A bombshell report by The Washington Free Beacon has revealed that President Obama’s State Department was aware of the fact that Iran had hacked their emails and social media accounts during the same week that U.S. officials actively negotiated key elements of the nuclear deal with Iranian counterparts. The attack allegedly occurred on September 25 and may have granted the Iranians leverage during negotiations.
“The attack took place within days of the deal overcoming opposition in Congress in late September that year. That same week, Iranian officials and negotiators for the United States and other world powers were beginning the process of hashing out a series of agreements allowing Tehran to meet previously determined implementation deadlines,” explains The Free Beacon.
At the time, the U.S. was hammering out details of the deal that were only disclosed to Congress, including provisions that allowed Iran to operate around prohibitions and continue bolstering its conventional military capabilities.
While the reality of Iran’s well-timed cyber attack was evident to some in the State Department, we don’t know for sure if U.S. officials negotiating with Iran were made aware of the attack. Further, we don’t know if Iranian hackers managed to gain access to the online material of the American negotiating.
We do know, however, that the State Department was deeply concerned about the cyber attack.
“At least four State Department officials in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and a senior State Department adviser on digital media and cyber-security were involved in trying to contain the hack, according to an email dated September 24, 2015, and multiple interviews with sources familiar with the attack,” adds The Free Beacon.
And in spite of (or perhaps because of) all the PR work the Obama administration did to advance the highly-flawed nuclear deal with Iran, the administration never disclosed that the attack had occurred.
“The Obama administration kept quiet about the cyber-attack and never publicly acknowledged concerns the attack created at State, related agencies, and within the private contractor community that supports their work,” notes The Free Beacon.