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The father of Stuxnet may be the leaker of Stuxnet

02 July 2013

Retired Marine Gen. James 'Hoss' Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and leading light in the Olympic Games program and its Stuxnet cyber weapon, is now the target of the Justice Department investigation into who leaked the Stuxnet story to the NYT.

When David Sanger revealed in the New York Times, just over one year ago, that Stuxnet had been developed jointly by the United States and Israel, he reported that General James E. ('Hoss') Cartwright... joined intelligence officials in presenting a radical new idea to Mr. Bush and his national security team." This is the origin of the Stuxnet worm and the Olympic Games program, started by Bush and progressed by Obama.

Now that same General Cartwright effectively stands accused of leaking the Stuxnet story to Sanger. At the time President Obama declared “zero tolerance” for “these kinds of leaks;” although some commentators suggested that the leak had administration approval in order to portray Obama as a 'strong' president.

On Thursday last week Michael Isikoff at NBC reported, "Legal sources [another leak] tell NBC News that the former second ranking officer in the U.S. military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program." A Justice Department 'target' is more than just a possible suspect -- it is someone under active investigation and likely to be charged; and that target is Hoss Cartwright.

The news was originally met with incredulity. Cartwright has been described as Obama's 'favorite general', a 'marine's marine'. Fran Townsend, a national security contributor to CNN, commented on Friday's New Day morning show, "he’s a very bright guy but a real rules guy, a real leader, a very strong leader. It really is almost unimaginable to me that Hoss would do something like this.”

The CNN report adds, "Two sources said prosecutors were able to identify Cartwright as a suspected leaker without resorting to a secret subpoena of the phone records of New York Times reporters." 

The irony is not being lost. If Cartwright is subsequently charged under the Espionage Act, he will join eight other whistleblowers already charged under the Obama administration -- including Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. He was probably discovered using some of the techniques and capabilities disclosed by Snowden. "May those who seek to take on the role of whistleblower pay heed to the techniques used by the FBI and how things such as phone records and even the content of communications can be secured and used against them in investigations, as we've recently learned," notes NakedSecurity.

This article is featured in:
Internet and Network Security  •  Malware and Hardware Security

 

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