This morning’s talker:
“From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program,” The New York Times reports.
The Times adds that operation “Olympic Games” began during the George W. Bush administration and was accelerated even after one element of it — Stuxnet — “accidentally became public in the summer of 2010.”
The Guardian speculates that the decision by administration officials to talk about the cyberattacks aimed at Iran, which comes after other reports about the president’s decision to increase the U.S. of drone attacks in the war on terrorists, appear aimed to counter Republicans’ suggestions that Obama has been a weak commander-in-chief and too soft on Iran.
The Atlantic Wire says that today’s report in the Times, which is an excerpt from a new book by reporter David Sanger:
“Iis a fascinating story about how Stuxnet was developed and deployed, but also hints at larger questions about the use of cyber weapons and how they could come back to haunt the United States. The original worms — which destroyed vital Iranian centrifuges that set their nuclear program back considerably — were never meant to reach the larger internet, but as is usually the case with dangerous computer software, they became impossible to contain. And once the U.S. unleashes a weapon, it’s only a matter of time before it could be used against Americans — who would no longer be able to claim that their enemies had crossed a line.”
The Times says Sanger’s book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, will be published by Crown on Tuesday.