Line of the day

Share

Intrigued by this line, from the New York Times book review Sunday of David Sanger’s recent book on Obama’s national security policy, Confront and Conceal:

On Iran, Obama initially tried a three-pronged approach of engagement, sanctions and covert action. Engagement died, according to Sanger, when American intelligence, intercepting Ayatollah Khamenei’s message traffic, realized he had no intention of giving up his option of building nuclear weaponry.

This would partly explain, and be consistent with, US intelligence officials’ assessment that they do not believe the Supreme Leader has made a decision yet about whether to make a nuclear weapon, but is keeping the option open.

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress in January: Continue reading

Operation “Olympic Games”: Report details US role in cyber-weapon targeting Iran centrifuges

The Obama administration pursued a Bush-era US-Israeli cyber-offensive aimed at setting back Iran’s nuclear program, David Sanger reports in the New York Times Friday.

Code-named “Olympic Games,” and initiated in 2006, the cyber-operation targeted the computer systems that run the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

But the operation, undertaken by the U.S. National Security Agency and its Israeli counterpart, went through various phases and updates, and in 2010, there was a big glitch: the Stuxnet worm spread beyond its intended target of Natanz to other facilities, and soon caught the attention of computer security experts around the world. And as Sanger reports, when US intelligence officials had to brief Obama about the alarming development, naturally, they initially blamed their Israeli partners for modifying the program without telling them:

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked […] Continue reading