Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Friday, June 28, 2013 at 7:32 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (13)
  • Print

Reports: Retired general target of leaks probe

A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to media reports.

Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
The investigation of the leak about the Iran cyberattack is one of a number of national... MORE
As a Marine I know who I trust As a retired US Army soldier who worked often with Ma... MORE
Jawohl, Herr NWTiger! MORE

advertising

WASHINGTON —

A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to media reports.

Retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright has been told he is a target of the probe, NBC News and The Washington Post reported Thursday. A "target" is someone a prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence linking to a crime and who is likely to be charged.

The Justice Department referred questions to the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore, where a spokeswoman, Marcia Murphy, declined to comment.

The investigation of the leak about the Iran cyberattack is one of a number of national security leak investigations that have been started by the Obama administration, including ones involving The Associated Press and Fox News.

In June 2012, the New York Times reported that Cartwright was a crucial player in the cyber operation called Olympic Games, started under President George W. Bush.

Bush reportedly advised President Barack Obama to preserve Olympic Games.

According to the Times, Obama ordered the cyberattacks sped up, and in 2010 an attack using a computer virus called Stuxnet temporarily disabled 1,000 centrifuges that the Iranians were using to enrich uranium.

Congressional leaders demanded a criminal probe into who leaked the information, and Obama said he had zero tolerance for such leaks. Republicans said senior administration officials had leaked the details to bolster the president's national security credentials during the 2012 campaign.

The Times said Cartwright was one of the crucial players who had to break the news to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that Stuxnet at one point had escaped onto the Internet.

An element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran's Natanz plant and sent it out on the Internet, the Times reported. After the worm escaped onto the Internet, top administration officials met to consider whether the program had been fatally compromised.

Obama asked if the program should continue, and after hearing the advice of top advisers, decided to proceed.

Cartwright, a four-star general, was cleared in February 2011 of misconduct involving a young aide. An anonymous accuser had claimed Cartwright acted inappropriately during a 2009 overseas trip on which the aide traveled as a military assistant. Several sources confirmed that the former aide was a young woman.

The Pentagon inspector general quickly cleared Cartwright of the most serious allegations, which involved claims that he may have had an improper physical relationship with the woman. The report did find that Cartwright mishandled an incident in which the aide, drunk and visibly upset, visited his Tbilisi, Georgia, hotel room alone and either passed out or fell asleep on a bench at the foot of his bed. Cartwright denied any impropriety and was later cleared of all wrongdoing.

Cartwright, once considered the leading candidate to become Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, resigned from the military in August 2011.

NBC said Cartwright did not respond to request for comment and that his attorney, former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, said he had no comment.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Want free career advice? And an iPad Mini?

Want free career advice? And an iPad Mini?

Tell us about your goals and challenges and be considered for a future NWjobs career-makeover story, as well as a chance to win an iPad Mini!

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►