Did U.S. Have Cyberattack Plan if Iran Nuclear Dispute Led to Conflict?


By Debbie Gregory.

Shortly after President Obama took office, his administration developed an elaborate plan to cyberattack Iran’s power grid, air defense system, communications, and command and control apparatus. This was to be carried out in the event diplomatic effort to limit its nuclear program failed and led to a military conflict.

This information is about to be released in an upcoming documentary film.

Code-named Nitro Zeus, the plan would have been a retaliatory alternative to a full on conventional military response if Iran had lashed out against U.S. interests and allies in the region following failed nuclear negotiations.

Nitro Zeus, which involved thousands of intelligence personnel and operatives, costing tens of millions of dollars over multiple years, was shelved after the nuclear deal struck between Iran and six other nations last summer was fulfilled.

This was just one of the contingency plans the U.S. military develops for all kinds of possible conflicts.

At the same time, American intelligence agencies developed a separate cyberplan to disable the Fordo nuclear enrichment site, built by Iran near the city of Qum, deep inside a mountain. Fordo, one of the hardest targets in Iran. The operation would have inserted a computer “worm” into the facility with the aim of frying Fordo’s computer systems

The development of the two secret programs suggest how seriously the Obama administration was concerned that its negotiations with Iran could fail.

The existence of Nitro Zeus was uncovered in the course of reporting for “Zero Days,” a documentary that describes the escalating conflict between Iran and the West in the years leading up to the agreement.

A zero-day (also known as zero-hour or 0-day) vulnerability is a previously undisclosed computer-software vulnerability that hackers can exploit to adversely affect computer programs, data, additional computers or a network. It is known as a “zero-day” because once the flaw becomes known, the software’s author has zero days in which to plan and advise any mitigation against its exploitation.

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