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The United States' Clandestine War Against Iran


Heard this story on NPR on the way to work this morning. Highly interesting:
Covert action is meant to stay just that — covert, clandestine, in the shadows.

And in Iran, it did, for quite some time. But in the last year, much has become known about intelligence operations in Iran, says Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official who is now an analyst with the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

"There's little doubt that there's a covert war under way against Iran," he says. "There are at least two players in it: the United States and Israel."

And often, it appears, those players work together.

That was especially true with the Stuxnet worm. The computer virus, apparently developed in Israel with the help of the CIA, was launched in 2009. Sometime the following year, the worm found its way into the computers that control Iran's most important nuclear facility, the uranium enrichment operation at Natanz.

The worm told the gas centrifuges that enrich uranium to spin too fast. Many broke and destroyed other centrifuges — nearly a thousand of them.

The impact of the worm spread even wider, says Muhammad Sahimi, a professor at the University of Southern California who writes for the website Tehran Bureau.

"In fact, not only it destroyed a thousand centrifuges at Natanz — it also forced the government to actually shut down the enrichment facility for a few days," Sahimi says.
Bad. Ass.

This is the first part of a three-part series.