There have been another series of national security leaks that appear to be aimed at helping President Obama politically by bolstering his national security credentials. As the WAPO reveals, these primarily deal with joint cyberwarfare ventures with Israel aimed at Iran's nuclear program:
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.
The massive piece of malware secretly mapped and monitored Iran’s computer networks, sending back a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials.
The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear-enrichment equipment.
The emerging details about Flame provide new clues to what is thought to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.
“This is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action,” said one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official, who added that Flame and Stuxnet were elements of a broader assault that continues today. “Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.”
Flame came to light last month after Iran detected a series of cyberattacks on its oil industry. The disruption was directed by Israel in a unilateral operation that apparently caught its American partners off guard, according to several U.S. and Western officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
There has been speculation that the United States had a role in developing Flame, but the collaboration on the virus between Washington and Israel has not been previously confirmed. Commercial security researchers last week reported that Flame contained some of the same code as Stuxnet. Experts described the overlap as DNA-like evidence that the two sets of malware were parallel projects run by the same entity.
Spokesmen for the CIA, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Washington, declined to comment.
The article goes on to give details on how the programs work that will undobtedly be of great interest to the Iranians.
One could certainly question the judgment of the reporters involved in running this story, but the big question remains...where are the leaks coming from?
Obviously from the White House..and one interesting possibility points the finger at none other than Secretary of defense and former CIA head Leon Panetta.
Apparently Secretary Pannetta was a prime suspect in another leak that took place during the Nixon Administration.
After the 1968 campaign, Nixon hired Pat Moynihan–who had served as assistant secretary of labor for policy in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations–as his urban-affairs adviser and all-around White House intellectual. Moynihan was already a somewhat controversial figure, having authored a report called “The Black Family: Then and Now,” which attributed the disproportionate poverty in the black community to rising illegitimacy. The liberal intelligentsia pilloried Moynihan for this conclusion, and he left the Department of Labor not long after his authorship of the report became public. ...
The memo was leaked to the press, and on March 1, the New York Times ran an article headlined “‘Benign Neglect’ on Race Is Proposed by Moynihan.” The White House was swamped with criticism from civil-rights leaders and editorial pages, and Moynihan had to hold a press conference to defend himself. ...
Although memos leak all the time, and the leakers are rarely identified, The New Republic’s John Osborne reported in a March 1970 profile of Moynihan that Leon Panetta was a prime suspect in the leak.
There was certainly some reason for the suspicion. In February, Panetta had resigned from HEW because he opposed the Nixon administration’s approach to desegregation. Panetta later went to work for New York mayor John Lindsay, switched parties, and successfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1976. The leaker has never been definitively identified.
It's important to emphasize that this is speculation, and there's no direct evidence that Panetta is the source of the leaks. But he is a very partisan and loyal Democrat with a long history in DC who knows how this sort of thing works, who was fingered, correctly or incorrectly in a prior leak, and who might not be adverse to making a try at manipulating the odds on re-election in Obama's favor.
One thing that's undoubtedly true is that the leaks have severely hurt America's national security ability to carry out covert operations like this in tandem with other countries. Can you imagine the Israelis or any of our other allies trusting us on confidentiality or wanting to work with us on joint ventures after this? I can't. At least not until after the present regime is out of power.