Ex-FBI Agent Pleads Guilty To Leaking Info Of "Upgraded" Underwear Bombs

By: CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)

(CBS) An former FBI agent has pleaded guilty to leaking classified information to the Associate Press relating to a disrupted terrorist plot.

Donald J. Sachtleben, an ex-FBI bomb technician from Indiana, disclosed the existence of a foiled terrorist attack to an AP reporter in April and May of 2012.

The information revealed the existence of an upgraded underwear bomb to be detonated on an airplane by a suicide bomber. The CIA disrupted the Yemen-based plot masterminded by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

After pleading guilty, Sachtleben said in a written statement, "I am deeply sorry for my actions. While I never intended harm to the United States or to any individuals, I do not make excuses for myself. I understand and accept that today's filings start the process of paying the full consequences of my misconduct, and I know that the justice system I once served so proudly will have its say."

The story, published by the Associated Press on May 7, 2012, triggered one of the most aggressive leak investigations ever.

Sachtleben worked for the FBI from 1983 through 2008 during which he was assigned to work on many major cases involving terrorist attacks.

In a separate twist to the case, nine days after leaking the defense information to the AP, Sachtleben was arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography resulting from a separate investigation to which he later also pleaded guilty.

The plea agreements call for Sachtleben to be sentenced consecutively to almost 12 years in total in prison, including a 43-month prison term for the national security offenses and a 97-month term for the child pornography charges.

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