As Iranians struggled with the setbacks, they began searching for signs of sabotage. From inside Iran there have been unconfirmed reports that the head of the plant was fired shortly after the worm wended its way into the system and began creating technical problems, and that some scientists who were suspected of espionage disappeared or were executed. And counter intelligence agents began monitoring all communications between scientists at the site, creating a climate of fear and paranoia.
One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is that “the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant” to battle the breach. Ironically, even after its discovery, the worm has succeeded in slowing down Iran’s reputed effort to build an atomic weapon.
I suggest that there’s nothing “ironic” about this. Anybody can wreck a physical plant. Wrecking the social network that a scientific/engineering project depends on to function properly causes a lot more damage. And nothing does more damage to a social network than randomly – and incorrectly – executing random members of it for espionage.
I’d feel bad about the executions, except of course that the Iranian bombs have already been earmarked for incinerating people who don’t deserve it; so [expletive deleted] those guys.