Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Israel | Cartwright | israel | iran | Stuxnet

WaPo: Inquiry Into Gen. Cartwright Leak Stalls Amid Security Fears

Image: WaPo: Inquiry Into Gen. Cartwright Leak Stalls Amid Security Fears
Retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright. (Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 01:02 PM

The investigation of retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, who is suspected of leaking details about a classified cyber-sabotage operation against Iran to the media, is stalled over fears information could be released confirming the United States and Israel collaborated on the action, sources close to the probe report.

Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, is believed to have told information about the plan to a New York Times reporter, according to The Washington Post, but prosecuting him could end up causing the release of information that could further strain relations between Israel and the Obama administration.

Israel and the United States have not confirmed joining forces for the covert operation, according to government officials, and administration officials are worried that revelations could also cause problems with the ongoing negotiations with Iran.

"There are always legitimate national security reasons for not proceeding in one of these ­cases," said John Martin, a former Justice Department prosecutor who handled many sensitive espionage investigations ,told The Post.

Cartwright was one of the designers of the cyber-campaign under former President George W. Bush, and continued working as it escalated under President Barack Obama. However, the Justice Department, which has prosecuted other cases involving leaks of classified materials, is not saying if it plans to move forward with a case on Cartwright.

His attorney Gregory Craig, a former White House counsel for the Obama administration, said he has not been in contact with prosecutors for over a year, and insisted his client has done nothing wrong.

"He has devoted his entire life to defending the United States," said Craig. "He would never do anything to weaken our national defense or undermine our national security. Hoss Cartwright is a national treasure, a genuine hero and a great patriot."

Prosecutors had sought to determine if the White House would declassify some information in the case, but Kathryn Ruemmler, who at the time led the office of the White House counsel, cited security concerns and would not provide documentation, a person familiar with the issue said.

She left her post in June and refused comment to The Post.

Details about the covert operation, code-named "Olympic Games," were reported by Times journalist David Sanger in an June 2012 article and also in a book, "Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power," in which sources tie the use of the malware worm Stuxnet to an effort by the National Security Agency and a secret Israeli military unit to disrupt Iran's nuclear ambitions. In the works, Sanger made the claim that Obama ordered the attack.

Two years earlier, the sabotage of Iran's nuclear centrifuges had become known, with security experts speculating that the operation was a joint U.S.-Israeli effort, reports The Post.

Republicans accused the White House of leaking the information to boost Obama's national security record while he was seeking re-election in the 2012 race. The FBI started its investigation of Cartwright that fall.

But the government needed to make a decision, an unnamed source told The Post: "Is it more important to prosecute a national security leak or more important to preserve relationships with allies and shield sources­ and methods that protect the country?"

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The investigation of retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, who is suspected of leaking details about a classified cyber-sabotage operation against Iran to the media, is stalled over fears the inquiry could confirm the U.S.-Israeli action, The Washington Post reports.
Cartwright, israel, iran, Stuxnet, worm, nuclear
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2015-02-11
Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 01:02 PM
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