The big news reverberating through cybersecurity circles last week, reported by the New York Times, that the U.S. was behind the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iranian nuclear enrichments back in 2010 has set off a new firestorm of concern about the likelihood of retaliation.
The news report was based on information provided by “unnamed participants in the program.” In the article it states that the information in the piece was called an “account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts.”
Discussed in the lengthy article by the New York Times was a “tense meeting in the White House situation room” as well as many other aspects of the cyber incidents we all know as Stuxnet.
In addition, the article clearly implicated Israel in the cyber operation, dubbed Olympic Games.
The disclosure about this cyber attack angered many people and was cause for concern within the intelligence community. The report, and the media coverage of its conclusions which followed, has embarrassed Iran globally. Most advisors that focus on Iran expect a retaliatory strike to be launched against the U. S. by the Iranian cyber army.
This is the latest in a series of leaks of sensitive / classified information that has many calling for an independent investigation and those responsible held accountable.
In one conversation I had when this story broke, a well placed individual went as far as to call these leaks treason, which is punishable by death in U.S.
There is little doubt that there has to be negative implications due to the disclosure of this information and they will be considerable. They have probably already begun.
Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute where he provides consulting services on strategic technology and security issues. He writes a weekly blog for Breaking Gov on the topic of cyber intelligence.
Picture: Inside of reactor at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, 1200 Kms south of Tehran.