Former Marine general target of Stuxnet leak investigation

posted at 8:06 am on June 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

This seems rather disturbing.  Usually, leakers come from lower in the ranks, not from the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Retired U.S. General James Cartwright is the target of a Justice Department investigation into the leaking of secret information about the Stuxnet virus attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010, NBC News reported on Thursday, citing unidentified legal sources.

NBC said Cartwright, once the second highest ranking officer in the U.S. military, is being probed over the leaked information about the computer virus, which temporarily disabled 1,000 centrifuges used by Iran to enrich uranium, setting back its nuclear program.

The United States and Western powers believe the Iranian nuclear enrichment program is aimed at building atomic weapons, while Tehran says it is solely for civilian energy purposes.

CBS says its sources confirmed the story:

A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News correspondent Bob Orr Friday.

Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright has been told he is a target of the probe, NBC News and The Washington Post reported Thursday. A “target” is someone a prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence linking to a crime and who is likely to be charged.

“Hoss”? Seriously?

Cartwright definitely had the inside information to leak the program, which makes this part rather ironic:

In June 2012, the New York Times reported that Cartwright was a crucial player in the cyber operation called Olympic Games, started under President George W. Bush.

Mr. Bush reportedly advised President Obama to preserve Olympic Games.

According to the Times, Mr. Obama ordered the cyberattacks sped up, and in 2010 an attack using a computer virus called Stuxnet temporarily disabled 1,000 centrifuges that the Iranians were using to enrich uranium. …

The Times said Cartwright was one of the crucial players who had to break the news to Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that Stuxnet at one point had escaped onto the Internet.

A CBS notes, the leak in 2012 came at a time when Obama wanted to burnish his national-security credentials.  Republicans accused the White House of engineering the leak, and having a leaker this close to the White House will probably fuel speculation about his motives, if Cartwright is confirmed to have been the one who leaked it. Recall that the June 2012 leak to the Times and later the Washington Post both emphasized Obama’s role in accelerating the Stuxnet attacks while revealing the US role in the program.

Update: This is probably a bad time to bring up problems in security clearance investigations for contractors, huh?

Federal investigators have told lawmakers they have evidence that USIS, the contractor that screened Edward Snowden for his top-secret clearance, repeatedly misled the government about the thoroughness of its background checks, according to people familiar with the matter.

The alleged transgressions are so serious that a federal watchdog indicated he plans to recommend that the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees most background checks, end ties with USIS unless it can show it is performing responsibly, the people said.

Cutting off USIS could present a major logistical quagmire for the nation’s already-jammed security clearance process. The federal government relies heavily on contractors to approve workers for some of its most sensitive jobs in defense and intelligence. Falls Church-based USIS is the largest single private provider for government background checks.

The inspector general of OPM, working with the Justice Department, is examining whether USIS failed to meet a contractual obligation that it would conduct reviews of all background checks the company performed on behalf of government agencies, the people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation has not yet been resolved.

Back when I got my clearances, I got them through DISCO, the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office, which was part of the Department of Defense.  I don’t know if they subcontracted that out or not; I only dealt with DISCO and my employers, though.  If contracting out the clearance investigations proves to be a problem, then the DoD and intelligence agencies should take the work in-house.  But when the second-ranking man in the military is spilling the beans to the New York Times (if in fact he did so), then the problems go far beyond USIS.

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having a leaker this close to the White House will probably fuel speculation about his motives

Just following orders?

petefrt on June 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Why? For what advantage?

Bmore on June 28, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Barky wants to put all the generals in jail so they can’t protect the Constitution against all enemies (the POSOTUS included) foreign and domestic.

viking01 on June 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Stuxnet?

Top headlines on Yahoo News…
Tom Cruise and Katie
James Woods young new girlfriend
How Enimem beat his drug addiction
Kim Kardashian as an infant
And Toby Keith

Sorry no mention of Sluxnet or whatever, and oddly enough no mention of Benghazi, IRS, NSA, or Amnesty. So this Squxnet thing didn’t happen.

PappyD61 on June 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Barky wants to put all the generals in jail so they can’t protect the Constitution against all enemies (the POSOTUS included) foreign and domestic.

viking01 on June 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM

For a Trotskyite, Teh SCOAMT is proving to be quite the Stalinist.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 8:26 AM

I have a hard time believing this.

dogsoldier on June 28, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Too bad he’s not an illegal, there would be a pardon waiting for the guy.

Bishop on June 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Paging Tom Donilon. Tom Donilon, please pick up the White House leaker’s courtesy phone!

Resist We Much on June 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

“I’m not going to scramble jets for a 29 year old “hacker”

Wonder if the general is qualified?

Rovin on June 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Mentioned in a post yesterday about how I used to have so much respect for cops, but don’t anymore because with their public sector unions they’re just part of the filthy democrat machine, the ignorant muscle part. I feel the same way about the military. For all of my life I have been 100% pro-military. Not anymore. I would not want anyone I love to go anywhere near today’s military. Everything in this country Zero has touched he has tarnished.

Rational Thought on June 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

The question…why? Why would Cartwright do this?

Why? Why would somebody on Team Obama do this?

Too convenient.

Cartwright has other difficulties in his record…apparently some sort of sexual imposition on a subordinate, if I recall.

If you are going to throw somebody under the bus, might as well toss somebody who’d really not like to have his entire history blasted across the front pages. They seem to be less vocal.

That part about Obama trying to show his military/intel chops vis-a-vis Iran? Yeah…plausible…probable. After telling us not to spike the ball…well, Barry sure as hell did that after he personally shot Osama…did the end zone dance and everything…

Time to look at Occam’s Razor…the leak came from the White House.

Maybe Jay-Z or Beyonce mentioned it to one of their media pals. After all, they were all over the Situation Room, had running access to all sorts of places in the White House, more than a few times…along with all of Barry’s Wagyu Night chums…

The question…why? Why would Cartwright do this?

Why? Why would somebody on Team Obama do this?

Therein lies the answer.

coldwarrior on June 28, 2013 at 8:34 AM

I’m ready to believe that the good Marine Genertal followed the orders that Barky gave him, not realizing that it was all set up in advance for him to take the fall and thus remove another Patriot who stands to protect our Constitution.

I guess it’s even more sad that this administration is so corrupt that I could actually believe such a thing. Sigh.

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

The wheels of the bus go THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

“Hoss”? Seriously?

Do we have to change Biden’s nickname to “Little Joe” because of this?

jon1979 on June 28, 2013 at 8:38 AM

Do we have to change Biden’s nickname to “Little Joe” because of this?

jon1979 on June 28, 2013 at 8:38 AM

But I like “Slow Joe” and “Plugs” so much better.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 8:39 AM

No way did he does this own his own (if true). Someone very high politically hinted that leaking that info would be Okey Dokey with the President.

Johnnyreb on June 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Speaking of Biden, I guess this particular persecut…er…probable prosecution means the Mad Mullahs’ American friend isn’t completely removed from the decision making in Team SCOAMT.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

I’m ready to believe that the good Marine Genertal followed the orders that Barky gave him, not realizing that it was all set up in advance for him to take the fall and thus remove another Patriot who stands to protect our Constitution.

I guess it’s even more sad that this administration is so corrupt that I could actually believe such a thing. Sigh.

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Come on. He’s not a naive little waif. He’s a Marine Corps general. If he leaked this information — which CLEARLY was leaked to help the president — he knew exactly what he was doing. Following orders? Please. He isn’t required to break the law to follow orders, and as a general he damn well knows that. He is probably a democrat. And like so many other democrats, THAT “duty” overrides all others. Taking the fall just reinforces the old adage, “If you lie down with dogs…”

Rational Thought on June 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Things just got a whole lot weirder…

workingclass artist on June 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Rational Thought on June 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

All part of the plan, my friend.

Syzygy on June 28, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Rational Thought on June 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM

All part of the plan, my friend.

Syzygy on June 28, 2013 at 8:48 AM

No way did he does this own his own (if true). Someone very high politically hinted that leaking that info would be Okey Dokey with the President.

Johnnyreb on June 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM

And that’s the problemo.

We have a government where the apparatchiki try and please IL Duce.

Blinded by the Personality Cult….It’s insidious.

workingclass artist on June 28, 2013 at 8:49 AM

He’s a Marine Corps general. If he leaked this information — which CLEARLY was leaked to help the president — he knew exactly what he was doing. Following orders? Please. He isn’t required to break the law to follow orders, and as a general he damn well knows that. He is probably a democrat. And like so many other democrats, THAT “duty” overrides all others. Taking the fall just reinforces the old adage, “If you lie down with dogs…”

Rational Thought on June 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM

I am not buying “democrat” in this case.

I am fairly sure that this is the normal MO for crises:

– inner circle meeting on priorities (zero’s image #1)
– we need this to happen
– someone (not bambi) passes orderalong (deniability)
– thing happens
– deny deny deny deny
– investigation
– obama is officially informed of the problem

For policy ( IRS and FF ) the MO is slightly different. Bambi makes a big speech but the implementation is as hands-off as possible. However, progress is clearly monitored. The speech is of course, fairly misleading.

gh on June 28, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Mattis, Petraeus, McChrystal, Cartright.

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Or, is this another Plame Game? Accusing the general when the leak is really elsewhere? But, you can make *some* case against the general – with the possibility of perjury charges in case it all goes south on you – and, as long as you’re making it about the general, no one is looking at this case’s Richard Armitage.

GWB on June 28, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Who the hell trust a word coming out of DOJ?? The head of DOJ is as corrupt as they come…trust nothing coming out of that place.

Alinsky on June 28, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Oh, for Crissakes, Obama leaked it.

rrpjr on June 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM

clearly this has nothing to do with the stuxnet stuff. this general has some other information that shows the whitehouse et al to be criminally culpable so this is a preemptive attack on him

georgealbert on June 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Mattis, Petraeus, McChrystal, Cartright.

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Could it be that these gentlemen found out early that their commander in chief was inept of military concepts and may have been too vocal about it?

Rovin on June 28, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Mattis, Petraeus, McChrystal, Cartright.

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

The second Soviet supreme leader would instantly recognize that pattern.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Trying to figure out what the logic of this leak would be other than to inform the Iranians….

albill on June 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

DISCO is gone. The DoD office overseeing contractor clearances is DSS (Defense Security Service). All background investigations are done through OPM (Office of Personnel Management).

Some time ago, due to both personnel shortages and the spike in clearances needed in the wake of 9/11, OPM’s turn around time on clearances lagged to over 2 years. They reorganized and contracted out much of the work, cleared their backlog and achieved a months long turn around time. Now, I guess, we know how the contractors did it – by taking shortcuts.

The lesson: oversight, baby – it’ll keep your name out of the papers.

Cricket624 on June 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Usually, leakers come from lower in the ranks

On what do you base this? From everything I’ve read, the higher up the chain of command, the more likely the person is to leak. After all, few are that high, and many of much lower, yet a lot of leaks seem to come from near the top.

calbear on June 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Could it be that these gentlemen found out early that their commander in chief was inept of military concepts and may have been too vocal about it?

Rovin on June 28, 2013 at 9:23 AM

According to several sources, President Obama was fond of Hoss Cartwright.

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/18/inside-the-ring-766122750/

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

According to several sources, President Obama was fond of Hoss Cartwright.

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/18/inside-the-ring-766122750/

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! Cartwright’s usefulness to Team SCOAMT ended, and his persecu…er…prosecution is the sop thrown to Biden in exchange for his silence on the eradication of the Iranian proxy in Syria.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM

As a guess from someone who knows nothing, I would drop Mattis as he wasn’t forced out and add Allen. Don’t you remember the famous Rolling Stone interview?

Notice how the reporter in that piece was fried alive in the last week or so when his Mercedes went nuts in California.

He was going 125 in a residential area and said “spooks” or the FBI was after him. His last story was on why Democrats love to spy on Americans. I am not kidding.

This is why I am glad I know nothing about this stuff and have noting to do with anything and wouldn’t talk if I did. Government been very very good to me.

I just read the papers:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/conspiracy-theories-abound-michael-hastings-death-article-1.1377392

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Isn’t this what Stalin did, purge the military leaders. How many generals has Obama forced to retire so that he can appoint the political correct ones that are ruining our military.

savage24 on June 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Usually, leakers come from lower in the ranks

The ones who get caught are low ranking.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM

I got an email.

He was going 125 in a residential area and said “spooks” or the FBI was after him. His last story was on why Democrats love to spy on Americans. I am not kidding.

Yes, that was not sarcasm and is part of a number of stories that even the right is ignoring. I meant every work except for the “was” which should be “were”. The comment was based on public sources.

I am behaving.

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Mattis, Petraeus, McChrystal, Cartright.

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

TKindred on June 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

yep, I smell another Petreaus deal here too. Petreaus compromised himself which gave them cover to abuse him. He went along with arming Syrians as the administration wanted. When he bucked on Benghazi they reeled him in.

Same thing here I bet. Axelrod knows to always find a honey trap angle and his lesson has been used over and over by Obama. From his very first race to the present. And the little dude is prolly on the down low hisself. Not that that matters….

DanMan on June 28, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Back when I got my clearances, I got them through DISCO

I’d completely duck the issue, myself.

unclesmrgol on June 28, 2013 at 9:59 AM

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

I’m not the one who came up with the list of 4, so you’ll have to talk to TKindred regarding membership. Allen would be another candidate for the Purge List IMHO.

Steve Eggleston on June 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM

There is a narrative that has been running through various stories that would indicate that for some time, promotions in the military have been based upon willingness to go along with liberal politics. Look at the admiral in charge of the Pacific saying that global warming is the greatest threat to the US, rather than China who would like to make the Pacific Ocean their private goldfish pond, for an example of an effect of this. (http://weaselzippers.us/2013/03/10/commander-of-u-s-pacific-forces-says-global-warming-is-our-top-threat/) How could anyone in his position spout such blather, except that he owed someone for getting him the position

If someone is ambitious and has been offered the general’s stars, along with having personal indiscretions overlooked, it is not hard to imagine that they would go along with revealing classified information whose release would do true harm to the country, just to make the politicians they are beholden to look good.

This is a sad statement about how corrupt our military has become.

But it does cause one to ponder what would happen if the worst-case-scenario occurs of a revolt against the government. Could Obama count on the military? He may think so if he feels he has the generals and admirals in his pocket. But I very seriously doubt the rank-and-file (made up of good-ole-boys and girl) would go along.

bartbeast on June 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Bubba started the politicization of everything including the military. He promoted lefties in leadership positions and Dear Leader is following that tradition. The question is will these military leaders be loyal to “We, the People” as they swore to be or loyal to their personal leader, the lefty in the White House. Will they order troops to fire on us? Will the troops do so? Not too long ago, I would have said never, but now I’m not so sure.

erp on June 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

General officers are not immune to loose lips syndrome. Has everyone forgotten that when he was Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney relieved the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force?

allanbourdius on June 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Liberals have these nightmares about Seven Days in May coups and so are very wary of the top military commanders and defense or intelligence agencies.

The American people would never stand for an ultra right wing or any other type of insurrection and the top military guys know it.

Most importantly, with their years of rewards for conforming and chicken stuff rules to follow, I don’t think any of them would act even if the nation was about to be lost.

IlikedAUH2O on June 28, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Sorry no mention of Sluxnet or whatever, and oddly enough no mention of Benghazi, IRS, NSA, or Amnesty. So this Squxnet thing didn’t happen.

PappyD61 on June 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

We are living the future described in the movie Idiocracy. Watch it and weep.

JSGreg3 on June 28, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Breaking News, just in;
Joe Biden under investigation for leaking info about secret operations troops (Seal Team Six) involved in Bin Laden attack.

Breaking News brought to you by In Your Dreams News Network!

Herb on June 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Is someone trying to frame Gen. Cartwright?

kpm01428 on June 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM

What is his stance on gay marriage?

StubbleSpark on June 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Back when I got my clearances, I got them through DISCO

“DISCO”? Seriously?

:)

JohnGalt23 on June 28, 2013 at 11:57 AM

IF he did it, it was because it was under orders. Do you realize what he stands to lose if convicted of this? He wouldn’t have gained a thing by releasing it.

IIRC, the administration was looking pretty inept over Iran when the story first came out. If they have a smoking gun on Gen Cartwright, it is because he released it under orders.

blankminde on June 28, 2013 at 1:09 PM

“Hoss” is not liked at all by most senior officers of his generation. Played way too many political games. That said, this charge is pure 100% crap. He did a good job at STRATCOM. And we all know how the Obama team plays.

flackcatcher on June 28, 2013 at 3:23 PM