By choosing US President Barack Obama and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver the opening addresses at the UN General Assembly session in New York Thursday, Sept. 23, the UN secretariat told the world that Iran's drive for nuclear bomb dominated world affairs at this time.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources note in this regard the US press leaks appearing since Monday, Sept. 20, which maintain that the United States has embarked on a clandestine cyber war against Iran and that Israel has established elite cyber war units for this purpose.
According to our Washington sources, Obama has resolved to deal with the nuclear impasse with Iran by going after the Islamic republic on two tracks: UN and unilateral sanctions for biting deep into the financial resources Iran has earmarked for its nuclear program, and a secret cyber war which the US is conducting jointly with Israel for crippling its nuclear facilities.
In New York, quiet exchanges are ongoing with Ahmadinejad's delegation for renewing the Six Power talks on Iran's banned uranium enrichment program. he US offer to go back to the negotiating table was made against a background of deliberately leaked revelations by US security sources to US media regarding the recruitment of Israel military and security agencies of cyber raiders with the technical knowhow and mental toughness for operating in difficult and hazardous circumstances, such as assignments for stealing or destroying enemy technology, according to one report.
debkafile's sources disclose that Israel has had special elite units carrying out such assignments for some time. Three years ago, for instance, cyber raiders played a role in the destruction of the plutonium reactor North Korea was building at A-Zur in northern Syria.
On Monday, too, the Christian Science Monitor and several American technical journals carried revelations about a new virus called Stuxnet capable of attacking and severely damaging the servers of large projects, such as power stations and nuclear reactors.
All the leaked reports agreed on three points:
1. Stuxnet is the most advanced and dangerous piece of Malware every devised.
2. The experts don't believe any private or individual hackers are capable of producing this virus, only a high-tech state such as America or Israel.
3. Although Stuxnet was identified four months ago, the only servers known to have been affected and seriously damaged are located in Iran.
Some computer security specialists report lively speculation that the virus was invented specifically to target part of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure, either the Bushehr nuclear plant activated last month or the centrifuge facility in Natanz.
debkafile's sources add: Since August, American and UN nuclear watchdog sources have been reporting a slowdown in Iran's enrichment processing due to technical problems which have knocked out a large number of centrifuges and which its nuclear technicians have been unable to repair. It is estimated that at Natanz alone, 3,000 centrifuges have been idled.
None of the reports indicate whether other parts of Iran's nuclear program have been affected by Stuxnet or the scale of the damage it may have caused.