Threat Management, Malware

U.S. Marine general may have been the source of the Stuxnet leak

A retired U.S. Marine general is being probed as the person responsible for leaking details about Stuxnet to The New York Times, according to a published report.

NBC News reported Thursday night that four-star Gen. James ‘Hoss' Cartwright, who was once the second-highest ranking U.S. officer and who retired in August 2011, has been under investigation since late last year, according to the published story. He is suspected of leaking information about "Olympic Games," the Stuxnet operation created in cooperation with Israel under President Bush and continued under President Obama.

Prior to the Times report published June 1, 2012 and written by David Sanger, the computer code used in the attack had been thoroughly studied, but its developers were unknown, though the U.S. and Israel were suspected. Quoting anonymous sources who reportedly worked on the project, the Times article revealed that the National Security Agency, working with Unit 8200, a part of Israel's military, developed the worm to sabotage Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities and set back its program.

The leak was met with harsh words from Obama and some members of Congress, but few expected any real action against the source given that the report made Obama appear tough on Iran, especially in the lead-up to an election.

And even now that Cartwright is being investigated, few expect him to face public or media backlash, much less be charged or punished, which stands in stark contrast with leaks that embarrass the government, such as the NSA spying revelations brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden or the diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks published from Bradley Manning.

According to NBC News, a source said the Justice Department is unsure whether it will charge Cartwright.

It's unclear how or why Cartwright was targeted, but it was reported in May that the Justice Department and FBI sought "phone and email logs from the White House, the Defense Department and other 'intelligence agencies' that showed any contact between employees and (the Times' reporter) Sanger."

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