White House Declares It Has 'Broad Powers' When It Comes To Cyberattacks

from the well,-of-course dept

In a bit of news that will shock just about no one, the Obama administration did a legal review over what it's allowed to do in making use of "cyberweapons," and concluded that it has "broad powers" to do all sorts of stuff. The specifics, of course, will remain classified:
That decision is among several reached in recent months as the administration moves, in the next few weeks, to approve the nation's first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack. New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code - even if there is no declared war.
Comforting, huh? And, by comforting, I mean "terrifying." While we've already talked a few times about the US using "cyber weapons" against Iran (hello Stuxnet, Flame, etc.) this NY Times report suggests that the White House is being freed up to do much more, though one "concession" is that the use of such tools must be approved by the President, rather than allowing various agencies (Defense Department, mainly) to run off and starting attacking others electronically without first getting it approved by the President.

In the meantime, this looks like yet another case of the White House not minding leaks that make it look good. As we've noted, whenever there are leaks that embarrass the White House, they come down like a ton of bricks on whoever did the leaking as being guilty of espionage. But when the White House itself leaks information about how awesome and powerful they themselves are, no one ever seems to get arrested.
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Filed Under: administration, cyberattacks, cyberwar, powers, white house

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2013 @ 3:20pm

    No casus belli? No problem!

    Anyone else starting to get the feeling that the current administration thinks World War 3 would be a great way to boost the economy? Maybe I should get one of those fallout shelters...

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