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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Retired general suspected of leaking classified data

Gen. James E. Cartwright  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Gen. James E. Cartwright
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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.

Copyright  © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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2 thoughts on “Retired general suspected of leaking classified data”

  1. “…Obama said he had zero tolerance for such leaks.”


    Didn’t Mr. Obama ALSO recently say that when it comes to Mr. Snowden, he’s not going to “scramble fighter jets to go after him”.

    So, which is it, Mr. President, “zero tolerance”, or “just move on?”

    In a related bit of US Government nonsense, US News and World Report is reporting that the US Department of Defense is now blocking online access to news reports about what they call “classified National Security Agency documents” made public by Edward Snowden.

    The blackout affects all of the department’s computers and is part of a department-wide directive.

    “Any website that runs information that the Department of Defense still considers classified” is affected, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told U.S. News in a phone interview.

    According to Pickart, news websites that re-report information first published by The Guardian or other primary sources are also affected.

    “If that particular website runs an article that our filters determine has classified information… the particular content on that website will remain inaccessible,” he said.

    So, what’s next Colonel Pickart…are you and your fellow snoops going to now follow each of your 3.2 Million fellow DOD employees home each night just to see which Internet Web sites they happen to read?

    The truth is, Colonel Pickart, that Mr. Snowden has ALREADY declassified all that information now that it has been placed in the public domain.

    Or, to put it another way, by default HE has now become your “declassification authority”…and all because YOUR super-secret “Bumledom” has become so large (not to mention inept!) that you and your fellow snooping buddies can no longer control it all.

    Indeed, by trying to effectively censor what your own employees can (or cannot) read on the Internet is the military equivalent of “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped”.

    If anything, your absolutely LAUGHABLE attempts to now cover up your own organization’s complete lack of control over your own overblown bureaucratic empire would all be comic if it wasn’t so pitifully sad.

  2. If they can’t get ‘im for that, they’ll get ‘im for something else.

    Food for thought among the ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear’ folks.


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