- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2015

Last month’s arrest in Tehran of Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman with dual citizenship, may be linked to a wave of cyberattacks waged in recent weeks against Obama administration officials, academics and journalists, U.S. government sources allege.

American officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the Wall Street Journal this week that the U.S. government believes Iranian hackers set their sights on reporters, State Department employees and other members of the Obama administration after compromising the personal computer of Mr. Namazi, an energy industry executive and business consultant who was arrested last month and remains in Iranian custody.

Mr. Namazi’s computer was seized by Iranian officials during his arrest, colleagues told the Journal, and government sources allege that the information contained within was quickly utilized as part of a cyber campaign conducted against the email accounts and social media profiles of Obama administration officials.

“U.S. officials were among many who were targeted by recent cyberattacks,” one of the paper’s unnamed sources insisted this week. “U.S. officials believe some of the more recent attacks may be linked to reports of detained dual citizens and others.”

“We’re aware of certain reports involving Iran,” a senior administration official told Reuters with respect to the Journal article. “While I don’t have a comment on the specific reports, we are aware that hackers in Iran and elsewhere often use cyber attacks to gain information or make connections with targets of interest.”

According to the Journal, hackers working for Iran’s military waged attacks on personnel in the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs after gaining access to the businessman’s computer.

Relatives of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist who has been held in Iran since 2014, told the Journal that attacks were similarly launched against the writer’s colleagues after his computer was confiscated last year.

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“The Iranian security services attacked Jason’s and his wife’s computers both before and after they were taken,” the journalist’s brother told the paper. “Iranian authorities used Jason’s social media in an attempt to engage and entrap his friends.”

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