Pieces of a Jigsaw Puzzle

UPDATED
Intelligence is rarely a complete picture

Intelligence as regards intent is usually a jigsaw puzzle of seemingly unrelated pieces. Capabilities are usually much easier to ferret out when it comes to foreign powers. Short of a human asset or other access to the actual plans of a foreign power, the determination of intent is much harder. Individually, the pieces mean little, taken together, they indicate a pattern of intent.

 

Here are the pieces of the puzzle. Let us apply the intent filter to our own less than transparent Administration.

1. U. S. Officials leak Israeli / Azerbaijani defense cooperation:

Israel’s Secret Staging Ground

U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?

In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled “Azerbaijan’s discreet symbiosis with Israel.” The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country’s relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: “nine-tenths of it is below the surface.”

Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran’s northern border and, according to several high-level sources I’ve spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the “submerged” aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance — the security cooperation between the two countries — is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.

In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. “The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official told me in early February, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”

Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel’s military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. Military planners, I was told, must now plan not only for a war scenario that includes the Persian Gulf — but one that could include the Caucasus. The burgeoning Israel-Azerbaijan relationship has also become a flashpoint in both countries’ relationship with Turkey, a regional heavyweight that fears the economic and political fallout of a war with Iran. Turkey’s most senior government officials have raised their concerns with their U.S. counterparts, as well as with the Azeris, the sources said.

 

2. Public statements by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that “It’s our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone’s interest for them to take unilateral action. It is in everyone’s interest for us to seriously pursue at this time the diplomatic path.” Prime Minister Netanyahu obviously does not agree.

 

3. Flame. Flame is clearly a reconnaissance tool designed to report data back to its authors. The sophisticated bug’s ability to capture audio conversations, VOIP conversations, chat sessions, screens, and its ability to read databases and then report all of this data back to those running the program is a targeting cell’s wish list. These capabilities would allow all the major nodes of Iran’s nuclear program to be identified, localized and targeted. The discovery is almost certainly an artifact of the virus having been taken live and data harvested.

 

4. Public disclosure of Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame. While there had long been well-founded suspicion that Stuxnet and Duqu were products of U. S. and/or Israeli government entities, there had been no solid proof nor confirmation. The NYT’s story, leaked by the Obama administration, removed deniability from Israel and the United States, and happened less than two weeks after the Flame malware’s existence was publicly revealed

 

5. Flame out. Flame appears to have been activated when it was discovered. Shortly after that discovery was made public, the public disclosure of flame’s authors followed. Shortly after, and probably before full benefit could have been realized, Flame was ordered to self destruct.

 

Flame authors force self-destruct

After Flame was exposed publicly and partially compromised, the malware’s authors apparently retained enough control to make it almost disappear.

ZDNet Australia Staff | CNET News

Amid the exposure of Flame, its authors appear to be going to ground, using what control they have of the malware to force it to self-destruct and disappear (almost) without a trace.

Earlier this week, Kaspersky Labs noted that in a matter of hours after researchers had announced the discovery of Flame, the command and control infrastructure behind Flame went dark. This infrastructure was important because Flame is initially configured to contact a number of these servers and then run the control scripts that they serve. However, by 28 May — the day that Flame’s details began to emerge — requests for these scripts were met with 403/404 errors, hampering efforts to learn more about the servers behind the malware.

 

Far from being an unsubtle attempt to claim credit for re-election purposes, these happenings are all consistent with a deliberate action to prevent Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear program in the near to mid term (one to six months).

 

UPDATE

 

Not so fast there, 0bama…

 

Oh No You Didn’t: Mossad Agents Claim Obama Lying About Stuxnet

Israeli officials who were placed at risk by the Obama administration’s leaks about the Stuxnet virus are disputing American claims that the cyber-weapon was jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel. Rather, they say, Israeli intelligence first started developing cyberspace warfare against Iran, only convincing the U.S.–with some difficulty–to join in. The Israelis allege that President Barack Obama claimed credit for Stuxnet to boost his re-election campaign.

By Joel B. Pollak | Breitbart’s BigPeace

The source for the new claim is Yossi Melman, a journalist for Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz daily (via Israel Matzav):

The Israeli officials actually told me a different version. They said that it was Israeli intelligence that began, a few years earlier, a cyberspace campaign to damage and slow down Iran’s nuclear intentions. And only later they managed to convince the USA to consider a joint operation — which, at the time, was unheard of. Even friendly nations are hesitant to share their technological and intelligence resources against a common enemy…

Yet my Israeli sources understand the sensitivity and the timing of the issue and are not going to be dragged into a battle over taking credit. “We know that it is the presidential election season,” one Israeli added, ”and don’t want to spoil the party for President Obama and his officials, who shared in a twisted and manipulated way some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of the success of cyberwar.”

The Obama administration’s pattern of leaks to mainstream media outlets–of which the Stuxnet virus is only one example–prompted bipartisan outrage from Congress and the appointment of two special prosecutors. While the leaks jeopardized U.S. national security–allegedly for the political purpose of burnishing President Obama’s image as commander-in-chief–they may also have been exaggerated, if the new reports from Israel are accurate.

 

I find it interesting and amusing that the Israeli’s choose to lay this to 0bama’s electoral aspirations (thus making it personal) as opposed to the Administration trying to prevent Israel from taking out the trash.

"SOS will organize and execute operations designed to help elect Mitt Romney and to defeat Barack Hussein Obama"
Liberals Are In Disarray
  • Commander_Chico

    Capabilities are usually much easier to ferret out when it comes to foreign powers. Short of a human asset or other access to the actual plans of a foreign power, the determination of intent is much harder. . . .

    First, the USA is not the “foreign power.”  At least on the internet, you pretend to be an American, so the USA is purportedly your country.

    ADM Mullen, GEN Dempsey, numerous DOD war games and even responsible people in Israel like the former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet say Israel bombing Iran is a bad idea.

    You can start with $200 a barrel oil and collapse of the global economy. 

    If the USA is trying to stop this bad idea, good for them.  I know whose side I am on.

    • jim_m

         I know whose side I am on.

      It’s always the side against the evil Jooos!

      • Commander_Chico

        Loyal Americans, including American Jews, are tired of the anti-semitic card being played every time someone questions Israeli actions:

        http://www.stripes.com/news/uss-liberty-crew-member-recalls-fatal-67-us-israeli-skirmish-1.179637

        • jim_m

           Except that you never side with the Israelis and even when Israel has offered everything that the palis wanted (as was offered to Arafat during the Clinton admin) the palis walked away from negotiations and just asked for more.

          The left accuses Israel of running an apartheid state.  If they even understood the comparison they would understand how it reveals their complete lack of perspective and the depth of their ignorance and hate.

          Sorry if I have never seen you side with the Israelis on anything related to protecting their lives. 

          • Commander_Chico

            First, I do support Israel’s right to exist – roughly within the 1967 borders, with the minimal necessary adjustments.  The USA should support and defend that.  So there.

            What right-wing parties like Likud and Yisrael Beitenu in Israel want is the whole West Bank, or at least control over a thick area over the Jordan Valley, with the Arabs encircled and enclosed in a bunch of small Bantustans.  

            The idea that the Israelis offered everything the  Arabs wanted is propaganda – the proposed deal offered to Arafat included that Israeli control over the Jordan Valley, and large sections of other West Bank land.

          • jim_m

            Arafat was offered the 1967 borders and refused them.  The left has backed the palis throughout.  This isn’t about the borders and never was.  Anyone claiming that it is, is either ignorant, deceived or a fraud.

            The proposal was exactly what Arafat was asking for at the time and the additional lands were completely within reason. Even the Clinton admin felt betrayed by Arafat.

          • Commander_Chico

            Maybe you should read this piece by a member of the US negotiating team before making statements about what happened:

            http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2001/aug/09/camp-david-the-tragedy-of-errors/?pagination=false

            “The left” again.  Do you blame “the left” when you get a stale hamburger at McDonald’s?

          • jim_m

            Clinton blamed Arafat: “I regret that in 2000 Arafat missed the opportunity to bring that nation into being and pray for the day when the dreams of the Palestinian people for a state and a better life will be realized in a just and lasting peace.”

            You can take the word of a staffer if you want.  I’ll take the word of someone who sat at the table.

          • Commander_Chico

            Does that say anything about the details?

            For example, the so-called good deal proposal would have led to four non-contiguous regions in the Palestinian state, separated by Israeli territory.

            But that’s a hoot, you taking  Clinton’s word about anything.  I will remember that.

          • jim_m

             Clinton was a whole lot more believable than Barry and that is taking into account his ridiculous parsing of words. 

            Clinton at least was competent.  While I found him personally disgusting in his behavior he was a far better president.  Not that it says much in this case.  There are 43 Presidents better than Barry.

          • jim_m

             Do you blame “the left” when you get a stale hamburger at McDonald’s?

            Not to put too fine a point on it, but how would one know if their McDonald’s hamburger was stale?

            And as for my comments about “the left”, at least there is a “left” to talk about.  Your ravings about “the oligarchy” are straight out of bad science fiction.   Put down The Hunger Games and come back to the real world.

          • retired.military

            Chico just doesnt want to admit that the Illuminati are taking over soon.

          • retired.military

            The left certainly blames the right for everything.  I mean Bush was to blame by some if aliens had attacked.  Whats the matter Chico?  Dont like it when folks treat the “left” like the left treats the right?

          • Commander_Chico

            Some aliens did attack during Bush’s presidency, remember?

          • jim_m

             Those were undocumented workers you racist.  They were just doing the terrorism that Bret Kimberlin could not be persuaded to do,

          • jim_m

             Arafat was offered 91% of the west bank and additional land contiguous with Gaza to make up the for the 9%.  He was offered control over East Jerusalem for his capital, He was offered a highway that would connect Gaza to the west bank so people could travel back and forth without having to pass an Israeli check point.   He refused it all.

            This is a classic failure to negotiate in good faith, which is what the palis have always done and which is what the left supports.  Only an imbecile would think that this was the fault of the Israelis.  Clinton pinned the failure solely on Arafat.  I would assume that he knew what he was talking about.

          • retired.military

            Maybe if Israel werent attacked they would have stuck to the 67 borders.

          • sabbahillel

             

            First, I do support Israel’s right to exist – roughly within the 1967
            borders, with the minimal necessary adjustments.  The USA should support
            and defend that.  So there.

            This is like supporting and defending the “right” of the United States to exist within the borders of the original 13 colonies. The pre-June 1967 “borders” were really the armistice lines of 1949 after the initial attempt to destroy Israel was stopped. I do accept the July 1, 1967 borders.

            Actually the 1949 “borders” are truly called the “Auschwitz borders” are would be designed to lead to the destruction of the state of Israel.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          Which “Loyal American” told you that, chica?

      • herddog505

        Yeah, it DOES seem to go that way with depressing regularity, doesn’t it?

    • retired.military

      ” You can start with $200 a barrel oil and collapse of the global economy.”
      Gee Obama and the greenies would be so happy.  They have worked so hard for this.

      ” I know whose side I am on”

      Obama’s???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Murphy/100001624276605 Ryan Murphy

    Of course.  Obama wants to sabotage any traditional ally of the USA whenever possible.  He’s done it so farm why the heck would he stop doing it?

  • Gmacr1

    The amount of intel leaked by this administration is staggering and it appears to be all in the interests of our adversaries in the ME.

  • GarandFan

    As far as Barry is concerned, the only real priority is His re-election.  National Security was thrown under the bus in furtherance of that goal.

  • GarandFan

    As far as Barry is concerned, the only real priority is His re-election.  National Security was thrown under the bus in furtherance of that goal.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

    I note with interest that our resident troll has essentially granted my theme: The 0bama Administration is deliberately leaking sensitive information about Israeli and joint US/Israeli programs specifically to thwart an allied government.

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