FILE PHOTO - General James E. Cartwright, former USMC vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on a repeal of section 654 of title 10, United States Code, "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces" on Capitol Hill in Washington December 3, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang(reuters_tickers)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A retired U.S. Marine Corps general who last served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been charged with making false statements to the FBI during an investigation into leaks of classified information, according to a federal indictment released on Monday.
Four-star General James Cartwright was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2012 over a book written by New York Times' reporter David Sanger, which exposed a malicious computer software program known as "Stuxnet" designed to disrupt Iran's nuclear program.
Reuters and several other news outlets have previously reported that Stuxnet was developed jointly by U.S. and Israeli forces. Both the U.S. and Israel have never publicly admitted responsibility for Stuxnet.
Stuxnet was a sophisticated computer virus deployed covertly in 2009 and 2010 to sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program. The worm, parts of which surfaced publicly in 2010 due to a programming error that allowed it to spread across the open internet, is believed to have destroyed a thousand or more centrifuges that were enriching uranium.
Cartwright has long been the target of a Justice Department probe investigating the source of leaks about Stuxnet to the New York Times.
Cartwright, who retired in 2011, is expected to make his first court appearance at 3:30 pm EDT (1930 GMT) on Monday for an arraignment and plea hearing.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Dustin Volz; Editing by Tom Brown)