Ex-CIA officer convicted of leaking Iran plan to media

NEW YORK - A former CIA officer was convicted Monday for disclosing classified information to a New York Times reporter.

A federal jury in Virginia, found Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, 47, guilty of all nine counts he faced, including leaking classified information about a CIA operation targeting Iran's nuclear program to the media.

“This is a just and appropriate outcome,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.  “The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures of classified information compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security."

The information Sterling gave New York Times reporter James Risen in early 2003 was about a CIA operation that involved using a former Russian scientist to provide Iran with intentionally erroneous nuclear component blueprints.

Prosecutors alleged that he disclosed the material to Risen in retaliation of his sacking from the agency in January 2002.

Sentencing of Sterling, who was arrested on January 2011, is scheduled for April 24, but he will remain out of prison on bail. He faces a possible sentence of decades in jail, but the actual sentence is expected to be shorter.

The information received by Risen made its way into a 2006 book named "State of War," leading to a grand jury investigation and subsequent charges of violating the Espionage Act.

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