Retired four-star general James E. Cartwright of the United States Marines has been put under investigation by the Obama Administration, according to a new article on the New York Times website.

Here is the scoop:

The former second-ranking officer in the United States military, retired Gen. James E. Cartwright of the Marines, is a target of an investigation into the leak of classified information about American cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed Thursday night.

The leak investigation, being carried out by the United States attorney for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, was announced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. after articles in The New York Times described an ambitious series of cyberattacks under the code name Olympic Games that were intended to slow Iran’s progress toward a nuclear bomb. That General Cartwright is a focus of the leak inquiry was first reported by NBC News.

The general, 63, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, became a favorite adviser of President Obama and was considered an influential voice in the White House on security matters.

Gen. Cartwright is currently employed at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It's unclear -- at least to me -- what motivated him to leak information about the cyberattacks on Iran to the New York Times. However, he has spoken out in the past against U.S. policy with Iran that could lead to war.

The former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned on Wednesday that a military strike on Iran would require the U.S. to occupy Iran for “tens of years” and urged instead for a diplomatic solution.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, General James Cartwright said that the tools of diplomacy regarding Iran, including direct talks and further pressure, had not been exhausted. The threat of military action, he said, can be one component of an effort to press for a negotiated solution, but must be weighed against the danger of provoking an accidental war.

Cartwright explained that, if deterrence is the objective with Iran, then it is very important to first know how to manage the “art of deterrence.” Too strong of a “force posture” could instead have the effect of a self-fulfilling prophecy and actually incite escalation of conflict in the region.

The New York Times notes that the Obama administration is already prosecuting seven people under the rarely-used Espionage Act for leaking secret information to the press.

It's clear that a focused effort is underway in the White House to use such prosecutions to keep secret government activity from reaching the ears of the public.

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