Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright appeared in court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. Cartwright was accused of leaking classified information to New York Times journalist David Sanger, who shared them in several articles and later in a book.
Mr. Cartwright also gave top secret information to former Newsweek correspondent Daniel Klaidman. Cartwright is responsible for the leak of documents containing a top-secret strategy that carried the code name “Olympic Games.”
The Justice Department never disclosed the information that Cartwright stole, but many believe it was related to what was written extensively about a “cyber attack 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.”
Cartwright is an expert in cyber warfare and America’s nuclear enterprise. In 2011, after almost 40 years of service to the American people in various positions, (Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Commander, U.S. Strategic Command), he was forced into retirement.
After a four-year investigation, Cartwright briefly appeared in court where he received what many are calling a slap on the wrist. Experts predicted that the retired United States Marine Corps four-star general was supposed to spend up to spend five years behind bars for his crimes, but will instead serve only six months.
Cartwright, who was charged with making false statements during a federal investigation, publicly acknowledged his guilt. Cartwright is accused of falsely denying that he was the source of the classified information published in a book by Sanger.
After being scolded by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, Cartwright issued this statement:
“It was wrong for me to mislead the FBI on November 2, 2012, and I accept full responsibility for this. I knew I was not the source of the story and I didn’t want to be blamed for the leak. My only goal in talking to the reporters was to protect American interests and lives; I love my country and continue to this day to do everything I can to defend it.”
The New York Times also released a statement saying that the government should not punish their workers for talking to journalists and sharing classified information. The publication said:
“We are disappointed that the Justice Department has gone forward with the leak investigation that led to today’s guilty plea by Gen. Cartwright. These investigations send a chilling message to all government employees that they should not speak to reporters. The inevitable result is that the American public is deprived of information that it needs to know.”
Cartwright’s sentencing hearing has been set for January 17. In 2015, David Petraeus, a decorated Army general, who led American fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq, was sentenced to two years OF probation for sharing information with his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Many are angry at the fact Petraeus and Cartwright were hit with charges while Hillary Clinton was not charged after the Justice Department found that she used a private email server while being secretary of state.