The article “Obama Order Speed Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran” by David E. Sanger, published by The New York Times on June 1, 2012, puts a bold last brushstroke on the picture of the Stuxnet computer worm that the newspaper started last year. Back then, in January 2011, another article “Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay”, written by David E. Sanger and two other journalists, made a sensational statement about Israel and the U.S. involvement with Stuxnet. The most recent article went even further. It named everyone, including two U.S. presidents Bush and Obama, and even revealed a code-name of the top-secret operation against the Iranian nuclear program – “Olympic Games”.
According to the historian Andrew Roberts the name of the operation “Olympic Games” was a very poor choice. This name “has raised eyebrows in intelligence circles”, because a good code-name is suppose to mislead enemies. Roberts makes a point that giving “the massive, international, and imminent operation a name that implies something that is massive, international, and imminent is precisely the opposite of what code names are intended to do.” Does it mean that “Olympic Games” is not the real name of the cyber-war against Iran? Maybe, but this is not the only one questionable thing in this sensational article.
The New York Times article from 2011 was criticized as based pretty much on accusations by German computer security expert Ralph Langner rather than on facts. What is different about the most recent article? This time the article was adapted from the book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power”. The author, David E. Sanger, interviewed current and former American, European and Israeli officials, and outside experts. According to Sanger none of them, including non-government experts, “would allow their names to be used”.
As stated in the article the secret operation against the Iranian nuclear program, code-named “Olympic Games”, was started by the Bush administration and accelerated by the Obama administration. The U.S. National Security Agency and the Israeli secret cyber-unit developed “the bug” – the computer worm that was later named Stuxnet by computer security experts. Unnamed American officials told Sanger that the infamous malware Flame was never a part of the “Olympic Games” operation. This statement is in conflict with experts from Kaspersky Lab. They are convinced that Flame and Stuxnet were much more than just parallel projects, because programmer teams, who created both malwares, at a certain point were even sharing a programming code.
The New York Times correspondent David E. Sanger describes the reaction of Iranians at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility on Stuxnet’s attacks as confusion. He explains that it was partially because “no two attacks were exactly alike”. This statement contradicts research papers published by the major computer security companies concluding that during every one of the five attacks Stuxnet sabotaged uranium enrichment centrifuges the same way: spinning them over the safe limit and then slow them down. It means all attacks were exactly alike. It also means that unnamed sources continue to provide disinformation to the well-respected newspaper. Our imagination continues to fill voids, when there are no facts . In another words the propaganda-war continues, and Stuxnet’s creators accomplished another victory.
1. Obama Order Speed Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran by David E. Sanger 2. The New York Times: Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay
by William J. Broad, John Markoff and David E. Sanger. 3. Why Was Stuxnet Attack Called Operation Olympic Games? by Andrew Roberts
- 4. Shared Code Indicates Flame, Stuxnet Creators Worked Together by Elinor Mills
- 5. W32 Stuxnet Dossier. Symantec Security Response. Ver. 1.4. February 2011