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U.S. crackdown on information leaks continues with indictment of ex-C.I.A. officer who aided reporter

In further show of the U.S. government's crackdown to seal information leaks, the Justice Department on Thursday announced that a former Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) officer was being indicted for giving classified information to a New York Times reporter, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, who worked at the C.I.A. from 1993 until 2002 when he was fired, was arrested on charges that he disclosed restricted national defense information about a "clandestine program intended to impede the progress of unnamed countries’ weapons capabilities," the New York Times explained.

While the indictment does not name the journalist or the "clandestine program," the AP and the New York Times report that the journalist is assumed to be Times reporter James Risen who wrote a book, “State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration,” that included information about Iran's nuclear program.

If convicted, Sterling could be sentenced to up to 120 years in prison and $2.5 million in fines, the Christian Science Monitor said.

Sterling is the fourth former government worker since Obama took office to be indicted for leaking information, according to MSNBC, which added that is more such prosecutions than any previous administration.

News of Sterling's arrest comes just after the Obama administration released a memo instructing government agencies to review information security in order to prevent any further leaks.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has released secret diplomatic cables and classified war documents.


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