"Covert War Underway In Iran To Sabotage Nuclear Facilities"
As I head there, the main storyline in the Middle East I’m tracking is the intensifying covert war underway in Iran by the U.S., Israel and Western intelligence agencies. This is a key element in my forthcoming political thriller, The Twelfth Imam. But it is not fiction. It is all too real.
The goal: to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities, assasinate Iranian nuclear officials, and persuade other key Iranian insiders to defect. In January, one of Iran’s top nuclear scientists was killed in a car bombing in Tehran. This followed a series of other scientists dying mysteriously or disappearing without a trace in recent years.
In May, CBS News reported that “intelligence operatives…have sold Iran [nuclear] components with flaws that are difficult to detect, making them unstable or unusable.” Noted Mark Fitzpatrick, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation and now Senior Fellow in Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, ”Industrial sabotage is a way to stop the program, without military action, without fingerprints on the operation, and really, it is ideal, if it works. One way to sabotage a program is to make minor modifications in some of the components Iran obtains on the black market, and because it’s a black market … you don’t know exactly who you are dealing with,” Fitzpatrick said.
The latest development is a mysterious and highly aggressive ”malware” virus of unknown origin that is suddenly plaguing computer systems at nuclear facilities and other industrial plants throughout the Islamic Republic. The effect appears to be so severe that Iran had to announce at least a two month delay is the launch of on-line operations at its Bushehr Reactor that the Russians helped build. Indeed, an estimated 30,000 computers in Iran have been infected. Neither the CIA nor Israel’s Mossad has commented, much less claimed credit. Nor are they likely to do so. Perhaps they are not involved. But it may be that the relative success of this on-going and intensifying covert war inside Iran accounts for why Israel has not taken direct military action thus far.
Another article on this topic is also very interesting and provides new insight on the situation:
"Stuxnet computer worm attacking Iran's nuclear facilities includes Biblical link to Israel"
Israel has been linked to a complex worm currently attacking computers in Iran, which experts claim may have been designed to target the country's nuclear facilities.
The Stuxnet worm, supposedly aimed at slowing Iran's desire to create a nuclear arsenal, appears to include a reference to a Biblical story in which Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
The New York Times reports a file inside the Stuxnet code is named 'Myrtus' - a reference to the Hebrew word Esther, the same name as the Old Testament book in which the story appears.
Suspicion over the origin of the computer worm, which appears to have been created to disrupt Tehran's nuclear programme, has fallen on both Israel and the U.S in recent days.
Iran said this week that Stuxnet is continuing to mutate and wreaking havoc on computerised industrial equipment.
As mentioned yesterday, it will be fascinating to see how this evolves - how extensive this damage to the Iranian computer systems will be, and what kind of retaliation may take place. It is one of the more interesting developments regarding Iran's nuclear facilities that we have seen to date. Is it possible that Israel will determine that no military attack is necessary assuming such covert operations are equally effective?