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Retired US Gen. James E. Cartwright target of Stuxnet leak investigation

Retired Gen. James E. Cartwright is the target of a Justice Department probe into classified information that had been leaked about the Stuxnet virus attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

James E. CartwrightEnlarge
Gen. James E. Cartwright (R) speaks during a briefing with former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the White House on Dec. 16, 2010. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Retired four-star Gen. James E. Cartwright is allegedly the target of a Justice Department probe into leaked classified information about the covert US cyberattack known as the Stuxnet virus, NBC News reported Friday, citing unidentified sources.

Stuxnet was developed under the secret "Olympic Games" program, and reportedly disabled 1,000 Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium in 2010, striking a blow to Tehran's nuclear program.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced an investigation into the leak — to be led by US attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein — after The New York Times reported on the Stuxnet virus attack in 2012.

In that report, The Times said that Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007-2011, played a crucial role in the Olympic Games program under the Bush administration and the Obama administration.

An unidentified legal source told NBC that Cartwright had received a target letter from federal prosecutors, indicating that he is a suspect in the criminal case where indictment is possible.

So far all parties involved have refused to comment on the report. Cartwright, his attorney, the Justice Department, the US attorney’s office in Maryland, and The New York Times have all maintained silence.

The 2012 Times story was based on 18 months of interviews with "with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts."

When Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, was asked about the NBC report on Friday, she said, “We don’t comment on our confidential sources.”

Western powers claim Iran is developing nuclear weapons technology, while Tehran maintains that its uranium enrichment program is for civilian purposes only.

The Obama administration, already in a battle to extradite NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, has charged or prosecuted more leak cases under the Espionage Act — eight people in all — than all US presidents combined, according to the Washington Post.

More from GlobalPost: Edward Snowden's father says son betrayed government, not people (VIDEO)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/130628/retired-us-general-target-stuxnet-leak-investigation