Former general charged with false statements in leak probe

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright has been charged with making false statements during a federal investigation into a leak of classified information, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, falsely 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 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 U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland announced the case on Monday.

Officials say Cartwright will make an initial appearance in federal court in Washington on Monday afternoon. Prosecutors say Cartwright was charged via criminal information, a document that is filed with a defendant's consent and that signals that a plea agreement has been reached.

Gregory Craig, an attorney for Cartwright, had no immediate comment, but his office said he would issue a statement later Monday.

Cartwright, 67, was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 until 2011, and was considered a key close adviser to Obama. A former fighter pilot, the Marine general was known for his expertise in the more highly technical areas of cyberwarfare and America's nuclear enterprise.