Foreign Policy

In General James Cartwright’s Stuxnet Case, the Obama Administration's Infighting on Cyber Leaks Goes Public

Editor's Note: The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is now allegedly a top target in the FBI's investigation of who leaked details about the Stuxnet cyber weapon that hit Iran's nuclear program. In a June 28, 2013 Foreign Policy op-ed, Shane Harris and Noah Shachtman write that General James Cartwright’s case is one of the Obama administration’s latest, but most high-profile, leak investigations.

Usually, the Obama administration and the Pentagon do their bureaucratic knife fighting in private. Not so in the latest investigation of a national security leak.

This time the target is one of the highest-profile -- and perhaps most controversial -- senior military officers in the United States, Gen. James Cartwright. The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is now allegedly a top target in the FBI's investigation of who leaked details about the Stuxnet cyberweapon that hit Iran's nuclear program.

NBC News broke the story last night. (Who leaked word to them is unknown; the possibilities are vast.) Cartwright, however, saw this coming. In recent months, he believed that his communications were being monitored and that he was being watched. He knew he was a target of the investigation. And with good reason. Aside from the fact that he was identified in David Sanger's book Confront and Conceal as a mastermind of the Stuxnet project, Cartwright is also one of the most politically contentious military officers in Washington. 

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