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Accused ex-CIA officer waives St. Louis detention hearing

Accused ex-CIA officer waives St. Louis detention hearing

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ST. LOUIS • Jeffrey A. Sterling, the former CIA officer from O'Fallon, Mo., held on charges of leaking government secrets to a newspaper reporter, waived his right to a detention hearing here Monday.

Instead, the question of whether he is a flight risk or "a danger to the community," as prosecutors assert, will be decided in federal court in Virginia, where a Dec. 22 indictment against him was revealed last week.

Sterling, 43, who recently had knee replacement surgery, will be moved once officials determine it is safe for him to travel.

He is charged on 10 counts related to obstructing justice and disclosing national security information and was arrested Thursday morning in St. Louis at work at Wellpoint Inc., a health insurance company. He is a senior investigator there, earning $90,000 a year, according to court filings.

The alleged leak regards a botched CIA effort to derail Iran's nuclear program, which James Risen of the New York Times detailed in his 2006 book "State of War." Risen has not responded to a request for comment.

Sterling's attorney, Edward McMahon, has maintained his client's innocence. He declined to comment here Monday during a brief court appearance.

Sterling, who grew up in Cape Girardeau, worked for the CIA from 1993 to 2002, serving on the Iranian desk from 1998 to 2000.

He was fired by the CIA after he filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York City, claiming the agency discriminated against him because he is African-American, according to a People magazine profile. The suit reportedly was later quashed out of concern for state secrets. Federal prosecutors allege that Sterling retaliated by leaking the secret information.

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