Small Wars Journal

U.S. Had Cyberattack Planned if Iran Nuclear Negotiations Failed

Tue, 02/16/2016 - 3:43pm

U.S. Had Cyberattack Planned if Iran Nuclear Negotiations Failed by David E. Sanger and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

In the early years of the Obama administration, the United States developed an elaborate plan for a cyberattack on Iran in case the diplomatic effort to limit its nuclear program failed and led to a military conflict, according to a forthcoming documentary film and interviews with military and intelligence officials involved in the effort.

The plan, code named Nitro Zeus, was designed to disable Iran’s air defenses, communications systems and key parts of its power grid, and was shelved, at least for the foreseeable future, after the nuclear deal struck between Iran and six other nations last summer was fulfilled.

Nitro Zeus was part of an effort to assure President Obama that he had alternatives, short of a full-scale war, if Iran lashed out at the United States or its allies in the region. At its height, officials say, the planning for Nitro Zeus involved thousands of American military and intelligence personnel, spending tens of millions of dollars and placing electronic implants in Iranian computer networks to “prepare the battlefield,” in the parlance of the Pentagon…

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