Obama orders accelerated cyberattacks on Iran: report
WASHINGTON, Jun 01, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
U.S. President Barack Obama
ordered stepped-up cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear program months
after taking office, significantly expanding America's first
sustained use of cyberweapons, The New York Times reported on
The program, launched by the Bush administration and code-named
Olympic Games, targets the computer systems that run Iran's main
nuclear enrichment facilities, the paper said.
However, a programming error allowed the worm, Stuxnet, which
was developed by the United States and Israel, to escape Iran's
Natanz plant and go around the world on the Internet in the summer
Obama decided to press ahead with the program after seeing
evidence that it was still causing havoc for the Iranians. In the
following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of
the computer worm, and then another after that.
"The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet
was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000
of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify
uranium," the Times said.
The Times based its report 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
These officials gave differing assessments of how successful
the sabotage program was in slowing Iran's progress toward
developing the ability to build nuclear weapons.
"Internal Obama administration estimates say the effort was set
back by 18 months to two years, but some experts inside and
outside the government are more skeptical, noting that Iran's
enrichment levels have steadily recovered, giving the country
enough fuel today for five or more weapons, with additional
enrichment," the Times said.
It said the U.S. government only recently acknowledged
developing cyberweapons, and it has never admitted using them.
There have been reports of one-time attacks against personal
computers used by members of al-Qaida, and of contemplated attacks
against the computers that run air defense systems, including
during the NATO-led air attack on Libya last year.
Olympic Games was of an entirely different type and
"It appears to be the first time the United States has
repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country's
infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then
could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in
agents to plant explosives," it said.
Iran agreed to meet again in Moscow on June 18-19 with the six
powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and
Germany, over its disputed nuclear program, following two rounds
of talks respectively in April and in May.
Iran insists on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,
while the Western countries say it is a cover for developing
[ Sports Techy's Homepage ]