A top US Department of Defense official unofficially confirmed remarks by
Minister of Defense Ehud Barak about a detailed US plan to attack nuclear
facilities in Iran, "The New York Times" reported.
Barak told "The Daily Beast" that, under orders from the White House, "the Pentagon prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels." He added, "So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation."
"The New York Times" says that the Pentagon declined to comment on "The Daily Beast" report, but quotes a senior defense official as saying, "The US military constantly plans for a range of contingencies we might face around the world, and our planning is often quite detailed. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone."
"The New York Times" says that Barak did not specify what the Pentagon's "scalpels" were. But there has been a broad effort at the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies to develop a series of options that could set back, though probably not halt, Iran's nuclear progress.
The paper adds, "The first was a covert plan called Olympic Games to undermine Iran's nuclear enrichment plans with cyber attacks, according to participants in that program."
One of these cyber attacks was Stuxnet, jointly developed by the US and Israel, which sabotaged Iranian centrifuges.
"The New York Times" says, "The second layer of plans, American and other officials have said, involves covert means of interrupting the supply of uranium to Iran's enrichment plants, or crippling the plants themselves. The biggest target is a deep underground plant called Fordo, near Qum. There, under a mountain, Iran is producing most of its medium-enriched uranium, which could be converted to bomb grade in a matter of months. The site is hardened, and probably beyond Israel's ability to destroy from the air. The US recently added a weapon that officials believe could do significant damage: the 'Massive Ordnance Penetrator,' a bomb that is designed to attack deep, hardened sites."
"The Washington Post" reported today that the FBI is investigating current and former senior government officials suspected of leaking information about the Stuxnet cyber operation to the media. Attorney General Eric Holder initiated the inquiry in June 2012, after several newspapers published reports about the plan.
The paper quotes a person familiar with the investigation as saying that prosecutors are pursuing "everybody -- at pretty high levels, too."
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