Ex-CIA officer from O'Fallon, Missouri charged with disclosing n - KMOV.com

Ex-CIA officer from O'Fallon, Missouri charged with disclosing national security secrets

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former CIA officer has been indicted on charges of disclosing national security secrets after being accused of leaking classified information about Iran to a New York Times reporter.

Federal prosecutors charged Jeffrey Sterling with 10 counts related to improperly keeping and disclosing national security information.

The indictment did not say specifically what was leaked but, from the dates and other details, it was clear that the case centered on leaks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen for his 2006 book, "State of War." The book revealed details about the CIA's covert spy war with Iran.

Sterling, of O'Fallon, Mo., was arrested Thursday and appeared in federal court in St. Louis later in the day. U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry I. Adelman told him he would be detained through the weekend because the government had declared him a danger to the community. Another detention hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.

Sterling served on the Iranian desk at the CIA and handled Iranian spies who had defected to the United States. In the book, Risen detailed how a CIA officer mistakenly revealed the CIA's network in Iran.

Iranian security officials were able to "roll up" the CIA's agent network in the country.

The Justice Department had twice subpoenaed Risen to force him to reveal his sources but he refused. After the book was published in 2006, the FBI focused on Sterling whom Risen had written about in 2003 for the newspaper.

The Dec. 22, 2010, indictment was unsealed Thursday in Alexandria, Va.

"The CIA deplores the unauthorized disclosure of classified information," the CIA said in a statement issued Thursday. The New York Times declined to comment.

Risen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The indictment is the latest move in an aggressive Obama administration campaign to crack down on leaks, even as the administration has supported proposed legislation that would shield reporters from having to identify their sources.

The administration recently arrested an Army private on charges of leaking a classified 2007 videotape of a helicopter attack in Iraq to the website WikiLeaks and charged a former National Security Agency official with leaking information about NSA mismanagement to The Baltimore Sun.

During the brief hearing in St. Louis, Sterling said little beyond answering yes-or-no questions. He appeared to move with great difficulty and limped as he approached the bench to address the judge. It wasn't clear why he appeared to be in pain.

Sterling told the judge he has a Virginia-based lawyer and didn't know if the attorney would be in St. Louis in time to represent him on Monday.

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Associated Press writer Christopher Leonard in St. Louis contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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