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Retired 4-star general probed over Stuxnet details leak - report

Marine Corps man under investigation over malware revelations

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A retired general has been named as the target of a US Department of Justice probe into the release of confidential information about the Stuxnet virus.

An NBC report claimed that James Cartwright, a retired US Marine Corps four star general, was under investigation for allegedly leaking details of the virus.

Unnamed legal sources told NBC that Cartwright, a former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had been sent a letter informing him that he under investigation.

The 63-year-old general is the latest public figure to be caught up in the Obama regime's investigation into the leaks, which has already prosecuted or charged eight people under the Espionage Act.

Stuxnet was specifically designed to target the uranium-enriching centrifuges that are crucial to Iran's nuclear capabilities. In 2010, the virus caused 1,000 of the devices to spin out of control, temporarily disabling them. However, the worm did not entirely halt the Iranian nuclear programme, which has been widely interpreted as a scheme to produce atomic weapons.

It is thought that Israeli spooks worked with their American colleagues to produce the malware, which was seen as a safer alternative to bombing the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.

Neither the Justice Department or the US attorney's office in Baltimore have commented on the alleged investigation.

According to the New York Times' definitive report into the Stuxnet virus, President Obama made a clear decision to ramp up cyberattacks, building upon a programme called "Olympic Games" that began under George W Bush. It is understood that Cartwright was one of the top military personnel involved in this cyberwar effort.

Obama was reportedly furious at David Sanger's report in the NYT, promising to root out the people who leaked information. Initially, the focus was on White House sources, but investigators are thought to have turned their attention to high-ranking military figures late last year.

The Stuxnet virus was only identified after escaping from Iranian systems into the wild. Cartwright is said to be the man who told Obama that this sophisticated cyber-weapon had been let loose into the wilds of the internet, although there are still big questions about how it actually got there.

The effectiveness of Stuxnet has been questioned, with some US officials claiming that it actually helped Iran's nuclear effort and encouraged the country to launch its own cyber-jihad. ®

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