General James Cartwright, the man who allegedly told the New York Times that the U.S. and Israel had developed Stuxnet malware, has been granted clemency by out-going President Barack Obama.

The cyber-attack rose to fame in 2010, and is widely regarded as the first nation-state attack on infrastructure with the aim of causing real world damage, as it was programmed to destroy equipment in an Iranian nuclear facility. The incident greatly slowed down the country's nuclear enrichment programme.

The Obama administration made the announcement on Tuesday. At the same it announced that the sentence of Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning was to be shortened to just seven years of the given 35 year sentence. .

At the time of investigation last year, Cartwright plead guilty to the FBI for lying when he denied that he was the source of the leak. He was set to be sentenced but instead he received afull pardon from President Obama.

Cartwright was facing a punishment that could have ranged between a USD $500 ( £406)  fine and six months in prison.

The White House commented on the decision, citing Cartwright's extensive military career, it said, “he's somebody who's dedicated his life and his career to protecting the country, and his service to the country has weighed heavily in the President's decision.”