Former CIA employee convicted in Iran-sabotage leak case; NYT reporter James Risen never testified

Former CIA employee convicted in Iran-sabotage leak case; NYT reporter James Risen never testified

A former CIA officer who was involved in a highly secretive operation to give faulty nuclear plans to Iran was convicted Monday of providing classified information about his work to a New York Times reporter — a significant win for federal prosecutors and a presidential administration that has worked zealously to root out leakers. …

The 47-year-old Missouri man [Jeffrey Sterling] is scheduled to be sentenced April 24 and remains free until then. …

Sterling was first accused in 2010 of giving classified information to New York Times reporter and author James Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.” Prosecutors alleged — and jurors apparently agreed — that Sterling was trying to get revenge on the CIA when he talked to Risen about an operation meant to deter Iran’s nuclear program.

Sterling, who was fired in the early 2000s, had sued the agency over alleged discrimination and also sparred with officials about publishing a memoir describing some of his work.

The case drew special attention when federal prosecutors initially sought to subpoena Risen to testify against his will. Though they won in court, the Justice Department ultimately decided not to put the reporter on the stand at the trial. …

Defense attorneys posited several people other than Sterling who could have served as Risen’s sources, and they suggested Sterling was unlikely to have given the reporter any information. They argued that some information in the book could not have come from Sterling, because it addressed things that happened after he left the CIA or contained details that he would not have known or remembered.

Sterling defense attorney Barry Pollack said after the hearing that attorneys plan to take the case to a higher court.

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