Ex-CIA officer found guilty in leak case

A former CIA officer on Monday was convicted of leaking information to a New York Times reporter about a covert operation to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.

A jury found Jeffrey Sterling guilty on all nine counts. He will be sentenced on April 24 and can appeal his conviction. According to reports, he could face decades in prison, though many legal experts believe his sentence will be shorter.

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The case gained national attention, after federal prosecutors spent years trying to force James Risen, the Times' national security reporter, to reveal his sources and later to testify in Sterling's trial.

Risen revealed details of the secret operation in his 2006 book, State of War.

Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderRacial undercurrents inflame Uber fight over background checks Chaffetz seeks to hold Obama official in contempt over water rule Eric Holder goes to bat for Uber MORE finally abandoned the government's push to compel Risen to testify earlier this month.

Civil liberties groups have criticized the Obama administration's handling of Risen and for aggressively pursuing sources in other leak investigations.

Without Risen's testimony, federal prosecutors had no direct evidence that Sterling, who was responsible for managing the program, had shared information with the reporter.

But prosecutors used circumstantial evidence, including phone and email records showing communications between the two. The government also alleged that Sterling, an African-American, was motivated to leak the information because he believed he was being discriminated against at work.

Holder touted the guilty verdict on Monday, calling it a "just and appropriate outcome" in a statement.