Vol: 129 Issue: 20 Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Last week it was Stuxnet. This week, it is Flame. The Washington Post ran a feature story yesterday detailing facts about Flame, a computer virus written by the United States and Israel and designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
Flame has unprecedented data-snatching capabilities and can eavesdrop on computer users. The virus was designed to send back a stream of information used for an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign by secretly mapping and monitoring Iran’s computer networks.
The virus can activate a computer’s audio systems to listen in on Skype calls or office chatter. It can also take screenshots, log keystrokes and — in one of its more novel functions — steal data from Bluetooth-enabled cellphones.
“Our current working theory is that flame and Stuxnet were parallel projects,” Roel Schouwenberg, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Labs, told FoxNews.com. “Whoever commissioned Stuxnet also commissioned Flame.”
The Flame virus was designed to interrupt Iran’s nuclear program without the necessity of going to war. If Iran doesn’t know who designed the cyberweapon, then they wouldn’t know against whom to retaliate.
For that reason, everything about Stuxnet and Flame was classified top secret. It was classified a secret to protect the homeland from retaliation. Nobody knew about Flame — or Stuxnet, for that matter, until somebody leaked the information.
Iranian officials have only known about Flame for less than a month, but thanks to the Left’s eagerness to portray the administration in a positive light, now Iran knows exactly who to blame.
Iran blamed the US and Israel immediately, but had no proof until the New York Times and later, the Washington Post helped Tehran out by publishing leaked classified information they thought might help with Obama’s re-election effort.
So they threw both caution and national responsibility to the winds and ran with the stories on the front page. The degree of detail in the newspaper reports was staggering:
“When Colonel Qaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons program in 2003, he turned over the centrifuges he had bought from the Pakistani nuclear ring, and they were placed in storage at a weapons laboratory in Tennessee. The military and intelligence officials overseeing [the] Olympic Games borrowed some for what they termed “destructive testing,” essentially building a virtual replica of Natanz, but spreading the test over several of the Energy Department’s national laboratories to keep even the most trusted nuclear workers from figuring out what was afoot.”
“Those first small-scale tests were surprisingly successful: the bug invaded the computers, lurking for days or weeks, before sending instructions to speed them up or slow them down so suddenly that their delicate parts, spinning at supersonic speeds, self-destructed. After several false starts, it worked. One day, toward the end of Mr. Bush’s term, the rubble of a centrifuge was spread out on the conference table in the Situation Room, proof of the potential power of a cyberweapon. The worm was declared ready to test against the real target: Iran’s underground enrichment plant. ”
It reads like an after-action report for a war that we’ve already won. Unfortunately, what it is really is a classified intelligence report about an on-going military operation.
To be charitable, one might take into consideration that as the Left sees it, the choice between what is good for Obama and what is good for the state is a false choice.
The way the Left sees it, if it is good for Obama, then it is good for America.
There is no other way to describe this other than a sell-out of America’s national security in exchange for the few temporary self-serving advantages it gives the newspapers and the Obama re-election effort.
For the newspapers, they might see a little bump in circulation; for the White House, a little bump in the polls based on the perception of the White House as strong on fighting the war on terror.
But instead of sparking admiration for Obama’s strong ‘leadership’, it sparked outrage at the amateurish way it was leaked to the press. Members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees filed a joint statement condemning the leaks.
The condemnation was the first truly bipartisan action in a long, long time. Among the signatories were Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) John Cornyn (R-Tex) Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) Mike Rogers (R-Mi) and Dutch Ruppersberg (D-Md).
“In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods,” the statement reads. “The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable.”
“The lawmakers also announced intentions to pressure the administration to “take tangible and demonstrable steps to detect and deter intelligence leaks,” as well as support legislation to remedy the problem, with an allusion to its inclusion in the upcoming intelligence authorization act.”
John McCain openly accused the White House of orchestrating the leaks as part of a “broader administration effort to paint a portrait of President Obama as a strong leader on national security issues.”
The mainstream media has done all it can to keep a lid on the criminal investigation announced by Eric Holder on Friday into how damaging the leaks were to national security. Neither ABC nor CBS mentioned it in their nightly news, while NBC played it as a partisan dispute between Republicans and Democrats.
Does anybody remember how the media portrayed the Valerie Plame investigation of the Bush administration? Bush appointed a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who discovered almost immediately that the leaker was Richard Armitage, a career State Department official.
The media whipped up a taste for blood, so the investigation went forward, despite the fact that the leaker had been identified. It continued until the prosecutor was able to indict and convict Scooter Libby for giving inconsistent accounts.
Not for leaking — the special prosecutor already knew who did that. Libby was convicted of lying for giving inconsistent details about his involvement in an event that Fitzgerald already knew he was uninvolved with.
In the Valerie Plame Affair, it was all about form over substance. Plame wasn’t a covert officer anymore and her husband, Joe Wilson had already long since revealed she worked for the CIA. They had even done a photo spread for Vanity Fair as the ultimate Washington power couple!
The serial leaks from this White House, including details about a double agent working for the British who had infiltrated al-Qaeda, details about the “underwear” bomb, Stuxnet and Flame and details about how they were introduced into closed Iranian computer systems, tipped off the enemy, cost the lives of those that helped us, and shut down a steady stream of intelligence.
Coupled with the administration’s hypocritical decision NOT to capture and interrogate terrorists, choosing to kill them instead, has pretty much crippled America’s ability to peek behind the curtain at what the enemy has planned.
Why is it hypocritical? Obama made Gitmo a symbol of all that is wrong with America during his campaign. Now, he can’t afford to send detainees there for fear of exposing his hypocrisy.
Having painted himself into a corner where he can’t interrogate them anyway, he simply kills them (and anyone standing nearby) with a drone strike from thirty thousand feet.
And no matter what the enemy has planned in terms of retaliation, he will be able to point to the New York Times and Washington Post as evidence justifying whatever that action might be.
For America, the times could not be more perilous. We have enemies on all sides, as well as within both our media and our government. If ever there were a time when American intelligence needed to play its cards close to the vest, this is it.
Let’s compare the various elements connected with this story to 2 Timothy 3:1-5’s description of perilous times in the last days, and see which do not apply to the current administration.
“Covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, (not sure about disobedient to parents, unless Obama’s mama let him smoke dope) unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, (assuming it is natural to feel affection for one’s country and countrymen) trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
So, which does not apply? I would argue that this administration fits every single description perfectly. What does it all mean?
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
How much, er, “nigher” is our redemption, when such “things” are yesterday’s headlines?