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Tag: Iran

Justice Department Charges 7 Iranians with Launching Cyber Attacks Against 40+ U.S. Banks

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department charged seven Iranians who are accused of cyber attacks targeting more than 40 U.S. banks.

One of the suspects also is accused of breaking into the computer network of a small New York dam, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The Iranians are accused of launching a campaign of distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks against 46 American companies between 2011 and 2013.

“The attacks were relentless, systematic, and widespread,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a press conference Thursday. “We believe that they were conducted with the sole purpose of undermining the targeted companies and damaging the online operation of America’s free market.”

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department to Blame Iran for Cyber-Attack on Suburban New York Dam

iran_flagBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Iranian government launched a cyber-attack against a dam in suburban New York in 2013, the Justice Department is claiming in an indictment, a source told the New York Post. 

The federal government is drawing up the indictment, which is expected to be handed down soon.

Although hackers were unable to take control of the Bowman Avenue Dam in the suburban town of Rye, they managed to access an unspecified system, the source said.

The hacking has raised big concerns among the Obama administration, which has indicated that cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent.

Metallurgy Company in U.S. Accused of Illegally Exporting Cobalt-Nickel Powder to Iran

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CEO of a metallurgy company in New York is accused of illegally exporting to Iran a powder that could be used to produce nuclear-tipped rockets, the Daily Beast reports. 

The FBI arrested 44-year-old Erdal Kuyumcu of Woodside, New York, of Global Metallurgy, on charges of exporting a half-ton of the cobalt-nickel powder on

The charges come after Tehran agreed to suspend its nuclear program.

The Daily Beast points out that the powdered metal does have “perfectly legitimate applications in industries unrelated to nuclear weapons.”

Nevertheless, the U.S. is concerned about any material that could be used for an atomic-capable rocket.

The Justice Department alleges that Kuyumcu shipped the power to Iran twice without the necessary approval from the U.S.

“To conceal the true destination of the goods from the U.S. supplier, Kuyumcu and a co-conspirator arranged for the items to be shipped first to Turkey and subsequently to Iran,” the Justice Department stated in a release.

Bernie Sanders Defends 40-Year-Old Statements That CIA Is ‘Dangerous Institution’

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not backing away from his comments in 1974 that the CIA is a “dangerous institution” that has supported “fascist dictatorships,” the Boston Globe reports. 

But Sanders said at a CNN town hall in South Carolina that his arguments were “40 years ago” and that the CIA plays “an important role.”

Still, he said the agency has “done things which they should not have done on behalf of the United States government.’’

Sanders said that the CIA backed the overthrow of a democratically elected prime minister in 1953, leading to “the Iranian Revolution, and we are where we are today.”

The presidential candidate also pointed to the overthrow of another democratically elected leader, Salvadore Allende in Chile.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Launches Facebook Page in Farsi to Solicit Tips for Missing Ex-Agent Levinson

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In hopes of finding a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nine years ago, the bureau launched a Facebook page in Farsi for information about his whereabouts.

ABC News reports that the Facebook page is intended to get the attention of the Iranian public.

Levinson, 67, who went missing from Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007, was not among the prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S.

The FBI is offering a $5 million reward for information that would identify his whereabouts.

“The new Facebook page, as well as a missing-person poster and press release in Farsi issued last year, represents the most concerted effort so far to reach Iranians in their native language,” ABC News wrote.

U.S. Prisoner Released from Iranian Custody in Prisoner Swap Was FBI Consultant

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the Americans recently released from Iranian custody as part of a prisoner swap is a former FBI consultant and expatriate who was teaching English when he was imprisoned last May, The New York Times reports. 

Not much was known about Nosratollah Khosravi until he was recently featured by Iranwire, a news service run by expatriate Iranian journalists.

Khosravi left Iran in the 1980s for the United States after the country’s revolution in 1979. He later became a freelance consultant to the FBI before returning to Iran in 2013 to visit his mother.

Khosravi ended up staying to teach English before he was detained by Iranian officials.

As part of a prisoner swap, Khosravi and three other Iranian-Americans were released by Iran in exchange for the United Stated releasing seven people.

Ex-FBI Agent’s Family Feels ‘Betrayed’ by White House Over Handling of Prisoner Exchange

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran nine years ago, lashed out at the Obama administration Monday for failing to notify them that their loved one was not part of a prisoner exchange.

In separate interviews, Robert Levinson’s wife, Christine, criticized the administration after they learned from the media – not the government – that her 59-year-old husband was not among the detained Americans released from Iran.

“We had to learn it from the TV ourselves, and that’s very disappointing and heartbreaking,” Robert Levinson’s wife, Christine, told the Associated Press.

Christine Levinson told ABC News that she felt “devastated” and “betrayed” by the White House.

“I thought after nine years that they would have enough respect for our family to at least tell us in advance that this is happening,” Levinson’s wife, Christine, told ABC News. “It could have been five minutes, but to find out on the TV for the whole family… was wrong. It was absolutely devastating.”

“I’m very disappointed. I feel extremely betrayed by them,” she said.

Levinson disappeared in Iran while on assignment for the U.S. government in 2007.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he feels “horrible” for the family.

“I know it’s very, very difficult for his family to see these other people come back and to not have answers,” Kerry said.

Deal with Iran Leaves Behind Robert Levinson, Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in 2007

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Iran freed five detained U.S. citizens Saturday, one family is still heartbroken.

Still missing is Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared off Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007.

“We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind,” the Levinson family said on Facebook. “We are devastated.”

His family said Levinson was discussed with Iran as part of a deal that led to the release of five Americans in exchange for the clemency of seven Iranians in the U.S., but Iranian officials insisted they don’t know where the 67-year-old is, ABC News reports. 

On Sunday, the FBI released the following statement:

Today, the United States celebrates the safe return of four American citizens detained by the government of Iran to their families and loved ones. Unfortunately, the family of retired FBI agent Robert “Bob” Levinson still waits. Bob went missing from Kish Island, Iran in March 2007, and for almost nine years now, Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren have waited for the release of their loved one. Bob forever remains part of the FBI family, and we remain committed to bringing him home safely to the family who misses him so much. The FBI expects our Iranian counterparts to fulfill their commitment to locate Bob and help bring him home safely.

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