Law enforcement officials are investigating reports that Iranian and Venezuelan diplomats in Mexico were involved in planning cyber-attacks against the United States.
Potential targets apparently included the FBI, the CIA and the Pentagon, along with civilian and military nuclear facilities.
According to a documentary aired on the Spanish-language Univision (translated by the Washington Times), a former computer instructor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico claimed he was recruited by a professor in 2006 to organize a group of student hackers.
The goal? To execute cyber-attacks against the United States, initially at the behest of the Cuban embassy.
Subsequent footage allegedly shows Iranian and Venezuelan diplomats being briefed on the attacks, who pledged to pass along the information to their governments.
State Department spokesman William Ostick confirmed federal authorities are investigating the above-mentioned reports, but told the Washington Times officials lacked “information at this point to corroborate them.”
“We monitor Iran’s activities in the region closely,” said Ostick. ”[It is] that vigilance [which] led to the arrest of the individual responsible for [a] recent assassination plot” against the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, has already called for hearings in 2012 about Iranian activities in Latin America.
“If Iran is using regional actors to facilitate and direct activities against the United States, this would represent a substantial increase in the level of the Iranian threat and would necessitate an immediate response.”
An aide to Menendez added that Univision report highlighted a variety of concerns the US has about Teheran’s efforts to engage with countries and other actors in the region. As such, next year’s hearing will examine Iran’s “political and commercial outreach, as well as more nefarious activities.”