US government wants to use secret witnesses in CIA leak trial

James Risen

James Risen

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Prosecutors in the case of an ex-CIA officer accused of disclosing classified information to a journalist have asked the court for permission to introduce evidence in secret and to use privacy screens to shield the identities of witnesses. Jeffrey Sterling, who worked for the CIA’s Iran Task Force,  faces 10 felony counts and up to 120 years in prison for sharing information about the CIA’s operations in Iran. Court documents do not name the recipient of Sterling’s information, but it is common knowledge that Sterling spoke to James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times. In chapter 9 of his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, Risen details a botched operation by the Iran Task Force, which tried to pass to the Iranians a series of faulty nuclear bomb design documents. To do this, the CIA apparently recruited a Russian former nuclear scientist, who had defected to the United States. The unnamed scientist was told to travel to Vienna, Austria, in early 2000, and offer to sell the documents to the Iranians. But the documents contained a deliberate technical flaw, which, Risen alleges, the Russian CIA operative thought was so obvious that it could make him look untrustworthy in the eyes of the Iranians, thus endangering the entire mission. The Russian scientist ended up letting the Iranians know about the flaw, reveals Risen. He further alleges that the CIA operation may have actually helped the Iranian nuclear weapons program, as Iranian scientists would have been able to “extract valuable information from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws”. Read more of this post

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Ex-CIA officer faces up to 120 years for leaking secrets

James Risen

James Risen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A former CIA officer, who sued the Agency after he was fired, was arrested last Thursday in St. Louis, Missouri n charges of leaking classified information about a botched CIA covert operation in Iran. There is no information on the indictment about the recipient of the information that was leaked by Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, who worked for the CIA from 1993 until 2002. But it is common knowledge Sterling spoke to James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for The New York Times. In 2002, Risen wrote an article about Sterling’s lawsuit, in which the plaintiff claimed he was told by his superiors that he was “too big and black” to operate covertly overseas. According to the indictment, in 2003, after Sterling’s lawsuit was thrown out on national security grounds, he started leaking information (presumably to Risen), which he had gathered while working for the CIA’s Iran Task Force. Risen reportedly tried to publish Sterling’s disclosures, but The New York Times declined to print them, after its editors were warned by the White House that they would be severely detrimental to national security. Read more of this post