The New York Times reports that U.S. and Israel are behind the Stuxnet computer worm attack on Iran’s nuclear weapon program. A facility in the Negev desert called Dimona has long been suspected of being home to Israeli’s secret nuclear program. According to the report, the Stuxnet computer worm, devised by U.S. and Israeli intelligence, was tested there and successfully shutdown centrifuges used to produce weapon’s grade material. The worm unleashed on Iran was an effort to delay Tehran’s push to develop a nuclear weapon.

The NY Times says that one-fifth of the nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s facility at Natanz were damaged by the Stuxnet computer worm. These were being used to enrich uranium into bomb-grade material. U.S. and Israeli officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledge that Iran’s bomb-making capability may have been set back several years. The retiring head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, reported to the Israeli Knesset that Iran’s nuclear weapons program may not be able to produce a weapon now until 2015.

The Stuxnet computer worm was alleged to have been developed at a U.S. laboratory in Idaho. The Times also asserts that the firm that sold Iran much of the equipment being used, the German company Seimens, did cooperate providing information which enabled the Stuxnet virus to be successful. Seimens claims the program was developed to prevent cyberattacks. The Stuxnet worm is said to have worked in two ways. Part of the virus made Iranian centrifuges spin out of control while another component of the virus tricked technicians into thinking everything was A-Okay.

If the New York Times story is correct, then the United States and Israel pulled off a major victory in cyber-sabotage with the Stuxnet computer worm. Delaying Iran’s nuclear weapons program from developing enough weapons-grade material for several years. The report alleges that the Stuxnet worm was developed in Idaho, then tested at an Israeli nuclear facility in Dimona before it was unleashed. The Tehran government denies that their nuclear program is trying to build an atomic bomb.

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