…started by Bush, and accelerated by Obama. Well done to both men, and to our Israeli partners!
I love it when we do cool stuff like this:
The Dimona complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program, where neat rows of factories make atomic fuel for the arsenal.
Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.
Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.
“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”
Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.
Be sure to read the whole thing; it’s a fascinating story. One item straight out of science-fiction: the virus was designed to record what normal operations looked like, then play it back so Iranian scientists would think everything was fine while Stuxnet was quietly wrecking their centrifuges. Genius!
Of course, there’s a dark lining to every silver cloud… or something. What we and the Israelis have done to the Iranians could be done to us by a hostile power. (Hello? China?) Let’s hope the DoD and the rest of the government are taking computer security seriously. At least, let’s not make it so easy for the next Bradley Manning, okay?
RELATED: At Blue Crab Boulevard, Gaius thinks Stuxnet was way overbuilt and wonders what other capabilities it’s hiding.