President Obama Signs 'Secret Directive' On Cybersecurity

from the it's-so-secure-it's-secret dept

While we’re hearing that the Senate is likely to take up (though not pass) the Cybersecurity Act yet again either today or tomorrow, and the White House is still sitting on a cybersecurity “executive order,” in the meantime it’s being reported that President Obama has signed a “secret directive” to allow the military to “act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks.” This is limited to the military, but that means we’re talking about the NSA (which is a part of the Defense Department). Considering that it seems to view a stronger offensive effort (i.e., collecting all data) a key part of a strong “defense,” this is worrisome.

The really troubling part in all of this is the really unnecessary level of secrecy. We keep being told scary bogeyman stories about online attacks without any evidence or proof. And now the President is signing a “secret” order allowing the military to do more in response? Without any real scrutiny, it’s not difficult to see how these things expand unceasingly and are wide open for abuse. Given the NSA’s track record here, it’s inevitable that these efforts will be massively abused.

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Comments on “President Obama Signs 'Secret Directive' On Cybersecurity”

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alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

Power corrupts. Same story. Always. Without someone providing order and structure, there’s always going to be unfettered chaos and someone somewhere is going to do grievous harm to those around them.

So how do we maintain order and structure without crossing into corrupt motives within the realm of cyber security, since it’s hidden under the guise of national security?

The notion that Congress supposedly oversees such things and is charged with providing checks and balances has become a joke given their own corrupt motivations. And the Supreme court? total crap-shoot as a “final protection”.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:


I don’t know, I’m fairly certain Gary Johnson wouldn’t have signed this. And while it might be true that Romney would have done the same thing if he had the opportunity, the reality is that your statement is true in one sense. No matter who won the election last week, Obama would have signed this anyway. If Obama had lost the election, he’d still be PotUS right now.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Presidential overreach....

A thought occurs: governments are becoming less relevant to the population of the world.

…and this fact scares the be-f***ing-jebus out of the government.

If we thought the death throes of the MAFIAA were bad, the death throes of the governments (as they reach obsolescence, rather than thru any coup or revolt) will likely be exponentially worse.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Presidential overreach....

Be careful what you wish for. History has shown that whenever one group in power declines, there will be several others that are more than willing to step in and fill the void, by whatever means necessary. A power vacuum makes for even worse conditions to live in than a tyrannical government. (Just look at Somalia!)

Anonymous Coward says:

“The really troubling part in all of this is the really unnecessary level of secrecy.”

Mike, you’ve got the NSA admitting that they are violating the Constitution. When asked about the scope of the violations, they stated it would further violate the Constitution. The whole process has been a complete disaster to civil rights in the United States and you expect them to be open about it? I’ve got some beach front property in Florida to sell you…

Trevor (profile) says:


I was not defending the President for his actions. I was pointing out that at least he KNOWS what he is doing, like it or not. The only consolation is that this isn’t a situation where the President is being told what to do and to just play along. At least he knows the implications. The problem is: He’s ok with it.

Also, I meant between the two people with a fighting chance to get elected. Until the system changes to allow a viable third party contender that has an actual chance, the President is coming from one of the two main parties.

Anonymous Coward says:


“The only consolation is that this isn’t a situation where the President is being told what to do and to just play along. At least he knows the implications. The problem is: He’s ok with it. “

That’s not a consolation. That’s a BIGGER problem. When the problem is simple ignorance, knowledge will cure it. This problem is apparently deeper.

Would you rather have someone who would take improper action advising the President – or BEING the President?

Anonymous Coward says:


Well, we don’t know what is IN the order. Obama is commander in chief, and has the power to issue directives to the military. And the exact rules of engagement probably SHOULD be secret, to avoid having others exploit them. How can you say it “grants sweeping powers to parties unknown” without knowing what’s in it? It may very well grant only powers that certain people already assumed they had.

I’m sure this was leaked on purpose. You can tell, because the article in the paper spins it in a positive light. “Look, we’re doing something about cybersecurity!”

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Presidential overreach....

A thought occurs: governments are becoming less relevant to the population of the world.

And I wonder why that is?…
As I understand it the presidential race cost $1billion per candidate or there abouts. It’s hardly suprising that:
1/ Anyone getting there is beholden to whoever can provide that kind of money to get them there and
2/ The interests of those that they are beholden to are not the same as the other 99.99% of the world that don’t have that kind of money.

Anonymous Coward says:


Anyway, how does being a constitutional lawyer mean he knows what he’s signing? If he doesn’t understand cybersecurity, he won’t understand the constitutional implications.

Kind of like how people in the patent office might understand patent law but not understand that a PARTICULAR patent application is overbroad- if you don’t fully understand the material, you can’t know how the law applies to it.

And again, what good is his being a constitutional lawyer if he’s just going to ignore whether it’s constitutional anyway? You can’t seriously tell me that caring whether something is constitutional has been a big priority for him in general in this presidency.

And how long is this bill? Has Obama actually even read it word for word, as a lawyer would have to in order to form an actual legal opinion on it?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


but but but think of terrorist children!

This is letting them get their need to have war happen without having to use nukes. They’ve had them and only got to use them that one time.
Now we can have giant bloodless battles in cyberspace.

Maybe they should take a page from Notch’s playbook and just have a Quake 3 deathmatch tournament.

Anonymous Coward says:


I highly doubt that these people who think theres nothing wrong with these bill actually have the morals or self control not to do it regradless of permission, with the recent cia firing and bengazai testifying, plus the numerous other examples, its clear they already poses the capability……, this is and will always be a law brought up to justify something, past, present, or future.
Your government is out of control, and its leading the rest of the world down the drain pipe
There are few americans i would call friend, those in liberty have mine by default, and my respect and my support, whenever, however i can…….i wish you guys the strenght to fight the apathy, but will never begrudge if you fall back, as they say, you can never unlearn what you see, read, or hear………the fire of liberty rages on…..its, its own beast, doesnt seem like it wants to get put out.

Shruggingshoulders says:

Should know better?

Pres Obama should know better?…?
And just what in the last 4 years proves that he cares about the constitution?
There is this current scandal right now, where his admin scapegoated an insignificant video maker for a certain overseas problem. Um.. Freedom of speech?
No. To use your conjecture of Romney’s future actions as a foil to lessen Pres Obama’s responsibility in his duties to uphold the constitution is exactly why the slippery slope is a steep grade right now. Partisanship is leading to double standards w consequences. Thank you for yet another example. The constitution is the standard. Period. Whatever happened to the Liberal speaking truth to power? Sad, because the sycophancy and plain wierd cult of personality for our current pres is taking its toll.
Even if this article proves false, with such pervasive thinking, it won’t matter w the next issue on deck.
Our best hope is a statesmen in the Dem party shows some backbone and says no more. It won’t come from the GOP, so successfully marginalized, as they are.

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