On July 17, 2009 WikiLeaks posted a cryptic notice:
Two weeks ago, a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told WikiLeaks of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible however contact with this source was lost. WikiLeaks would not normally mention such an incident without additional confirmation, however according to Iranian media and the BBC, today the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, has resigned under mysterious circumstances. According to these reports, the resignation was tendered around 20 days ago.
A cross-check with the official Iran Students News Agency archives confirmed the resignation of the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.
According to official IAEA data, the number of actually operating centrifuges in Natanz shrank around the time of the accident Wikileaks wrote about was reduced substantially .
According to DEBKAfiles the Iranians are in a panic to get someone to fix it since apparently their own efforts not only failed, but made things worse. I'm not certain of the veracity of the site, so read on your own and decide.
I really hope that report is accurate. And I really hope no one helps them. This could be very good news.
Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers. debkafile's intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.
None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work. They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them. Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.
The impression debkafile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate. Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.
One expert said: "The Iranians have been forced to realize that they would be better off not 'irritating' the invader because it hits back with a bigger punch."
As to the worm's creator. They're going on pretty slim evidence.
Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.Personally, I think it was the Israelis. They have the ability and the motive. The US does as well, but this doesn't sound like something the ONE would have allowed. I'd be proud of him for the first time if he did.
That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.
Not surprisingly, the Israelis are not saying whether Stuxnet has any connection to the secretive cyberwar unit it has built inside Israel’s intelligence service. Nor is the Obama administration, which while talking about cyberdefenses has also rapidly ramped up a broad covert program, inherited from the Bush administration, to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. In interviews in several countries, experts in both cyberwar and nuclear enrichment technology say the Stuxnet mystery may never be solved.
Schneier posted on it being impressive as well.