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Justice Department Preparing New Cases Against Iran - Washington Post

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the United States Justice Department national security prosecutors were told last month to focus on Iran related ongoing investigations, “with an eye to making them public”.

As a result, Justice Department officials are preparing several cases involving Iranian suspects to be announced soon.

One of the cases could be related to the hacking of HBO, sources have told the Washington Post.

Last summer, HBO acknowledged that hackers had been able to penetrate its network and steal information. The cyber-security failure was not just one incident but involved multiple intrusions.

But the paper says that law enforcement officials are concerned about the motives behind the push to go public about Iran related cases.

If more Iranians are indicted for crimes, it will become much easier for the Trump administration to convince Congress to ratchet up sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The HBO case might have been a straight hacking attempt to extort money from the company. But an HBO spokesman did not respond to messages from the Washington Post and it unclear if the company ever paid any money.

Last time when a major entertainment company became a victim of hacking, was in 2014, when Sony’s network was compromised in an intrusion attributed to North Korea.

Iran has extensive cyber penetration operations, which have become complex and advanced in recent years. Some hacking incidents were claimed by a group which calls itself Iranian Cyber Army.

It is not clear yet what other cases the Justice Department is focusing on. But law enforcement officials have expressed concern to the Post that an early release of information can impede more investigations by alerting Iranian suspects.