“Confront and Conceal”: New Stuxnet Revelations

Despite serious concerns about the damage that these leaks will do to national security, I confess to being fascinated by the New York Times’s compelling and highly plausible account of the Stuxnet worm’s origins. Drawn from a book due to come out next week, the article says that Stuxnet originated in the Bush Administration, was expanded greatly by the Obama Administration, and was run jointly by US and Israeli agencies.

Highlights of the article include:

  • an account of US agencies building a replica of Natanz with abandoned Libyan centrifuges, then spreading the rubble of a worm-wrecked centrifuge on the Situation Room table (that sure sounds like intelligence community showmanship)
  • an official’s explanation of how the worm infiltrated the highly secure Natanz network (““It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand”) and
  • the all-too-familiar finger-pointing when a coding error let Stuxnet escape into the wild and begin infecting computers around the world (“It’s got to be the Israelis,” Vice President Biden reportedly fumed. “They went too far.”)

That’s just a few of the many vignettes in the story; more at the link.