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Tough Guy Leaking: Iran Edition

A White House obsessed with secrecy and punishing whistleblowers loves classifed disclosures that glorify Obama

The primary fear-mongering agenda item for the National Security and Surveillance State industry is now cyberwarfare. The Washington cadre of former military officials who seek to personally profit by exploiting national security issues — represented by Adm. Michael McConnell and Gen. Michael Hayden — has been running around for several years shrilly warning that cyberwarfare is the greatest threat posed by Terrorists and other of America’s enemies (and, just coincidentally, they also argue that it’s urgent that the U.S. Government purchase wildly expensive cyber-security technology from their private-sector clients as well as seize greater control over the Internet to protect against the threat).President Obama being briefed by members of his national security team in the Situation Room (Credit: AP/The White House)

But — as is usually true when it comes to Washington warnings about the evils of Others — this is pure projection. The U.S. is the leading developer and perpetrator of cyberwarfare, not the leading target. The New York Times this morning has a long excerpt from a new book by its hawkish national security reporter David Sanger — the book is entitled “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power” — which reveals that President Obama personally oversaw the development, and ordered the deployment, of the world’s most sophisticated computer virus, unleashed (in cooperation with Israel) on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility.

Like many of President Obama’s defining policies — the Wall Street bailout, the Detroit bailout, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, military commissions, indefinite detention, etc. — this virus (code-named “Olympic Games”) was begun by President Bush. In fact:

Meeting with Mr. Obama in the White House days before his inauguration, Mr. Bush urged him to preserve two classified programs, Olympic Games and the drone program in Pakistan. Mr. Obama took Mr. Bush’s advice.

Rather than just “preserve” them, he has rapidly accelerated both. As Sanger writes, Obama’s order for “increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities” will go down in history as “America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.” But it’s not merely the U.S.’s first use; it marks the world’s first-ever deployment for military purposes of a whole new category of highly destructive weapons:

Mr. Obama, according to participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games, was acutely aware that with every attack he was pushing the United States into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940s, of intercontinental missiles in the 1950s and of drones in the past decade. He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks.

Isn’t it amazing how the U.S. is constantly the world’s first nation to use new, highly destructive weapons — at the same time that it bombs, invades, and kills more than any other country by far — and yet it still somehow gets its media to tell its citizenry that it is America’s Enemies who are the aggressors and the U.S. is simply a nation of peace seeking to defend itself.

Read the full article with updates at Salon.com

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