A FBI investigation into the “leaks” which revealed that the “Stuxnet” virus cyberattack on Iran’s computer systems—which spun out of control and infected millions of computers worldwide—has inadvertently confirmed who the culprits were: the CIA and the Israeli government.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the FBI has opened an investigation into who disclosed information about a classified U.S. cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to two people familiar with the probe.
The investigation follows publication last week of details of the cyber-sabotage program, including the use of a computer worm called Stuxnet, which Iran has acknowledged it found in its computers.
The Central Intelligence Agency ran the operation in conjunction with Idaho National Laboratory, the Israeli government and other U.S. agencies, according to people familiar with the efforts.
The covert effort also includes drone surveillance and cyberspying on Iranian scientists, the people said.
The New York Times on Friday published an account of the U.S. cyberattack operation in an excerpt from a forthcoming book by one of its reporters, David Sanger, that he said he has been working on for a year. Other news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, followed up with details about the program.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, in speeches on the Senate floor Tuesday, called for the president to appoint a special counsel to investigate the “pattern of leaks.”
Mr. McCain said the leaks raised the prospect that they are “an attempt to further the president’s political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security.” Some Democratic lawmakers also criticized the leaks but said they didn’t believe they were politically motivated.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday brushed aside suggestions that the information was intentionally leaked.
“It’s classified for a reason, because publicizing that information would pose a significant threat to national security,” he told reporters.
The reports on the Iran cyberattacks said the operation, called Olympic Games, began in the Bush administration and accelerated under Mr. Obama.
The New York Times account attributed some information to officials who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations.