The lawyer for retired Gen. James Cartwright defended the former top military official after it was revealed he is the target of a high-profile leak investigation, calling any suggestion of wrongdoing "preposterous."
Gregory Craig, the former White House counsel who is now representing Cartwright, put out a brief statement in response to the reports.
"General Jim Cartwright is an American hero who served his country with distinction for four decades. Any suggestion that he could have betrayed the country he loves is preposterous," he said.
Cartwright was until recently the second-highest ranking officer in the U.S. military, as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The probe into the retired Marine general became public in news reports late Thursday.
A senior U.S. official confirmed the investigation to Fox News, saying Cartwright was being investigated over alleged leaks to a New York Times reporter regarding a secret cyber-assault on Iran's nuclear program.
The official said the investigation has been ongoing for about a year.
The Times' David Sanger wrote about the so-called Stuxnet virus program in his book, "Confront and Conceal: "Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power," and a June 2012 New York Times article.
It is one of several high-profile leaks the administration has been investigating, though much of the attention lately has been on the case of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who admitted to feeding classified documents to newspapers on the U.S. government's phone and Internet surveillance programs. Snowden is believed to be at the Moscow airport, where he's been stuck for days after catching a flight out of Hong Kong.
Cartwright was once considered a top contender for the top job of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but left the military in 2011.