Washington: A former CIA officer was convicted in federal court in Virginia on Monday in a case about whether he leaked classified information to a New York Times reporter about a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran`s nuclear weapons program, a Justice Department spokesman said.
Jeffrey Sterling was found guilty of nine counts, including six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, spokesman Peter Carr said. Prosecutors had said the leaks put lives at risk and compromised U.S. efforts to deter Iran`s nuclear plans.
The trial came after the reporter, James Risen, fought for years to avoid testifying in the case as prosecutors had sought.
Risen appeared in court earlier this month before the trial began and answered a few basic questions about his book that discussed the program, but he declined to discuss specific information about his sources.
The conviction is a victory for the Justice Department, which under the Obama administration has prosecuted a record number of unauthorized leaks by government employees.
Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire in 2013 over the Justice Department`s decision to seize telephone records of the Associated Press, a move denounced by critics as a gross intrusion into freedom of the press.
Earlier this month, Holder revised the department`s policy to require the attorney general to authorize any subpoenas to members of the news media.