The leak was unprecedented in its detailing of White House Situation Room meetings and the direct participation of the President in the covert operation. Republican members of congress were outraged by the leak, who saw it as a move to bolster Obama’s national security credentials in the middle of the 2012 election.
The Obama administration pressured the Department of Justice to delay prosecuting Cartwright until the Iranian nuclear deal was finalized in 2015, sources alleged to YahooNews.
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