WASHINGTON – 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 Cartwright has been told he is a target of the probe, NBC News and the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The Justice Department referred questions to the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore, where a spokeswoman 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.
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.
Cartwright, a four-star general, was cleared in February 2011 of misconduct involving a young aide. Several sources confirmed that the former aide was a young woman.
Cartwright, once considered the leading candidate to become Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, resigned from the military in August 2011.