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June 18, 2012

Iran cyberwar leaks seen raising tensions

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said cyber intelligence leaks have done much damage to U.S. national security. (UPI/Kevin Dietsch)

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Sunday a series of leaks about U.S. intelligence activities was increasing the risk to national security.

Lieberman said on "Fox News Sunday" details about clandestine operations such as the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the computer virus assault on Iran could provide enemies with justification for retaliatory attacks on the United States.

"An enormous amount (of damage) has been done to our national security," said Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

"In the case of the cyber attack in Iraq …. Some methods of how it was carried were telegraphed to the Iran[ians]," Liberman said. "I think there's a danger that it may legitimize an Iranian or a terrorist counter cyber attack on us because we did it."

Former CIA director Michael Hayden told Fox it was probable the cyber attack "antagonized" Iran's radical leadership and also raised the stakes in the standoff between the west and Tehran over its nuclear program.

"Whoever did it crossed a policy barrier, made a decision that in a time of peace, one could use cyber weapons to inflict physical destruction on what another nation could only describe as their own critical infrastructure," Hayden said.

Obama adviser David Plouffe denied the leaks were a deliberate move by the president's political team to puff up his election-year resume and said the White House was as anxious to track down the sources as anyone else.

Plouffe said congressional Republicans were seeking to make political hay out of the issue by making high-profile demands for an investigation by a special prosecutor. "What did they say one of their core strategic priorities was? It was to engage in investigations to damage this president politically," he said. "Republicans in Congress talked openly about this."

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