Civil Defense chief discloses Iran’s tough response to US cyberattack on Natanz

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali revealed on Tuesday that a US cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz failed due to his organization’s tough defensive measures.

“The first cyberattack, codenamed Olympic Games, was carried out on Natanz and was declared by the US President, but it met our heavy (defensive) response,” Jalali told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

The senior commander said the US changed its cyber commander following the failure in the cyberattack on Natanz, adding that the US general was forced to retire several months ago “due to the wrong information and data that he had presented to President Obama”.

And this was the result of our direct confrontation with them, General Jalali added.

The US was the principal player in the most sophisticated cyber-attack ever known and has been orchestrating a campaign against Iran designed to undermine the country’s nuclear program.

The New York Times came up with an in-depth report on June 1, 2012 saying that from the very first month Barack Obama took over as US President, he secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on Iran’s computer systems that run the country’s main nuclear enrichment facilities.

The disclosures about Obama’s role in the cyberwar against Iran appear to show beyond doubt that the US, with the help of Israel, was behind the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran’s centrifuge machines – used to enrich uranium. The revelation then indicated that Washington and Tel Aviv were also behind the Flamer and Duqu virus attacks discovered by experts in May 2012.

Codenamed Olympic Games, the attacks were spearheaded by the US government under the Bush administration. Stuxnet targeted Siemens industrial equipment to spin hundreds of centrifuges beyond their breaking points and eventually disable Iran’s nuclear efforts.

According to the report, Obama decided to speed up the attacks, even after the worm escaped from Iran’s Natanz plant in 2010 and later ended up on the Internet.

During a meeting following the worm’s escape, Obama even considered that the worm should be stopped thinking that America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

Should we shut this thing down? Obama asked members of the President’s national security team.

However, he finally decided to go ahead with the cyberattacks. What followed thereafter was the Natanz plant being hit by several newer versions of the worm.

The report is said to be based on 18 months of interviews with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program as well as with outside experts, who provided contradictory assessments of how successful the attack was in slowing down Iran’s progress of developing nuclear weapons.

While internal Obama administration estimates claim the effort was delayed by 18 months to two years, some other experts, both inside and outside the government, said that Iran’s enrichment levels had steadily recovered. A year later, Iran enriched uranium to the 20-percent grade, way beyond the 5-percent purity level that was done in Natanz in 2012.

Various administration and media sources in the US revealed that the Stuxnet attack was a joint project of the US Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel.

And the man in charge of this and all other cyberattack projects was General Keith Alexander, a man few even in Washington could likely recognize. Never before had anyone in America’s intelligence sphere came close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extended across three domains: He was director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency, chief of the Central Security Service, and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he had his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.

General Keith Alexander

The four-star US army general was sent home in March 2014 a few months after Deputy Director of the National Security Agency John Chris Inglis apparently retired on January 10, 2014. The sacking of these two highly powerful US officials grew even more charming when they both announced retirement plans on a single day. The US media then sought to inspire readers that the two were forced to retire due to the leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

By Fars News Agency

 

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