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USA Carried Out Secret Cyber Strike On Iran In Wake Of Saudi Oil Attack

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WASHINGTON (Reuters)  - The United States carried out a secret cyber operation against Iran in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on Tehran, two U.S. officials have told Reuters. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the operation took place in late September and took aim at Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.”

One of the officials said the strike affected physical hardware, but did not provide further details. The attack highlights how President Donald Trump’s administration has been trying to counter what it sees as Iranian aggression without spiraling into a broader conflict. Asked about Reuters reporting on Wednesday, Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said: “They must have dreamt it,” Fars news agency reported.

The U.S. strike appears more limited than other such operations against Iran this year after the downing of an American drone in June and an alleged attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on oil tankers in the Gulf in May. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany have publicly blamed the Sept. 14 attack on Iran, which denied involvement in the strike. The Iran-aligned Houthi militant group in Yemen claimed responsibility. Publicly, the Pentagon has responded by sending thousands of additional troops and equipment to bolster Saudi defenses - the latest U.S. deployment to the region this year. The Pentagon declined to comment about the cyber strike. “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith.

GULF TENSIONS RISE SHARPLY

The impact of the attack, if any, could take months to determine, but cyber strikes are seen as a less-provocative option below the threshold of war. “You can do damage without killing people or blowing things up; it adds an option to the toolkit that we didn’t have before and our willingness to use it is important,” said James Lewis, a cyber expert with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Lewis added that it may not be possible to deter Iranian behavior with even conventional military strikes.

Tensions in the Gulf have escalated sharply since May 2018, when Trump withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions. It was unclear whether there have been other U.S. cyber attacks since the one in late September. Iran has used such tactics against the United States. This month, a hacking group that appears linked to the Iranian government tried to infiltrate email accounts related Trump’s re-election campaign.

Over 30 days in August and September, the group, which Microsoft dubbed “Phosphorous,” made more than 2,700 attempts to identify consumer accounts, then attacked 241 of them. Tehran is also thought to be a major player in spreading disinformation. Last year a Reuters investigation found more than 70 websites that push Iranian propaganda to 15 countries, in an operation that cybersecurity experts, social media firms and journalists are only starting to uncover.

Tensions with Iran have been high since the Sept. 14 attack. Tehran has said an Iranian tanker was hit by rockets in the Red Sea last week and warned that there would be consequences. On Monday, President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his country’s policy toward the Trump administration, ruling out bilateral talks unless Washington returns to the landmark nuclear deal and lifts crippling U.S. economic sanctions.

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5 minutes ago, DayTrader said:

Tensions with Iran have been high since the Sept. 14 attack. Tehran has said an Iranian tanker was hit by rockets in the Red Sea last week and warned that there would be consequences.

If tensions are so (bloody) high, then why are oil prices languishing at this barely break-even prices? 

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(edited)

@Gerry Maddoux ... Because oil price globally is not all about Iran? There are many factors. 

DISCLAIMER - DT IS NOT A JOURNALIST. The clue is in the username ... 

And there's no need for the 'bloody' Gerry, come on mate.

Outrageous behaviour and language. Shame on you.  

A sign of the times perhaps?  ;)   You need to get off 8chan

Edited by DayTrader
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Now the CIA has Hassan Rouhani's nudes 😵😵

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1 hour ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

If tensions are so (bloody) high, then why are oil prices languishing at this barely break-even prices? 

It's a very good question though

OPEC might make deeper cuts in December, US production might start falling, and fingers crossed we get a little bit more droney action from the lovable Houthis.

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(edited)

4 hours ago, El Nikko said:

It's a very good question though

Look at the final sentences of the article. Tension IS high, it just goes out of the news within seconds. And it states that tension has escalated for nearly 18 months. 

Iranian oil? Pfff. Who cares?  #shooty

Edited by DayTrader

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8 hours ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

If tensions are so (bloody) high, then why are oil prices languishing at this barely break-even prices? 

Because we are energy independent (with Canada) and are the largest market for oil and gas. 

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