Retired US general charged with lying in Iran cyber attack probe

Ray Hunter
October 20, 2016

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Monday tentatively scheduled Cartwright's sentencing for January 17, 2017, and acknowledged that part of the sentencing might be closed to allow for discussion of classified information. The investigators were looking into a leak of classified information about a secret cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The US Marine Corps General James "Hoss" Cartwright, who retired in 2011 after serving as America's second-most senior officer, was charged with providing false information to investigators trying to uncover how the Stuxnet computer virus was revealed.

The charge involves testimony he gave investigators about information obtained by New York Times reporter David Sanger, as well as another journalist, Daniel Klaidman.

Cartwright was reportedly authorized to speak to the press about Stuxnet but apparently went too far in his conversations with Sanger and Klaidman.

Apparently, some Federal Bureau of Investigation agents interviewed Cartwright on 2 November 2012, and he reportedly gave false information to them, denying the exposition of any classified information and assuring that he was not the source of SangerĀ“s book, which revealed many details about Stuxnet. "My only goal in talking to the reporters was to protect American interests and lives; I love my country and continue to this day to do everything I can to protect it".

A controversial figure within the senior military ranks, Cartwright had taken positions that put him at odds with other officers on major policy decisions, including when he broke with many generals and opposed a 2010 surge of US combat forces in Afghanistan.

Cartwright could face up to five years in prison, but reports say his lawyer and government prosecutors have agreed on a six-month sentence.

Cartwright, 67, was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011.

In a written statement released to reporters after the hearing, Cartwright stressed that he was not the initial source of the leak about Stuxnet but spoke to reporters about material they already knew.

Cartwright arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington on Monday. Cartwright also confirmed classified information in February 2012 to Klaidman that was included in an article for Newsweek magazine, the agreement said.

In a statement Monday, the Times said it would not discuss the sourcing of any information published in the newspaper or by Sanger.

Researchers and reporters eventually traced Stuxnet to the US government.

After accusations the Obama administration had intentionally leaked information to bolster the president's image on national security issues during his 2012 re-election campaign, an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department focused on Cartwright's contact with reporters. Nonetheless, the prosecution shows the Obama administration is seeking to send a message about unauthorized leaks of classified information, said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. Both the US and Israel have never publicly admitted responsibility for Stuxnet.

Disclosures about the operation set off a political controversy, with congressional Republicans charging that the White House had deliberately leaked information to enhance Obama's national security credentials as he sought reelection.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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