Sex and Stuxnet
By Alex Pasternack and Dan Stuckey
The former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James "Hoss" Cartwright, took his nickname from Bonanza's loveable, warm giant, Eric "Hoss" Cartwright. Lovable and warm do not describe the feelings the Justice Department has towards him. They've reportedly singled him out for leaking information to a New York Times journalist about Stuxnet, the cyber-attack that debilitated Iran's uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, setting back its nuclear program by years.
While it's hard to imagine Cartwright, a 40-year military veteran, having to share a figurative cell with Pfc. Bradley Manning, his alleged involvement in Stuxnet and his resignation from the military in 2011 had made him a possible "target" since at least last year.
In the summer of 2012, an article by the Times' David Sanger — whose phone calls and emails were subpoened by the government over an investigation about his reporting—named Cartwright as a strategic architect of the Stuxnet operation, codenamed Olympic Games. It was Cartwright who in 2006 reportedly convinced President Bush to take a less conventional approach to Iran's nuclear capabilities, an issue that, given Israel's concerns, threatened to incite war in the Middle East. Sanger described Cartwright and the significance of this new weapon, which was reportedly developed by the NSA and the CIA with help from Israel:
General James E. Cartwright, who had established a small cyberoperation inside the United States Strategic Command, which is responsible for many of America’s nuclear forces, joined intelligence officials in presenting a radical new idea to Mr. Bush and his national security team. It involved a far more sophisticated cyberweapon than the United States had designed before...
“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael V. Hayden, the former chief of the C.I.A., said, declining to describe what he knew of these attacks when he was in office. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction [...] Somebody crossed the Rubicon,” he said.Though highly respected, Cartwright was also considered a feather-rufffler in some circles, unafraid to urge more attention to less conventional, more high tech strategy and to use terms like "semantic interoperability." He pushed new institutional thinking within the Pentagon, urged better immigration policy, and supported the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."