Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Retired top general takes plea deal on lying to FBI about Iran leaks

On Monday, retired Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count for lying to the FBI about speaking with reporters on cyber-espionage against Iran's nuclear program. Cartwright was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until 2013 and a key member of President Obama's national security team, and when he is sentenced in January, he faces punishments ranging from a $500 fine to six months in prison under a plea deal. Cartwright acknowledged giving false statements to the FBI about his conversations with New York Times reporter David Sanger and Newsweek correspondent Daniel Klaidman.

"It was wrong for me to mislead the FBI on Nov. 2, 2012, and I accept full responsibility for this," Cartwright said in a statement after the hearing. "I knew I was not the source of the story and I didn't want to be blamed for the leak. My only goal in talking to the reporters was to protect American interests and lives; I love my country and continue to this day to do everything I can to defend it." The Obama administration has brought criminal charges in more than twice as many cases involving leaking of government secrets to the news media than all of his predecessors combined, The New York Times notes.