Stuxnet Leaks Came From Administration Itself
from the I-am-Jack's-utter-lack-of-surprise dept
It was pointed out towards the end of June that the Justice Department was investigating the “leaks” that led to David E. Sanger’s book on the Stuxnet virus, along with a widely-read New York Times article that preceded it. At that time, indications were given that the target of the investigations was the former second-highest ranking member of the military, General James Cartwright.
Mike pointed out then that it would be interesting to see how Cartwright was treated for his leaks as compared to Bradley Manning. It looks like there will be plenty of “interesting” comparisons to be made in the near future, as a Washington Times article by Rowan Scarborough has discovered (with the help of documents acquired by Freedom Watch) that the trail of Stuxnet leaks leads directly back to the White House itself.
The Obama administration provided a New York Times reporter exclusive access to a range of high-level national security officials for a book that divulged highly classified information on a U.S. cyberwar on Iran’s nuclear program, internal State Department emails show.
The information in the 2012 book by chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger has been the subject of a yearlong Justice Department criminal investigation: The FBI is hunting for those who leaked details to Mr. Sanger about a U.S.-Israeli covert cyberoperation to infect Iran’s nuclear facilities with a debilitating computer worm known as Stuxnet.
The theory that the administration is very amenable to leaks that make the administration look good is again confirmed here.
The scores of State Department emails from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2012 do not reveal which officials told Mr. Sanger, but they do show an atmosphere of cooperation within the administration for a book generally favorable toward, but not uncritical of, President Obama.
While many writers have been granted insider access to the White House over the years, rarely does their level of access trigger an investigation, as Sanger’s did. General Cartwright was “targeted,” but conveniently avoided any further action (at least to this point) from the Justice Department by retiring. Thomas Donlion, then National Security Advisor, was called out as being the “hero” and “commenter of record” in Thomas Ricks’ review of Sanger’s book. Good call by Ricks. Donlion resigned in June and left his post in July.
The Times article also details accusations made by Republican critics that the administration had broken laws by divulging classified information to Sanger. More damning were the accusations that these leaks were done solely to pump up Obama’s reputation during the 2012 election run.
The evidence released so far paints a pretty damning portrait of an administration prone to convenient transparency. Whistleblowing and leaks are fine as long as the administration approves of the message. What will be telling is how these leakers are punished for coughing up classified information directly related to national security.