Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law

Retired General Pleads Guilty to Misleading FBI

Retired General James Cartwright Pleads Guilty to Misleading the FBI During Government Leaks Investigation


Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/29/2016 --In mid-October, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright pled guilty to the charge of making false statements to investigators looking into government leaks to the press about United States alleged disruption of Iran's nuclear program.

The prosecutor charged that Cartwright lied to FBI agents about information communicated to two journalists, David Sanger of The New York Times and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek. Cartwright was accused of both giving classified information to Sanger and confirming it, and of confirming similar information to Klaidman. He was not charged with participating in the initial leaks, but for lying to FBI personnel who were investigating these leaks.

The charge is a felony that can bring a maximum sentence of five years in prison. However, the Retired Marine General's lawyer indicated that the government had agreed that the sentence is not likely to be longer than a maximum of six months.

Cartwright is slated to be sentenced in January.

The FBI was investigating leaks regarding an alleged joint U.S.-Israeli attempt to disrupt Iran's nuclear plan with computer viruses. The charges did not mention by name the Stuxnet computer virus program, which continues to be classified.

The general stated that he accepted full responsibility for misleading the FBI. However, he also said that he was not the journalists' original source, and spoke to reporters only to confirm information they already had.

Cartwright's attorney, Greg Craig, said that Cartwright had spoken to Sanger and Klaidman "to protect American interests and lives, in a story they had already written. In his conversations with these two reporters, Gen. Cartwright was engaged in a well-known and understood practice of attempting to save national secrets, not disclosing classified information."

Civilian military law attorney Patrick J. McLain doesn't quite see the justice in this, stating, "Prosecution of alleged misconduct with classified information continues apace in the military, regardless of the recent "pass" granted to former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton.  Though it is argued that general officers accused of classified information handling crimes are dealt with less harshly than lower ranking military personnel, they continue to be prosecuted; Although unlike their subordinates, general officers generally do not exercise as much prudence about their legal and constitutional rights, thereby making the cases against them arguably easier to prosecute."

General Cartwright served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011. He was an important and close adviser to President Barack Obama. He also led the U.S. Strategic Command and is a former fighter pilot. He is an expert in U.S. nuclear capability and in cyber warfare.  Four years ago, The New York Times reported that the retired general was a key figure in a cyber attack termed "Olympic Games," which began in the administration of President George W. Bush. The attacks continued and increased during the Obama administration. In 2010, one such attack, using the Stuxnet computer virus, disabled 1,000 centrifuges utilized to enrich uranium in Iran.

About Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law
Civilian Military Law Attorney Patrick McLain has been diligently serving all five branches of the United States Armed Forces for almost 30 years. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1990, and went on to grow a successful law firm specializing in military law and criminal defense. In addition to serving as an adjunct instructor at various universities and naval schools across the country, he has received numerous honors and awards for both his civilian and military law achievements.