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Factbox: U.S. cases involving leaks of secret material

(Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is probing the release of secret government documents by WikiLeaks to determine if any laws were broken. The following are other significant criminal cases involving the disclosure of state secrets, which were brought in part to crack down on unauthorized leaks.

The cases mostly involved people who worked for the government or had a direct connection, a key question about whether the WikiLeaks website or its founder Julian Assange could be prosecuted.


Thomas Drake: A former high-ranking National Security Agency official was indicted in April for illegally possessing classified information, obstructing the investigation into leaks at the spy agency by shredding materials and making false statements. The indictment said Drake was a key source for a number of articles by a newspaper reporter and that classified intelligence was published. The indictment did not say whether national security was harmed and Drake was not charged with the actual leaking of classified information. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, filed in Maryland.

Stephen Jin-Woo Kim: A foreign policy analyst who was detailed to the U.S. State Department was indicted in August with leaking secret intelligence information to a news reporter in 2009. Kim, who has written about U.S.-Korean ties and had briefed then Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of violating the espionage law that bars disclosing national defence information and was also charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with the reporter. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were filed in Washington, D.C.

Stewart Nozette: A former government scientist who worked at the Defence Department and NASA was indicted for allegedly offering to provide classified information to people he thought worked for the Israeli government but really were FBI agents conducting a sting operation. Nozette was indicted for attempted espionage by providing classified documents about U.S. defence strategies, early warning systems and satellite operations. He was accused of seeking roughly $2 million and an Israeli passport for his assistance. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were filed in Washington, D.C.


CUBA: Walter Kendall Myers, a retired U.S. State Department official, and his wife Gwendolyn were indicted in 2009 for passing classified information to Cuba for years. Kendall Myers rose to become a senior analyst specializing in intelligence analysis on European matters and with his security clearance he had accessed more than 200 reports about Cuba. The couple used dead drops and brush passes with Cuban handlers to pass the information. The husband pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and was sentenced to life in prison. His wife pleaded guilty to conspiracy to gather and transmit national defence information and was sentenced to almost seven years in prison.

AIPAC: Two former officials for the pro-Israeli lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee were charged in 2005 with conspiring with a former Pentagon analyst to provide defence information to foreign government officials, policy analysts and the media. The Justice Department dropped the case against the two lobbyists, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, last year after determining it could not win the case and classified information would have to be disclosed. The former Pentagon analyst, Lawrence Franklin, pleaded guilty to disclosing information to the two and was sentenced to serve more than 12 years in prison. The judge in the case ordered him released in May 2010.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Philip Barbara