Ex-FBI agent guilty in leak about terror plot
By The Washington Post
Published: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 8:39 p.m.
WASHINGTON — A former FBI bomb technician who later worked as a contractor for the bureau has agreed to plead guilty to disclosing national Defense information about a disrupted terrorist plot to the Associated Press, according to the Justice Department.
Donald John Sachtleben, 55, of Carmel, Ind., who had agreed to plead guilty to charges of possessing and distributing child pornography in a separate investigation, provided information to an Associated Press reporter relating to the disruption of a plot to conduct a suicide bomb attack on a U.S.-bound airline by al-Qaida and the recovery by the United States of a bomb in connection with that plot, according to court documents filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
“This unauthorized and unjustifiable disclosure severely jeopardized national security and put lives at risk,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said. “To keep the country safe, the department must enforce the law against such critical and dangerous leaks, while respecting the important role of the press under the department's media guidelines and any shield law enacted by Congress.”
In a sweeping investigation, Justice officials secretly obtained cellular, office and home telephone records from more than 20 phone lines assigned to the Associated Press and its journalists as part of a yearlong investigation into the disclosure about the failed al-Qaida plot last year.
Sachtleben worked for the FBI from 1983 through 2008 and was a special agent bomb technician assigned to work on many major cases involving terrorist attacks. In 2008, Sachtleben retired from the bureau and was rehired as a contractor. As a contractor, he routinely visited the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va.
Sachtleben was identified as a suspect in the case after the toll records for a reporter's phone numbers were obtained through a subpoena and compared to other evidence collected during the Justice Department leak investigation. This allowed investigators to obtain a search warrant authorizing a more exhaustive search of Sachtleben's cell phone, computer and other electronic equipment, which was already in the possession of federal agents because of the unrelated child pornography investigation, according to Justice officials.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Traffic cameras rejected in Ohio ruling
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- Senate scuttles funding for vets; GOP calls it an election-year ploy
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song
- Immigrant detainees on hunger strike
- Sullivan case still relied on in libel claims
- Flubbed ‘stifling’ finally ends 29-round spelling bee
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Parents of ‘spoiled’ teen urge her to return home