Israeli Official Raises Eyebrows, U.S. Agencies Mum on Flame Origin
Within hours of Flame's public disclosure, a top Israeli official, vice prime minister Moshe Yaalon, sparked speculation when he hinted to an Israeli news outlet that his country may have been behind it all, as ABC News reported Tuesday.
"Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a serious threat would be likely to take different steps, including these, in order to hurt them," Yaalon told Israel's Army Radio, referring to the cyber attack. "Israel is blessed to be a nation possessing superior technology. These achievements of ours open up all kinds of possibilities for us."
However, after those comments made headlines, Yaalon took to Twitter and said that "plenty of advanced Western countries, with apparent cyber-warfare capabilities, view Iran and especially its nuclear program as a real threat."
Later, NBC News reported that an unnamed U.S. official who acknowledged having no first-hand knowledge of the virus said, "It was us." And today the Israeli military magazine Israel Defense quoted its own unnamed Israeli officials who said they believe the virus came from the U.S.
For their part, the official spokespersons for an alphabet soup of American government agencies have stayed quiet on where exactly Flame came from.
In response to questions from ABC News today, the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense Cyber Operations and State Department either declined to comment or referred ABC News to the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS said in a statement it was analyzing Flame to determine its impact on the U.S. but refused to comment on whether the U.S. had a hand in its creation.
Though cyber security experts said it will be months, and possibly years, before Flame is completely analyzed, Schouwenberg said there is little chance much more information about the author will be gleaned from the code itself.
"What is proof in cyber? It's very tough. When you look at the remnants of a bomb, at least you know who made it," he said. "In cyber, you never know for sure."
ABC News' Dana Hughes and Colleen Curry contributed to this report.