A former CIA officer convicted of leaking details of a secret mission to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions is making his final pitch for a lenient sentence.

Jeffrey Sterling of O'Fallon, Missouri, is scheduled for sentencing Monday afternoon in federal court in Alexandria.

He faces a recommended sentence of 20 years or more under federal sentencing guidelines for violations of the Espionage Act. A jury convicted him of telling New York Times journalist James Risen about a classified plan to trick the Iranian government by slipping flawed nuclear blueprints through a Russian intermediary.

Prosecutors are urging a stiff sentence; the defense says his punishment should be more in line with that of former. CIA director David Petraeus. He got probation last month for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress.