31 December 2012, 10:36

Superpowers rely on cyber techniques too much

Superpowers rely on cyber techniques too much
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Gennady Yevstafyev, nonproliferation expert, about a dangerous threat of superpowers more and more relying upon cyber offensive techniques.

One of the most threatening developments in the present world on the part of superpower, which I call the US, is the increasing reliance upon cyber offensive techniques. And the story is very particular and of course it is an extremely secret business, and it is being handled by a very secret department in the US which is called US Cyber Command which is the centerpiece of the Pentagon offensive cyber capability. It is situated at Fort Meade, the same place where National Security Agency is, the biggest American secret service which intercepts telephone wires all over the world. And the boss is also the man from the NSA.

First Americans started very innocently. It was established as cyber response unit. But what is dangerous and which is becoming more and more dangerous is that Americans more and more rely upon cyber war in offensive purposes. And now I’m going to tell you a few things about the practical results of the whole thing. First of all when Bush was handing over presidency to Obama in one to one meeting Bush told Obama that there is a secret plan of cyber attacking on Iran which is called “Olympic games”.

This was going on with some success and early in 2009 the first centrifuges of Iranian enrichment center in Natanz, jewel of the Iranian nuclear industry, they started to crash. Of course the whole plan was very canny, very I would say outrageous. Iranians bought centrifuges from A.Q. Khan who sold them very initial Pakistani centrifuge P1. This centrifuge was really faulty. The whole plan was built on the basis that this could be covered by the reference to faulty Pakistani P1 and Iranians would never find the whole thing out. And it was really meant to make them believe that these break downs which at the beginning were very rare, and that was also a plan, they were presented as random accidents.

A centrifuge as you understand is a very tall machine that spins at the speed of sound to purify U235. The whole idea of Americans, instead of air bombing Iranian nuclear facilities, was to shut down the whole plant, I mean Natanz, and make them spend weeks and months to figure out what was wrong. This calculation was meant to present that they are using bad spare parts, they are using bad engineering or it is just a result of incompetence.

So, the first results took Iranians really very much by surprise and it worked for some time. But it was made possible, this first result, only in cooperation of Americans and Israelis. Israelis have a special unit which is called ISNU – Israeli SIGINT National Unit – which was handled by General Dagan who is now in retirement. And Dagan and Americans have come to understand each other that it is the most effective way to put Iranians into a difficult situation. Instead of bombing and losing pilots, planes and so on just to sabotage and undermine the Iranian whole thing.

So, the “Olympic games” started with the Israelis contribution, of their agents inside Iran who were working in all different departments, including nuclear department and American technical gadgetry. And for some time it was handled by Israeli unit 8200 which is an equivalent of National Security Agency of the US. And it worked, and Netanyahu and Ehud Barak were very dissatisfied because they still believed that it won’t work for too long and could through Iranians back about 2-3 years, not more, and once again they will return to their business of producing A-bomb.

Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, they are demanding from Americans the airstrike and really war against the Iranians. In this sense we have to give credit to Mr. Obama who is very afraid to go into war with Iran because these two wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, it took very big toll on American economy and even on American army. So, Obama was inclined and he is still inclined on more subtle, more elegant and smarter way of hitting Iran.

That was secret for quite some time and they violated a number of international agreements and violated trade agreements. For example, they secretly used Siemens which was supplying Iranians with programmable controllers, logic controllers which are key to manipulate the centrifuges. They installed the virus in the connection between controllers and the centrifuges.

Sir, thank you so much. And just to remind you our guest speaker was our long-time expert Gennady Yevstafyev.

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