Trump sanctions the Iranian hackers the Dems wouldn’t

It sure beats illegally shipping them millions in foreign currency on unmarked cargo planes.

Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

The Dems are obsessed with Russia these days, even though they were for it before they were against it. (That’s a staple of Dem foreign policy, e.g. Iraq.) And they’re just as obsessed with covering for Iran.

But the Trump administration is cracking down on the Iranian abuses that Obama wouldn’t. It sure beats illegally shipping them millions in foreign currency on unmarked cargo planes.

The Trump administration alleged Friday that Iranian government-linked hackers conducted a “massive and brazen” hacking scheme, breaking into the accounts of roughly 8,000 professors at hundreds of U.S. and foreign universities, as well as private companies and government entities, to steal huge amounts of data and intellectual property.


The indictment unveiled by the Justice Department directly links the individuals charged with the hacks to the Iranian government, saying the perpetrators were working for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other government clients.

The IRGC is Iran’s core network. The Democrats, including Obama, have gone to the mat to protect it from sanctions. And the Trump admin continues pushing closer to the IRGC.

Officials also stressed that the hacking was conducted at the behest of the Iranian government, and Mabna Institute functioned as a contractor for the Revolutionary Guard. Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stressed that the elite military wing has been a primary actor behind Iran’s sponsorship and encouragement of terrorism.


“The IRGC plays a central role in Iran’s maligned activities across the world, including fomenting terrorism,” said Mandelker.


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declined to provide details, but said the hacking “benefited” the Revolutionary Guard.


According to the charges, which include conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud, unauthorized access of a computer and aggravated identity theft and could carry a maximum sentence of upwards of four decades in prison, the nine alleged hackers carried out a sophisticated worldwide campaign since at least 2013 to pull off their cyberheist of more than 30 terabytes of academic data and other sensitive information.


The indictment alleges the Mabna Institute targeted more than 100,000 professors worldwide and succeeded in compromising 8,000 of them, spread across 144 US-based universities and 176 foreign universities. In their crosshairs were various types of intellectual property, including academic journals, dissertations and electronic books.

Not typical targets for ordinary hackers. But states are another matter.

While the indictments alone won’t solve anything. Much like Obama’s toothless indictments of Chinese hackers, it won’t individually accomplish anything. But here, we can be reasonably confident that it’s not a one-shot deal, but part of a pressure campaign, building a case, applying pressure and mobilizing for action.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. This column was used with permission from FrontPage Magazine, where it originally appeared. 

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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