Journalism

Ex-FBI Agent to Plead Guilty to Leaking Info to AP

Case that prompted DOJ to secretly collect wire service's phone records

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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 previously 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 the Yemen-based terrorist organization al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the recovery by the U.S. 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 M. 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."