Report: US, Israel designed Flame computer virus against Iran

The Post reported that Flame came to light after a unilateral attack by Israel on Iran’s oil industry that caught U.S. officials off guard, and prompted Iran to investigate and discover the virus.

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The latest report provides more detail about the ways both the Bush and Obama administrations have used cyber operations as one tool to try to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Obama administration is also currently attempting a diplomatic resolution through negotiations with six world powers, and President Obama has said he's willing to use military power if necessary to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Flame, which was part of the Olympic Games program that also developed Stuxnet, was created five years ago, the Post reported.

While cybersecurity experts had already suspected ties between Stuxnet and Flame, the report confirming classified U.S. intelligence activities could stoke further outrage in Congress about a recent spate of national security leaks.

The Justice Department is currently investigating the recent leaks, including the Stuxnet report, but Republicans have called for a special counsel to conduct an independent investigation. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has accused the White House of using the national security leaks to boost the president’s image, a charge the administration has denied.

The Post story on Flame relies on current and former “Western officials,” including ones from the United States, but it does not specifically mention Obama administration or White House officials.