June 12, 2012
We have now alerted technologically advanced nations like Russia and China to our capabilities and impelled them to get cracking on their own cyberwar weapons, both offensive and defensive.
After President Truman informed him at Potsdam of our atom bomb, Joseph Stalin went home and ordered Soviet scientists to replicate the U.S. success. By 1949, far sooner than expected, Stalin had the bomb.
Sanger describes how this “highly classified program,” code-named “Olympic Games,” was begun in the Bush years, how the worm was inserted in Natanz, and how it escaped from the centrifuges to outside computers and the world.
He quotes the president’s dismayed reaction: “Should we shut this thing down?” Sanger implies that he spoke with “participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games.”
Obama seems outraged by such a suggestion: “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.”
Fair enough. But presidential meetings are held in the Situation Room because they involve the most sensitive security secrets, and Olympic Games was, as Sanger relates, “a highly classified” program.
Whom did Sanger get all this from? Who leaked and why?
For this is far more serious than the leak that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA, which triggered a special prosecutor and got Dick Cheney’s top aide, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, indicted and convicted.
Pvt. Bradley Manning faces a life sentence for divulging security secrets to Wikileaks. What did he do that the leakers of the Stuxnet secrets did not do?
John McCain alleges that the leaking of security secrets—on how SEAL Team Six got Osama, on the Stuxnet virus that ravaged the Natanz plant, on the president ordering up drone strikes on a “kill list” of al-Qaida operatives—is politically motivated.
Purpose: Paint the president as a ruthless and relentless warrior against America’s enemies.
Whatever the purpose, the leaks appear to be breaches of national security and violations of federal law, and two U.S. attorneys are investigating.
It is not improbable that officials on Obama’s national security team, if not White House aides, will soon be addressing a federal grand jury.