Offensive Cyber War Turned The Insuregency In 2007

Now it can be fully revealed: In May of 2007, the National Security Agency launched a massive cyber offensive against insurgent cell and computer networks in Iraq, which officials believe was responsible for breaking the back of the insurgency.  Shane Harris at National Journal takes you inside the Oval Office as the decision was made.

Former officials with knowledge of the computer network attack, all of whom requested anonymity when discussing intelligence techniques, said that the operation helped turn the tide of the war. Even more than the thousands of additional ground troops that Bush ordered to Iraq as part of the 2007 "surge," they credit the cyberattacks with allowing military planners to track and kill some of the most influential insurgents. The cyber-intelligence augmented information coming in from unmanned aerial drones as well as an expanding network of human spies. A Pentagon spokesman declined to discuss the operation.

When Bob Woodward wrote about unspecified techniques used to turn the tide of the war, this is what he meant.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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