It’s hard to imagine that the two sides walked into the Stuxnet campaign ignorant of each other’s abilities and limitations. “I don’t believe for a moment that such ‘teams’—if they existed as ‘teams’—didn’t have the chance to review or test each other’s code in some meaningful fashion,” said Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business. “I suppose it’s possible that complementary teams worked independently and then released an uncoordinated worm into the wild, but that’s a pretty poor way of trying to kill or disrupt or gain intelligence around the most difficult nuclear challenge America and Israel face. If I were an Israeli or American cyber-warrior, I would want to know the other’s code and protocol or doctrine for attack.”

In other words, the chances that the White House was really blindsided by Israel, like Biden says, are virtually nil.

But Israelis, said Melman, understand that the point of this story was to enhance the president’s image. “Israeli officials know that it’s an election year,” says Melman. “They believe the information was leaked to glorify the Obama Administration. Israeli officials are not going to rock the boat and ruin the party.”