FBI probes White House officials’ leaking information about cyberattacks against Iran

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) — The Federal Bureau of Intelligence has opened an investigation into possible White House officials’ leaks of classified information to the New York Times about U.S. cyberattacks against Iran, CNN reported on Wednesday.

U.S. Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee said he was informed that an FBI inquiry was underway.

Chambliss also called for appointment of a special counsel to investigate leaks of recent stories in the New York Times that detailed U.S. cyberattacks on Iran.

“Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible,” the White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a briefing aboard Air Force One en route California.

He stressed that the Obama administration takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk ongoing counterterrorism or intelligence operations.

Senator John McCain, Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign rival, on Tuesday slashed some senior administration officials of leaking classified information to media to enhance Obama’s image for his re-election bid but undermine U.S. national security.

“… what is grossly irresponsible is U.S. officials divulging some of the most highly classified programs involving the most important national security priorities facing our nation today,” McCain said on Wednesday following Carney’s response.

Some of Obama’s Democratic allies in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday also stepped into the ongoing disputes over a report by New York Times on U.S. cyberattacks on Iran.

The New York Times reported last Friday that Obama ordered stepped-up cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program months after taking office, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday expressed worry that leaks to press about U.S. cyber attacks on Iran authorized by the Obama administration could lead to a counter-attack on the United States.

She said the fact that the U.S. is launching cyber attacks against other countries could “to some extent” provide justification for cyberattacks against the United States.

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Further Iran sanctions counterproductive: Russian FM [presstv.ir]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced that further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program would be “counterproductive.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

“Additional sanctions are completely counterproductive, they are already adopted not only by the Security Council, but by some states, which we think undermines our collective actions,” Lavrov said on Wednesday.

He made the comments during an official visit to China and after Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The West led by the United States has imposed sanctions against Iran, accusing Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the Western allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has every right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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OBAMA HOPES CYBER ATTACKS AGAINST IRAN WILL LEAD TO NUCLEAR STRIKES [truththeory.com]

by Susanne Posel

Obama Hopes Cyber Attacks Against Iran will Lead to Nuclear Strikes

As soon as President Barack Obama took office in 2008, he ordered the continuation of cyber-attacks against Iran . The target was Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.

These cyber-attacks originated during the Bush presidency, under the code name “Olympic Games” (OG).

This information accidently escaped the programming in 2010, which lead to its leak into the public. OG was then released onto the internet after causing havoc at Iran’s Natanz plant.

OG, which was created by the US and Israel, has been renamed Stuxnet.

Once OG “escaped”, Obama realized that it would most certainly be tied back to his administration. He loosely directed his national security team to cover up the US involvement in Stuxnet.

OG was renamed once again by Kaspersky Labs, hired by the UN to investigate the worm. Flame was first thought to be super-secret software written in video game language.

Flame’s capabilities, such as remote control of PC microphones, compromises to data collection, makes it the perfect infiltrator for Iran’s most sensitive digital information.

The Obama administration’s use of Flame caused Iran’s nuclear plant digital infrastructure to crash.

As interviews over recent months reveal, the US and Israel came together to attack Iran; along with the European Union and a wide range of employed experts to guarantee that the worm would perform as planned.

Regardless of the lack of evidence that Iran was building nuclear weapons, the US continued to sabotage Iran’s progress. Experts came forward to assert that Iran’s enrichment levels were far below those necessary for the creation of a nuclear warhead.

Yet, the US government ignored these findings, using their assumption to justify their cyber-attacks and movements toward convincing the international community of Iran’s supposed guilt.

The UN jumped on the band wagon by declaring through UN nuclear inspectors that their satellite imagery indicated that some buildings were allegedly torn down as a assumed “clean up” at an Iranian military site that the UN expected to see.

 

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Chinese president invites Ahmadinejad for SCO summit [presstv.ir]

Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the 12th summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in China due in early June.

Iran

The leaders of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan have also been invited to the event, scheduled for June 6-7 in Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said in a Thursday news conference.

The participants in the SCO summit would discuss current regional and international developments during the meeting.

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Iran designs alternative system for SWIFT: CBI

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani says the country has designed and implemented a new system for conducting international transactions.

Head of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani

Bahmani said on Saturday the new system, which has already been activated, would replace Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)

On March 15, SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos said in a statement that the society has decided to discontinue offering services to Iranian banks which are subject to financial sanctions imposed by the European Union.

On January 23, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions on Iran’s financial and oil sectors, which prevent member countries from importing Iranian crude or dealing with its central bank.

Experts believe that SWIFT’s new action is meant to fully enforce EU sanctions, as global financial transactions are impossible without using SWIFT.

Bahmani rejected reports about a Japanese bank freezing transactions with Iranian banks.

On May 17, the Reuters reported that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has frozen USD 2.6 billion of assets of Iranian banks under an order by the New York District Court earlier this month.

Pentagon encircles Iran: Victory would take 3 weeks [RT]

As the US beefs up its military presence in the Persian Gulf region, Pentagon strategists estimate that they would need less than a month to defeat Iranian forces should a military conflict take place.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) believes it can destroy or significantly degrade Iran’s conventional armed forces in about three weeks using air and sea strikes, a defense source told The Washington Post.

“We plan for any eventuality we can and provide options to the president,” Army Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor, a spokesman at CENTCOM told the newspaper. “We take our guidance from the secretary of defense and from our civilian bosses in [Washington] DC. So any kind of guidance they give us, that’s what we go off of [sic].”

The American military has been building up its presence in the region amid rising tension in the area.

The US Navy currently has two aircraft carriers deployed near Iran and is upgrading mine-detection and removal capabilities.

The US Air Force recently dispatched a number of F-22 Raptor strike fighters to a base in the United Arab Emirates. The move caused backlash from Tehran, which said Wednesday it threatened regional stability.

Deploying a “floating base” in the Persian Gulf – a converted transport ship that would serve as a semi-stationary base of operations for the US military – is also on the table. USS Ponce is expected to host mine-sweeping helicopters, speed boats and probably commando teams.

The Pentagon has also intensified training of elite troops of its allies in the region. The members of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council commando team, who serve as instructors, may be ordered to go into the field as well, should such a need arise.

The measures are taken as contingency for possible attack by Iran on US troops or blocking of the Strait of Hormuz, the vital oil transit route, the US says.

CENTCOM says there are about 125,000 US troops in close proximity to Iran. The majority of them – 90,000 – are deployed in or around Afghanistan. Some 20,000 soldiers are ashore elsewhere in the Near East region; and a variable 15,000 to 20,000 serve on naval vessels.

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India not Caving to the U.S. on Iran [alphavn]

Unlike Turkey and Japan, who have played ball just enough to still be able to buy Iranian oil but avoid U.S. sanctions, India is pretty much moving ahead unilaterally, and publicly, flouting the American’s desire to isolate Iran.

Clearing the way for oil refiners to pay Iran in Indian rupee, the Union Budget has exempted the payments made for crude oil purchased from the Persian Gulf nation, from any local tax.

Iran had in January agreed to accept 45 percent of the value of its oil exports to India in Indian rupees but the scheme could not be implemented due to taxation issues.
It was feared that the money paid to National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) may be considered as income generated by Iranian firm in the country and liable to be taxed. The withholding tax was up to 40 percent, which neither NIOC nor the Indian refiners wanted to pay.

Turkey continues to play both sides in this moving billions of dollars for the Indians to Iran as an intermediary.  For how long though, apparently is up to the U.S. State Department as Turkey has made it clear that once the pressure gets too high, they will cut India off.

Talks between the U.S. and India began on Monday with this issue front and center in the negotiations.  Given the current climate after the BRICS Summit and this latest move to allow refiners the tax exemption its pretty obvious that India’s stance is quite resolute, a stance the Americans do not generally tolerate from their allies.

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