“We’re both just shocked. It was like hearing the verdict read all over again, for me. I really don’t understand it. There was absolutely no proof.”

Holly Sterling

Jeffrey and Holly Sterling

On Thursday (June 22 2017), a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld all but one of Sterling’s convictions. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

Moreover, the Court determined that because his 42-month sentence could have applied to any single count of which he was found guilty, there was no need to take further action.

Sterling said she and her husband in the past had considered taking the case to the Supreme Court, but they did not discuss on Thursday whether they would do so and wanted to first talk to their lawyers about it.

Edward B. MacMahon Jr., one of Jeffrey Sterling’s attorneys, said, “I’m obviously disappointed in the ruling, and I still believe in his innocence.”

Barry J. Pollack, another of his lawyers, said that although it was technically possible Sterling could appeal to the Supreme Court, “obviously the odds are very long that the Supreme Court is going to take any given case, so he’ll have to make a decision as to whether he’ll want to take a shot at that or not.”

Fourth Circuit Criminalizes Unclassified Tips

The Fourth Circuit just codified the principle that you can go to prison for four minutes and 11 seconds of phone calls during which you tell a reporter to go find out classified details you know about.

“So between the finding that Sterling criminally “encouraged” the transmission of classified information in four minutes and 11 seconds of phone calls of unknown content, and the finding that Sterling obstructed justice before knowing there was a grand jury by deleting information that unknown grand jury ultimately never asked for, the Fourth Circuit has just criminalized sharing unclassified information.” [emptywheel]

About Jeffrey Sterling

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is an American lawyer and former CIA employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for revealing details about Operation Merlin to journalist James Risen.

The case against him is circumstantial. There is evidence that Sterling and Risen have called each other. Risen has of course dozens of contacts at the CIA.

In May 2015, Sterling was sentenced to 3½ years in prison and thus set for release in 2018.

RELATED POST: No Presidential Pardon for Ex-CIA Jeffrey Sterling

RELATED POST: Prison Officials Respond to CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s Health Complaint

RELATED POST: Former CIA John Kiriakou Explains The Jeffrey Sterling Case (VIDEO)

RELATED POST: Former CIA Jeffrey Sterling: Appeals Court Expected to Rule Soon

Message from Laurie Lewandowski   (Spokesperson for the Sterling family)

Thursday, June 22, 2017 — The appellate court upheld all but one of Jeffrey’s convictions.

We are saddened that once again, this blight on Jeffrey’s character was not erased.

While we know that Jeffrey is innocent of leaking information to James Risen and many stand in solidarity with us it is difficult to stand confident and proud in our beliefs when truth doesn’t prevail time after time.

I have attached a link to an article that was in the Washington Post regarding the appeal and another from empty wheel.

Holly and Jeffrey have not made a decision in regards to seeking a case with the Supreme Court.

Perhaps time will lessen the hurt and the disbelief we all feel.

Perhaps one day, the true source will come forward.

For now, all we can do is look forward to June 2018 and pray that when Jeffrey is released from prison, many fantastic opportunities will come his way.


Sterling joined the CIA on May 14, 1993. In 1995, he became operations officer in the Iran task force of the CIA’s Near East and South Asia division.

On December 22, 2010, U.S. attorney Neil H. MacBride filed an indictment against Jeffrey Alexander Sterling on the Unlawful Retention and Unauthorized Disclosure of National Defense Information, Mail Fraud, Unauthorized Conveyance of Government Property, and Obstruction of Justice.

Sterling was arrested on January 6, 2011.

Sterling was convicted of espionage charges on January 26, 2015

On 11 May 2015, Sterling was sentenced to 3½ years in prison and thus set for release in 2018.

On August 11 2016, Jeffrey Sterling filed a health complaint against Colorado federal correctional institution.

December 2016 — Jeffrey’s appellate hearing took place in early December 2016. “His attorneys did a phenomenal job and there were some pointed questions asked by at least one judge.”

June 22, 2017 — The appellate court upheld all but one of Jeffrey’s convictions.

INTERVIEW with John Kiriakou


Appeals court affirms most convictions of ex-CIA officer convicted in leak case — WaPo

In Opinion Mostly Rejecting Jeffrey Sterling Appeal, Fourth Circuit Criminalizes Unclassified Tips — emptywheel


Appeals court affirms most convictions of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling