US media say a retired four-star general is being investigated for leaking the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration’s attempts to contain leaks of sensitive information continues.
James Cartwright, the former second-ranking officer at the Pentagon and four-star general, has become a target in the investigation of a leak that revealed Washington's role in an attack on Iran's nuclear program in 2010.
According to US media, Cartwright is being investigated for leaking classified information on a cyberattack using the Stuxnet virus on Iran's nuclear facilities, temporarily disabling 1,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The computer worm affected control systems built by the German electronics giant Siemens. The virus exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system and quickly affected computers around the world.
The broadcaster NBC News and the Washington Post newspaper reported that Cartwright had been informed by the Justice Department that he was a target of the probe.
Cartwright, who retired in 2011, was one of President Barack Obama's closest security advisers.
He was later, however, mentioned as a suspect by The New York Times, which reported in 2012 that the virus had indeed been a US-Israeli attack.
The New York Times pointed out that Cartwright was one of the crucial advisers to President Obama when an element of the program accidentally became public in 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran's Natanz plant and get out on the Internet.
Republican politicians said senior administration officials had leaked the details of US cyberattack on Iran to bolster the president's national security credentials during the 2012 re-election campaign.
Congressional leaders demanded a criminal probe into who leaked the information.
The investigation of the Stuxnet cyberattack leak is one of a number of national security breach investigations conducted by the Obama administration.
The latest developments come at a time when the US administration is grappling with another major information leak.
The US is trying to contain the damage done by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the National Security Agency who allegedly leaked information about a wide-reaching surveillance program by the United States known as Prism.
Snowden is currently believed to be hiding at Moscow airport and seeking political asylum in Ecuador in his attempt to avoid extradition to the United States.
rg/mkg (dpa, AP)