Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Former CIA Agent Declared Guilty for Leaking Information to Reporter


WASHINGTON – A U.S. court has declared a former agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) guilty of leaking information about a plot against Iran’s nuclear program to a reporter of The New York Times.

Jeffrey Sterling, 47, was convicted on nine charges Monday for disclosing national defense information and other secrets.

The journalist in question, James Risen, who published the information, had steadfastly refused to reveal his source.

Sterling, who could be imprisoned for several years, will be sentenced on April 24.

Sterling was accused in 2010 of leaking classified information to Risen for his book “State of War,” which was published in 2006.

Prosecutors argued that Sterling, who was expelled from the CIA a few years before the publication of the book, acted out of revenge and endangered the lives of CIA operatives, including a Russian scientist who supplied Iran with intentionally flawed nuclear component schematics.

Although the government did not present any direct proof of the connection between Sterling and Risen it built a strong circumstantial case saying that the former CIA agent was the only one who had the information as well as the motivation to leak the classified material.

The defense, meanwhile, sought to prove that other people could also have filtered the details of the plan.

The CIA program to delay the progress of Iran’s nuclear program had to be suspended after the publication of the book and Risen was pushed by the U.S. justice department to testify to reveal his source.

The reporter vowed to go to jail rather than reveal his source and the government ultimately decided not to force him to testify.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has cracked down harder on informants within the government than earlier administrations.


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