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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Obama administration leaks more information on cyber war, blames Israel

Desperate for votes, the Obama administration has once again leaked information about the American-Israeli cyber war against Iran, this time to the Washington Post. And they're trying to pin the blame for the program's exposure on Israel (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected critical intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage attacks aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.

The massive piece of malware was designed to secretly map Iran’s computer networks and monitor the computers of Iranian officials, sending back a steady stream of intelligence used to enable an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials.

The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the so-called Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment.

The emerging details about Flame provide new clues about what is believed to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.

“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”

Flame came to light last month after Iran detected a series of cyberattacks on its oil industry. The disruption was directed by Israel in a unilateral operation that apparently caught its U.S. partners off guard, according to several U.S. and Western officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


Despite their collaboration on developing the malicious code, the United States and Israel have not always coordinated attacks. Israel’s April assaults on Iran’s Oil Ministry and oil export facilities caused only minor disruptions. The episode led Iran to investigate and ultimately discover Flame.

“The virus penetrated some fields — one of them was the oil sector,” Gholam Reza Jalali, an Iranian military cyber official, told Iranian state radio in May. “Fortunately, we detected and controlled this single incident.”

Some U.S. intelligence officials were dismayed that Israel’s unilateral incursion led to the discovery of the virus, prompting countermeasures.

The disruptions led Iran to ask a Russian security firm and a Hungarian cyber lab for help, according to U.S. and international officials familiar with the incident.

Last week, researchers with the Kaspersky Labs, the Russian security firm, reported their conclusion that Flame — a name they came up with — was created by the same group or groups that built Stuxnet. Kaspersky declined to comment on whether it was approached by Iran.
Isn't it convenient for Obama that Israel has a policy of not commenting on these kinds of reports?

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At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These leaks make me sick as an American. All they do is make The USA and Israel weaker. Plus the Washington [com]Post still can't contain it partisanship, they waited until the 20th paragraph [long past where most people would read it] to tell us, this is a program that started under the Bush administration. G-d I hope obama loses in Nov.

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Well, I guess they really need to think twice about responding, even if the info the Obama people are leaking isn't right. We can only hope it is fabulous teams of friendly people from friendly countries. A bunch of smart ones. Remember last week when you got a link from Breitbart.com:



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