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Death in Teheran: Stuxnet Continued

While the media blabs on about (relatively) inconsequential WikiLeaks, real drama plays out on the streets of Teheran where two Iranian nuclear scientists were the targets of assassination attempts - one of them successful.

According to (the often-unreliable-but-frequently-fascinating) Debka file, the scientist assassinated -- Majid Shahriari -- was in charge of their program to deal with the Stuxnet malware that has infected Iranian computers. At that same time, Ahmadinejad publicly admitted setbacks. This isn't a great time to be an Iranian nuclear scientist. From Debka:

The attacks occurred at 7.45 a.m. Iranian time, less than 12 hours after the WikiLeaks organization uncovered US diplomatic cables attesting to a proposal by Mossad director Meir Dagan to overthrow the Islamic regime as one of the ways of terminating its nuclear program. He proposed enlisting oppressed Iranian minority groups for the task, like the Baluchis and their liberation movement, Jundallah.

Our intelligence sources note that this was the fifth attack in two years on Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran. None of the perpetrators were ever apprehended. Some sources suggest that the latest double hit may have been the work of Jundallah, which recently began targeting nuclear scientists serving the hated regime and which two months ago reported abducting a scientist employed at the Isfahan nuclear facility.

Tehran played down that incident claiming the kidnapped man was a driver. But last week he appeared on the Saudi TV station Al Arabiya and described his nuclear work.

Ahmadinejad et al, of course, blame Israel and the West, and no doubt this "blame" is deserved. How it should be apportioned may be forever a mystery, but it is unlikely we will find out via WikiLeaks, which have thus far done little more than ratify the obvious and make the Obama administration look foolish for its ludicrously ineffective security. Intelligence work evidently has two levels - a completely incompetent one that produces WikiLeaks and a brilliant one that produces Stuxnet.

Speaking of Stuxnet, some recent reports have added Russia to the list of nations (in this case with the US and Germany, not Israel) who have conspired to construct the malware. Now that's interesting - and undoubtedly crazy-making to the Iranians.

And speaking of ludicrous, over at the WaPo, Jackson Diehl makes the ludicrous assumption that someone working on nuclear weapons is a "civilian." Not only has he abjured his civilian status, he's become possibly the most lethal figure in the army.