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Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty To Leaking Secrets to the Associated Press 178

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-sure-what-to-think dept.
McGruber writes "Today, Former FBI agent Donald John Sachtleben has agreed to plead guilty to leaking secret government information about a bomb plot to the Associated Press. In May, Sachtleben agreed to plead guilty to unrelated charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, and to pay restitution to an identified victim portrayed in the images and videos he allegedly possessed." The deal includes a prison sentence of three years and seven months, and "If accepted by a judge, the prison sentence would be the longest ever handed down in a civilian court for a leak of classified information to a reporter."
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Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty To Leaking Secrets to the Associated Press

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  • . . . shocked, I tell you.

    Let the countdown to the next and then the next and then the. . .begin.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noh8rz10 (2716597)

      I'm growing more and more horrified to be a citizen of the USSA.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm growing more and more horrified to be a citizen of the USSA.

        You're welcome to leave and find out what an actual repressive state looks like, kid.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          I'm growing more and more horrified to be a citizen of the USSA.

          You're welcome to leave and find out what an actual repressive state looks like, kid.

          said the anonymous coward.

          • by Desler (1608317)

            Yes, anonymous free speech. A necessary right spoken of in the Federalist Papers. Why is his point less valid because he used a different pseudonym than you? If not hiding behind pseudo-anonymity makes your point more valid please provide all your personally identifying info.

      • Just because they are toads doesn't mean other people aren't too. It is difficult to judge either behavior if it is done in secret. If the NSA records everything then they must be storing child porn on their computers and if there is one in their midst who is " wrong minded" then their computers should be confiscated and we need to search and see who had what access to information and how they used it. Think of the children.
        If possession is the only measure, they are guilty and they need to prove that the
        • by rioki (1328185)

          The possession as single ground for prosecution is a dangerous can of worms. Originally with VCR tapes and paper pictures this law made some sense, but now you can embed a 0x0 sized picture into a website and boom instant dissident conviction machine. Although I don't know about the details of this case, this sounds somewhat similar... Oh, you leaked some secret documents, ey?

          • Your point is a good one. Tumblr will *give* you 100 small images, most of which you never look at or are even aware of . Yet the internet being what it is, they are somehow "on"your computer. What if one of them is illegal ? Is everyone who stumbles on that Tumblr somehow guilty of something? Ditto Pinterest and all of the other photo-blog sites. That can't possibly be the criteria because then everyone who lands one those sites is insta-guilty. Given the internet and the content and linked in-ness of T

      • Re:I'm shocked (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday September 23, 2013 @11:53PM (#44931113)

        I'm growing more and more horrified to be a citizen of the USA.

        Why? It seems like a fair sentence to me. There was no "whistleblowing" here that I can see. His disclosure compromised field agents, and could have done real harm. He was apparently just leaking classified info for his own benefit. This guy was not a Snowden, or even a Manning.

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          ok, what was his own benefit here? was he paid? or what?

          when you can't step on the neck of the free press, just stomp on everybody who dares to talk to them.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          It seems likely that something else was really going on, the FBI agent was feeding information to the reporter for money but they couldn't prove it, hence they searched for anything and everything they could charge the agent with instead. So likely there were a whole series of leaks they couldn't pin to the agent but they where fairly certain the agent was the problem.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            so fbi as an agency works like in gta V? screw justice if you can pin something on someone..

            • so fbi as an agency works like in gta V? screw justice if you can pin something on someone..

              Law enforcement does that all the time. You can't prove the guy did what you think he did, so you get him on something else. It was never proven in court that Al Capone was a gangster, only that he was a tax cheat.

            • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

              nice. can't wait to play it. I only play one or two games a year, so what I typically do is buy a system from target, play the game hardcore for a couple weeks, then return the system. scratches my video game itch at low cost! also this way it's the best use of my time to play blockbuster games, and I don't fill the time with lesser games. on my list right now are gta V and bioshock infinite. will also consider the new assassin's creed with the pirate theme. I was a little disappointed in AC III, but AC II

          • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

            It seems likely that something else was really going on, the FBI agent was feeding information to the reporter for money but they couldn't prove it, hence they searched for anything and everything they could charge the agent with instead. So likely there were a whole series of leaks they couldn't pin to the agent but they where fairly certain the agent was the problem.

            whaa? what idea leads you to believe that the associated press was bribing an FBI agent for classified information? there's no hint of suggestion for this anywhere. I find it much more believable that agency xyz railroaded him than there was an AP bribery thing. If there were, they would have shut down that entire office.

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          Why? It seems like a fair sentence to me. There was no "whistleblowing" here that I can see. His disclosure compromised field agents, and could have done real harm. He was apparently just leaking classified info for his own benefit. This guy was not a Snowden, or even a Manning.

          whaa? what idea leads you to believe that the associated press was bribing an FBI agent for classified information? there's no hint of suggestion for this anywhere. I find it much more believable that agency xyz railroaded him than there was an AP bribery thing. If there were, they would have shut down that entire office.

        • I have to agree. he did it because he could do it and for no other reason. This is not about whistle blowing. It's about making yourself the center of attention, making yourself *somebody* and possibly, we don't know, getting back at your employer.
    • I'm just surprised how whistleblowers and IMF chiefs who question the value of the U.S. dollar [guardian.co.uk] always turn out to be peodophiles and rapists. I would almost suspect that someone is setting them up on those charges in an attempt to discredit them in the public eye (and erode any support they may have for their whistleblowing). But that's just silly. Besides, the only one capable of pulling that off is our fine, noble, honest government. And they would surely never do anything like that.

  • Congrats Obama! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_scoots (1595597) on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:21PM (#44930597)
    Way to go on that transparency and leaker protection thing you so loved.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9GSBT_-JoQ [youtube.com]
    • Re:Congrats Obama! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:56PM (#44930831)

      Thats an impressive clip. Two minutes of promises and I'm not sure a single one of them has been kept.

      No lobbyist in administration
      No corporate welfare pork barrel spending
      Posting bills for 5 days for comments before signing them
      Meetings between lobbyst and administration publically shown
      All tax breaks/subsidies for business publically listed

      So are people who called him a liar when he made that speech still racists?
      "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltare

    • Re:Congrats Obama! (Score:5, Informative)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @01:25AM (#44931465)

      He traded child pornography on numerous occasions with someone online. Both of whom were caught and pled guilty. They probably found evidence in their investigation which linked him to the leaks. These links weren't exposing wrong doing or malfeasance they were just straight up classified leaks that could expose undercover agents. It's believed he leaked them for monetary gain not even any noble patriotism. That's not a whistleblower, that's a pedophile who got caught selling classified documents.

      • He's no more a pedophile than Julian Assange and Dominique Strauss-Kahn are rapists. That's just something they set you up on when they want to discredit you in the public eye, force you out of public office, and/or get you to talk.

      • What a fortunate coincidence for the prosecutors that someone leaking information just happened to be into child pron.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:21PM (#44930607)

    What ever happened to the whistleblower act? He should have immunity over this. Clearly the government has lost their mind and have gone completely tyrannical. Did you know that just last week the feds now told the police that anyone that there may be more to 9/11 than what meets the eye, like believing in WTC7 means that they're probably a terrorist? Using VPN, proxies, encryption, storing food for more than 5-days are other reasons as well. Every month new possibilities come up and anything we say online, on the phone, or over the radio can and will be used against us if we're deemed a threat to the government. In other words, the government doesn't give a shit about us, it's all about THEIR better interest. Whether you believe in any whistleblower or not of the past decade isn't what matters, what matters is the result of calling out your government for doing something illegal and then getting arrested that matters. This is a BIG problem and why people should be concerned. Next, your visitation to the therapist or doctor could be a reason for you to not bare arms or even be arrested as a suspected terrorist because quite frankly EVERYONE is a suspect at this point. But you know what they say, if everyone else is a suspect, there's a possibility that you're the one who's the real suspect, and quite frankly I think we can all agree that the government is the real terrorist, trying to scare the living crap out of people and telling them what to do "or else". /rant

    • Do you actually know the purpose of whistleblowing laws? You think it is designed to protect people who leak random classified information of no consequence to the law?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, I know the purpose of the whistleblower protection act. Let me quote it for you.

        "The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Pub.L. 101-12 as amended, is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or appl

        • Where was he leaking information that fell under any of those categories?
        • You can't use irrelevant laws in your search for greater government transparency. That would make you no better than the government using laws to keep its people down.

    • How is this guy a whistle blower? What illegal activity or wasteful on the government's part did he reveal? Because that's the definition of a whistle blower in the law. an you substantiate you claim that he's a whistle blower?

      On your other point, the production of universal guilt coupled with selective enforcement is the functional equivalent to 8no law at all*, since the only thing keeping your head of f the block is the will of the government of the king, i.e. a nation of men and not a nation of laws.

      Bu

  • Priorities (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FuzzNugget (2840687)

    They're pissed about the press leaks and out for blood, so he gets the longest ever sentence for leaking classified information.

    But the kiddie porn charges? Nah, just pay a fine.

    Wow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by subsoniq (652203)
      From the FBI press release abut the guilty plea on possession of child porn:

      According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Sachtleben could face five to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge. Both charges also carry up to a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release if he is found to be guilty.
      • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BitterOak (537666) on Monday September 23, 2013 @11:34PM (#44930999)

        From the FBI press release abut the guilty plea on possession of child porn: According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Sachtleben could face five to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge. Both charges also carry up to a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release if he is found to be guilty.

        Does anyone besides me think it's ridiculous that a person can get 10 years in prison for possession of a JPEG image on his computer?

        • Does anyone besides me think it's ridiculous that a person can get 10 years in prison for possession of a JPEG image on his computer?

          Probably. However, that is the upper bound of sentencing available to the judge; tempered by the facts of the case and offender, not a mandatory sentence, and probably not even a typical sentence.

          It is, however, not just a JPEG ( I would be surprised if cases before the courts hinged on a single JPEG). The image is evidence of of crime and pattern of behaviour that few societies, including prison societies, will tolerate. Sure, the possessor might not have perpetrated the original child-abuse crime but

        • No it is not cridiculous. It is a very convenient way to remove an opponent...
    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:52PM (#44930813)

      They're pissed about the press leaks and out for blood, so he gets the longest ever sentence for leaking classified information.

      But the kiddie porn charges? Nah, just pay a fine.

      Wow.

      Please. The kiddie porn charges were to merely get him to enter a plea and move this along.

      Doesn't take a card-carrying FBI agent to Scooby Doo that bullshit. It's called a pressure point, and a rather effective one too, as you can see.

      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        They're pissed about the press leaks and out for blood, so he gets the longest ever sentence for leaking classified information.

        But the kiddie porn charges? Nah, just pay a fine.

        Wow.

        Please. The kiddie porn charges were to merely get him to enter a plea and move this along.

        Doesn't take a card-carrying FBI agent to Scooby Doo that bullshit. It's called a pressure point, and a rather effective one too, as you can see.

        And he would have got away with it to if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!

    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday September 23, 2013 @11:32PM (#44930985) Homepage Journal

      But the kiddie porn charges? Nah, just pay a fine.

      I'll bet that if you could get a look at the actual evidence, you'd find that the kiddie porn thing is BS.

      If the government wants to pressure you to do something, that kind of blackmail is at the top of the hit list of their favorite moves.

      I guarantee you will never hear of a whistleblower and not hear shortly thereafter the words "kiddie porn" or "rape" or a whole basket of smears.

      See, the NSA couldn't do the kiddie porn or rape thing with Ed Snowden, because that might hurt their nice cozy contract the private intelligence firm Snowden worked for. But they still did their best to smear every detail of his life. Reading Bart Gellman's profile in the Washington Post is a revelation for anyone who has gotten their notions about Snowden from the usual royal court stenographers in the media.

      The entire security/intelligence apparatus of the United States stinks to high heaven. They're doing the kind of things that anyone who grew up in, or spent time in, Soviet satellite countries would recognize right away.

      • (almost) No one is listening when the government says Snowden is a bad guy. Any government would say something like that in this situation. No one I know cares or gets emotional about it. That would be like getting mad at a parakeet for chirping all day long.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I was living in one of those Soviet satellite countries and I am afraid that USA (and to high level other western countries) is about half way to become as oppressive as commie regimes in these countries in late 80s - I'll give it another 15-20 years.
        The horror is it wont stop there. With the increasing surveillance capabilities it will go all the way to North Korea status.
        Spying and blackmailing is the most effective tool to terrorize the citizens. Even if you are a superhero and you don not mind to be th

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          The Surveillance is THE SINGLE BIGGEST danger to democracy because once it exceeds a certain threshold then there might not be a way back for centuries

          That's the truth.

          Some of my liberal loyalist friends tell me, "But look at the progress we've made on gay marriage and women's rights" and I try to tell them those things won't mean a thing if privacy is forever made impossible.

      • by nbritton (823086)

        You don't need to look at the evidence, the story the DoJ gave is as follows:

        "According to the criminal complaint filed one year ago, federal and state investigators became aware of an individual trading images of child pornography online in September 2010. An extensive investigation into that individual led to the arrest of a defendant in Illinois in January 2012. Upon arrest, a forensic search of that defendant’s computer equipment and e-mail accounts allegedly revealed that he had been actively trading the explicit materials online with numerous other people.

        Based on that information, law enforcement were able to trace the alleged online activity to Sachtleben’s home in Carmel. After conducting surveillance over a period of days, a search warrant was obtained on May 3, 2012, and was subsequently executed by law enforcement officers from the Indiana State Police and the FBI Cyber Crime Task Force."

        And here is the quote from the other article:

        "A story by the Associated Press in May 2012 described a U.S. operation in Yemen to foil a plot to bomb an airliner. The AP said it delayed publishing the story at the request of government officials until security concerns were allayed, but U.S. officials said the leak compromised a U.S. agent working to undermine the Islamic militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

        Two months later, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a senior prosecutor to lead an investigation."

        It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. It was justification for the raid and leverage, ex post facto. He had security clearance and knew unauthorized disclosure would be a criminal offense, so what compelled him to disclose this to the news? There is more to this story then they're telling us...

        • by nbritton (823086)

          A dog bone is enough to support probable cause for murder, and unless you prove otherwise you would be convicted too. Our system of law is broken, the problem is prosecutorial immunity. One possible solution is to award treble damages (court costs, legal fees, etc.) upon acquittal.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          There is more to this story then they're telling us...

          You bet there is. That's my point.

          And just the words "kiddie porn" are enough to end all discussion. I wonder what this "kiddie porn" actually was.

          Remember, we've learned recently about the FBI "backfilling" evidence and acquiring evidence by one means but then pretending they got something else, elsewhere.

          Yes, there's more to this story.

  • by guises (2423402) on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:26PM (#44930633)
    The idea behind restitution is to make whole someone who has been injured or caused some loss by another's actions. Unless this is a copyright issue, I don't see how possessing or distributing child pornography could be associated with any kind of monetary restitution. Creation of child pornography perhaps - the child could claim some trauma or, maybe at the outside, damage to their reputation. This doesn't make any sense though.
    • I don't see how possessing or distributing child pornography could be associated with any kind of monetary restitution. Creation of child pornography perhaps

      The restitution goes to a kid in one of the pictures he was distributing. Maybe not 100% fair, but there's nothing fair about that situation.

      • The restitution goes to a kid in one of the pictures he was distributing. Maybe not 100% fair, but there's nothing fair about that situation.

        I would be wary of the situation. Firstly, what the courts accept as child pornography can be seriously out of balance with what the average person would consider it as. Parents have been convicted of taking pictures of their children playing in the bathtub to send to family members. Most families have taken pictures of their young children in the nude, and this is not sexual in any way for them. So be very careful taking any charge or conviction of a sexual nature at face value. People have been put on sex

        • You'll notice that many of the people who have been accused of leaking classified information have been later accused of sexual impropriety; This is statistically very improbable.

          Are you so sure?

  • Maybe this is a more common tactic than I thought.
  • Not A Saint (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:41PM (#44930741)

    Did he leak info that uncovered government wrong doing? No. Did he leak info that showed corruption? No. Did he leak info to protect innocent victims from harm? No. Those would all be excellent and justifiable reasons to break his oath and provide information to outside sources. He was just being a moron.

    Not everyone who leaks information deserves protection or is a whistle blower.

    • by tlambert (566799)

      Did he leak info that uncovered government wrong doing? No. Did he leak info that showed corruption? No. Did he leak info to protect innocent victims from harm? No. Those would all be excellent and justifiable reasons to break his oath and provide information to outside sources. He was just being a moron.

      Not everyone who leaks information deserves protection or is a whistle blower.

      Why did Bradley Manning get outed as a transexual, and Donald Sachtleben get outed as a trafficker in child pornography? Bradley Manning got first pick.

      Makes you wonder what Edward Snowden will have retroactively done to offend the religious right and justify a long prison sentence. You know, after he's extradited by the U.S. from a country with which the U.S. has no extradition treaty.

    • Did he leak info that uncovered government wrong doing? No. Did he leak info that showed corruption? No. Did he leak info to protect innocent victims from harm? No. Those would all be excellent and justifiable reasons to break his oath and provide information to outside sources.

      Yes, but not the only "excellent and justifiable" reasons to leak. For all the money we spend on the 'war on terror', it would be nice to occasionally hear from the front lines what the actual threats are. But we almost never do. We're simply told there are terrorists out there, and we have to spend tons of money and sacrifice our civil liberty, but we're rarely handed evidence to support this. It has to be taken on faith.

      Do you feel this is an acceptable state of affairs for a democratic country? The claim

      • by bhiestand (157373)

        Yes, but not the only "excellent and justifiable" reasons to leak. For all the money we spend on the 'war on terror', it would be nice to occasionally hear from the front lines what the actual threats are.

        So you're saying it's justifiable to leak legitimately classified information because it feels nice?

        . This is a problem, and while I'm not disagreeing that this guy should have kept is damn mouth shut, his opening it didn't cause much harm... he should have simply been fired, and perhaps spend a few months to a year at most in jail, or put on probation. Sometimes people are stupid... it doesn't mean they're a continuing threat to society, and that's the only reason we should ever consider imprisonment.

        Sometimes you make very insightful contributions to the discussion here. Your argument is incredibly silly, and obviously misinformed about this particular case.

        First, prison is used for deterrence or punishment in addition to preventing future harm. Murderers don't get to avoid prison just because they cut their hands off and promise to never do it again. This guy shouldn't get away with committing a seri

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @10:47PM (#44930793)

    Respect can be lost, but fear sticks around.

    And that is exactly what the sons of bitches who are behind the
    curtain ( the ones who pull the strings that make Obama move )
    are interested in : making sure Americans are terrified to speak
    out.

    • And so the Anonymous Cowards protested. They rose up with their masks to protect their identity, and with picket signs of void pointers: Not even in white, for that could be misunderstood as flags of surrender, but unvoiced as transparencies instead. In silence they marched, unseen, all around us, always and forever. Not the heroes we need, but quantum superpositions of both the heroes we deserve and the ones that don't exist... The potential for great change -- A waveform never destined to collapse.

    • rule of law is exactly the same as rule of man, just a couple more inconvenient steps.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, now I see a use for the NSA backdoors in systems. Offend your masters and hey presto, you're paedophile and here's [uploading .... ] the evidence to prove it.

    • No offense, but it's always been obvious that's a major purpose. As long as there's been snooping, it's been a major purpose. J. Edgar Hoover specialized in it.

  • by nbritton (823086) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:04AM (#44932799)

    From the article:

    one count of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information.

    What exactly does that mean? It's now a thought crime to know anything about national defense?

    • by alexo (9335)

      Everything is a crime unless officially sanctioned by the government

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:02AM (#44934327) Homepage Journal

    Have you noticed that anyone the government doesn't like gets either a kiddie porn charge or a rape charge thrown against them? Meanwhile actual government contractors get away with rape, human trafficking and actual kiddie-porn & pedophilia with no consequences (DynCorp, Haliburton).

    The US government is very, very corrupt and run by some nasty-ass evil fucks. And I don't mean the "elected" officials, I mean the lobbyists who really run things.

    • And I don't mean the "elected" officials, I mean the lobbyists who really run things.

      I hate lobbyists as much as the next person, but who is going to lobby for this? This is politicians and appointed officials out to smear anyone who airs the government's dirty laundry.

  • by jeff13 (255285)

    Well, yea but, how can we make this Obama's fault? ... oh wait.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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