Former general pleads guilty in false leak probe

Prosecutors say James Cartwright made false statements to agents investigating his unauthorized disclosure of classified information for a book
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Retired general charged for making false statements

A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has pleaded guilty to making false statements during an investigation into a leak of classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

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Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright entered the plea at a hearing Monday before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon. When Leon asked if Cartwright understood the charge, he said, “I do, sir.”

The offense carries a maximum of five years in prison, but Cartwright’s attorney told the judge that the government and defense counsel had agreed on a recommended sentence of no more than six months. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January, and it will be up to Leon to decide the sentence.

Cartwright told investigators that he was not the source of classified information contained in a book by New York Times journalist David Sanger, according to charging documents unsealed by prosecutors.

Neither the book nor the classified subject is identified in court papers. But Sanger has written in his book, “Confront and Conceal,” about a covert cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and the use of a computer virus called Stuxnet to temporarily disable centrifuges that the Iranians were using to enrich uranium.

The charging documents also say Cartwright misled prosecutors about classified information shared with another journalist, Daniel Klaidman

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