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Head of US cyber-attack on Iran probed over leak of details – source

Published time: June 28, 2013 06:12
General James E. Cartwright.(Reuters / Hyungwon Kang)

General James E. Cartwright.(Reuters / Hyungwon Kang)

The four-star general who headed the reported cyber-attack by American and Israeli hackers on an Iranian nuclear site is under a DoJ investigation over leaking the details of the operation to the press, reports NBC News.

Retired Marine Gen. James ‘Hoss’ Cartwright, who was deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff between 2007 and 2011, was the one responsible for the ‘Olympic Games’, a massive attack on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities conducted under the Bush and the Obama administrations, the New York Times reported last July.

At the time the newspaper broke details of the top secret operation, including collaboration of Israeli hackers in development of the Stuxnet computer worm, which was used to infect Iranian computer networks and damage hundreds of centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment facility.

The leak caused outrage in the Congress, as some Republican politicians alleged that it was sanctioned high in the Obama administration to bolster his national security record ahead of the 2012 election campaign.

Legal sources told NBC News that the FBI investigating the leak zeroed on Cartwright, once the second-highest ranking officer in the Pentagon, as the source that provided the newspaper with the sensitive information. Agents identified the former general without resorting to a secret subpoena of the phone records of New York Times reporters, the report says.

Cartwright, 63, received a target letter informing him that he’s under the investigation, but so far the DoJ hasn’t made a final decision on whether to charge him, according to the sources.

Cartwright and his lawyer did not comment to NBC.

If indicted, Cartwright would join Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and six others charged under the 1917 Espionage Act by the Obama administration. The current US government has invoked the law more than all previous administrations combined.