The Justice Department says it’s solved one of the most significant leak cases in recent memory: disclosure of an Al Qaeda airliner-bombing plot last year that had reportedly been penetrated by western intelligence services.
Former FBI agent Donald Sachtleben, 55, admitted in court papers Monday that he disclosed classified information about the plot to a journalist. The court filings don’t directly identify the reporter or the news outlet, but they refer to an Associated Press report on the plot.
A federal law enforcement official who asked not to be named also told POLITICO the leaks in question were to the Associated Press.
The court papers indicate that Sachtleben, a bomb expert who was working as a contract technician at the FBI lab at the time of the leak last year, obtained information about the case from FBI lab computers after exchanging text messages with an AP reporter.
Sachtleben, who retired as an FBI special agent in 2008, has agreed to serve a 43-month sentence on one charge of disclosing national defense information and one charge of retaining classified information at his home. He also agreed to serve 97 months on two child pornography offenses to which he previously pled guilty.