The trial of an ex-CIA officer accused of disclosing confidential information of a secret operation against Iran to a US journalist has been postponed after the government Friday removed two witnesses in the case.


A US docket entry on the case of Jeffrey Sterling, after a closed-door meeting at a US federal court in Virginia, said Judge Leonie Brinkema decided to "strike two witnesses," and prosecutors had told the court they would appeal the move.

The jury trial had been scheduled to start Monday but was now postponed for an undisclosed amount of time. No other details were immediately available from the court.

Sterling, 43, was arrested in St. Louis earlier this year on a 10-count indictment that included handing over classified intelligence on another country's covert weapons program and revealing national defense information.

Sterling, who worked for the CIA from 1993 to 2002, allegedly gave the journalist -- reported to be New York Times James Risen -- confidential information about the nuclear weapons capabilities of "Country A" and "a person linked to this operation."

Sterling allegedly handed over information in 2003, for an article that was not published, and in 2006 to the same reporter, this time for a book.

A secret operation that took place in Iran was described in Risen's book "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration."

The Justice Department has said Sterling's alleged actions may have been in retaliation for the CIA refusing to settle a claim of racial discrimination that he had brought against the agency. Sterling is black.