Austin Bay

A June 1 New York Times article on U.S. cyberwar capabilities also demonstrates that politics trump operational security. In prose gooey with you-are-there intrigue, the article depicts Obama, man of steel, deciding to continue the Stuxnet computer virus operation to sabotage Iranian uranium centrifuges.

The article publicly confirms that the Stuxnet computer virus, which damaged Iranian nuclear facilities, "had been developed by the United States and Israel." While the article notes the U.S. has not officially admitted using cyberweapons, the Obama-Stuxnet skit serves notice. The Times tapped non-White House sources, but "none would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day." Yes, classified information about ongoing operations. The article says Obama knows confirming U.S. attacks justifies attacks by U.S. adversaries. Dumb diplomacy, folks.

Which brings us to SOS. A Vietnam vet friend tipped me to its unfinished website, The pro-Mitt Romney banner distracts from its core message and mission. The message: A cadre of retired U.S. special operations personnel is fed up with leaks that compromise covert U.S. operations and imprison pro-American sympathizers. Their mission: stop the leaks by firing the leaker-in-chief. A former SEAL and commandant of the SEAL training center, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Larry Bailey, organized the group. I asked him, over the phone, why he formed it. He replied: "I'm pissed." Bailey knows the leaks put U.S. security and the lives of American spies and SEALS at risk, so he's fighting a political fight, seeded with his own money. He'll take donations, you bet. Yes, he expects dirty personal attacks impugning his motives.

Bailey and his shoestring SOS are Obama's worst election year nightmare -- special ops guys who publicly question his leadership and judgment. Obama's most potent campaign tout is "I got bin Laden." With SOS in the mix, the potent tout suddenly sounds just a tad pathetic.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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