Ex-CIA official: US can use cyber tools as potential response to Iran attacks

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Cyber tools are a potential option for the US president to retaliate against recent Iranian attacks on Saudi Arabian oil sites, former top CIA official, Norman Roule, said in an interview with the television channel al-Hadath.

Roule’s comments came after US media reports stated that Washington was considering using cyberattacks against Tehran.

“The goal of an operation such as that is to do two things. First, to cause the Supreme Leader and his senior-most advisors to cease their previous activity. And second, it’s to remind the Iranians of the vast power the United States brings to the table,” Roule said.

Roule added that he believes that cyberattacks are unlikely to be used unless regional powers find no other option to prevent another similar attack.

“The goal here would be to prevent an attack which kills nationals in the GCC, as well as Americans and other people who live there, and to deter similar Iranian actions in the future,” Roule said.

The attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil-processing facilities, which are the core of the firm’s operations, took out 5.7 million bpd, about half of the Kingdom’s oil production, and around six percent of global oil supply.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have pointed to southwest Iran as the staging ground for the attack, an assessment based at least in part on still-classified imagery showing Iran appearing to prepare an aerial strike.

“Iran has much bellicose rhetoric but on any scale or any issue the United States’ power dwarfs anything Iran can bring into the table - and now would include cyber tools,” Roule said.

“I think there’s been mature and careful deliberation between the various regional players Europe and Washington, that’s all very positive. But I believe Iran will face some significant retribution for what it did in Abqaiq and I believe this is appropriate,” Roule concluded.

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