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Ex-CIA officer convicted of leaking secrets to reporter

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A jury has convicted a former CIA officer of leaking classified details of an operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions to a New York Times reporter.

Jurors convicted 47-year-old Jeffrey Sterling, of O’Fallon, Missouri, of all nine counts he faced in federal court on Monday.

Prosecutors said Sterling disclosed the mission to journalist James Risen to get back at the CIA for perceived mistreatment.

Sterling was the handler for a Russian-born CIA asset nicknamed Merlin, who was at the center of an operation to funnel deliberately flawed nuclear-weapons blueprints to the Iranians.

Risen wrote about the operation in a 2006 book. Risen refused to divulge his sources, and prosecutors eventually dropped their effort to force Risen to testify.

Sterling denied leaking anything to Risen, and said it was more likely Risen learned about the mission from Senate staffers who had been briefed on it.

MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press