By Michael Isikoff
National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News
Legal sources tell NBC News that the former second ranking officer in the U.S. military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
According to legal sources, Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has received a target letter informing him that he’s under investigation for allegedly leaking information about a massive attack using a computer virus named Stuxnet on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Gen. Cartwright, 63, becomes the latest individual targeted over alleged leaks by the Obama administration, which has already prosecuted or charged eight individuals under the Espionage Act.
Last year, the New York Times reported that Cartwright, a four-star general who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 2007 to 2011, conceived and ran the cyber operation, called Olympic Games, under Presidents Bush and Obama. According to the front-page story by chief Washington correspondent David Sanger, President Obama ordered the cyber attacks sped up, and in 2010 an attack using the Stuxnet worm temporarily disabled 1,000 centrifuges that the Iranians were using to enrich uranium.
The Times story included details of the Olympic Games operation, including the cooperation of Israeli intelligence and the way the virus was introduced to an Iranian nuclear facility. It described meetings in the White House Situation Room and was based on interviews with “current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program.”
“Ryan Steven Lochte (pron.: /ˈlɒkti/, lock-tee; born August 3, 1984) is an American competitive swimmer and an eleven-time Olympic medalist (five gold, three silver, three bronze). His seven individual Olympic medals rank as second all-time in men’s swimming. As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay (long course). Individually, he currently holds the world record in the 100-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley (long and short course), and the 400-meter individual medley (short course).
Lochte specializes in the backstroke and individual medley, but is also a freestyle swimmer. He is noted for the speed and distance he attains while kicking underwater. Lochte is also known for his dominance in the short course format (25-yard and 25-meter long swimming pools).” [WIKI]
In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10, he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games. One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”
David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Appearing on “Morning Joe” this morning, Romney Campaign Manager, Dan Senor, echoed Ed Gillespie‘s assertican saying, “basically Mitt Romney was gone from Bain Capital” as he fixed the Olympics. Using “basically” means there were time when Mitt Romney was still running Bain Capital as Romney indicated on legal documents he submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Is this a situation for the US Inspector General to investigate?]