(WASHINGTON) — Donald Sachtleben, a former FBI agent, has admitted leaking information to the Associated Press about a successful U.S. effort in April 2012 to disrupt an al Qaeda bomb plot that originated in Yemen.
According to the Justice Department, Sachtleben, who was serving as a FBI contractor at the time, will serve 43 months in prison for the leak and an additional 97 months on a separate charge of possessing child pornography.
At the time of the leak, some Republicans accused the White House of deliberately passing along classified intelligence to the media to burnish President Obama’s credentials in fighting terrorism during an election year.
Meanwhile, the administration also came under attack last May when it was learned that the Justice Department obtained the phone records of AP reporters in order to find the source of the leak. The DOJ now says it was because of the records seizure that investigators were able to nab Sachtleben, 55, of Carmel, Ind.
Sachtleben reportedly told the AP that a double agent posing as a terrorist was able to infiltrate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and received a special underwear bomb that he would get through airport security in order to blow up a commercial plane. The bomb was designed by Ibrahim al-Asiri, AQAP’s master bomb maker.
AP broke the story on May 7, 2012, much to the chagrin of the White House, which complained that the disclosure compromised national security and ruined the double agent’s cover.
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Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN
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