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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    But when the White House itself leaks information about how awesome and powerful they themselves are, no one ever seems to get arrested.

    Motherfucking Eagles.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Broad powers? Your Patriot Act gives unlimited powers when it comes to terror attacks (cyber or otherwise). The US is a truly frightening country.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    FTFY

    White House Declares It Has 'Broad Powers'... period.

    If another country tried to do the shit we do, we would be calling THEM TERRORISTS. Think about that for a while.

     

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      Jay (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:13am

      Re: FTFY

      It's funny, I just read a story about The US thought of itself as an entitled nation since the 40s (under Truman)

       

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        weneedhelp (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: FTFY

        Thanks for the link, I am only on the second page, but wow.

        "Take the Clinton doctrine. The Clinton doctrine was that the United States is entitled to resort to unilateral force to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.” That goes beyond anything that George W. Bush said. But it was quiet and it wasn’t arrogant and abrasive, so it didn’t cause much of an uproar." - Two sides of the same coin.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

      Re: FTFY

      The US is the biggest, baddest, terrorist in the known universe, period, exclamation mark

       

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      Rick Reed, Feb 9th, 2013 @ 7:00am

      Re: FTFY

      I'm a veteran and am glad to see that other people are waking up to the fact that we are and have been the real terrorists. Look up the definition of terrorism and you can see it yourself.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:05am

    so, if he feels the need, the president can authorise cyber attacks on whomever. what about those countries that feel the same way? i bet shit will hit fan if there is what is considered a retaliatory attack on the USA. and you can bet your arse that the USA are attacking other countries atm. cant have it one way without having it the other.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    They create mayham, future mayham, the only cyber threats are created by government, because they piss people off, in that respect i dont see it as cyber threat, i see it as respond threat

     

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    DannyB (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Define Cyber Attacks

    When asked to define what was meant by Cyber Attack, the government referred us to the RIAA and MPAA for clarification.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:17am

      Re: Define Cyber Attacks

      That's the government's public interpretation. You want the real definition, put in a FOIA proposal and get 64 fully redacted pages.


      (and a potential SWAT team at your door...)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Why not just move the Cyberdivisions of the NSA/CIA/etc into the next military branch of the government?

    You're branches of the military now include:
    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Geek Squad!

     

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    Simon, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    And only a couple of days after all those poor US news rags shouting "We've been getting hacked for months!", "Us too!" and "It's got to be China behind this!".

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

      Re:

      Nah the US wouldnt attack its own. /s
      The FBI wouldnt find would-maybe "terrorists" and blow stuff for them.
      They wouldnt want to fill social networks with fake accounts.
      They wouldnt make up their own interpretation of laws and refuse to tell anyone.
      They wouldnt request the ability to lie to the American public.
      They wouldnt want to lie to a court.

      They wouldnt burn down their own parliament building and blame it on communists.


      Sure they wouldnt.

       

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    1984

    Speech should be controlled to only allow that which has been approved.

    Newspeak is alive and defining the US news.

    Please enjoy to your satisfaction.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    I think the "White House" should shut the hell up and do some spring cleaning on their own systems, lest someone with actual knowledge and evil intentions decides to take this as a threat and fire a couple of "rounds" at the white house's systems.

    Then we'll see what the "broad powers" will do for them.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    the beatings will continue...

    ...until morale improves ! ! !

    problem solved...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

      Re: the beatings will continue...

      One of my favorite lines.

      I also like this one, which originated in the Soviet Union, "So long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Acts of war

    Don't these "broad powers" essentially boil down to acts of war? Isn't Congress required to approve of these before they're executed?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

      Re: Acts of war

      No its not barry is the all powerful great and wonderful wizard.

       

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      RyanNerd, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:16am

      Re: Acts of war

      Yes. That is what the constitution says. It plainly states that it is CONGRESS that declares war. Not the president. But the constitution has been used as toilet paper by the current and former administrations.

      There are actualy some idiots out there that want to instigate a manditory draft. This is without congress declaring war, and there by without a delcaration of war we end up with a financial and moral mess like: Vietnam, Korea, Iraq,... should I continue?

      Sometimes I wake up in the morning read the news and wonder what country I live in.

       

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    Kelledin (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    White House Declares It Has 'Generous Endowments' When It Comes To Procreative Equipment

    The specifics, of course, will remain classified.

    Everyone outside the 'classified' circle, of course, calls bullshit.

     

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    arcan, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    and people think i am crazy for having a quick kit to thermite my laptops hard drive and a 79 character password (estimated time to crack not counting gpu cracks 49 septillion years)

     

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    anonymous dutch coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    difference

    So, apart from winning the World Series more often, there is no difference between the US and China.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 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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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    What really gets me annoyed with Obama is the fact that he believes that he can do it right when him himself don't believe anybody could or should and in the case these powers goes to others he plans to make sure nobody can do what he did.

    No this is not an assumption he said it us much in an interview just last year to anybody who wanted to hear it, and I believe he was talking about then about assassinations, enhanced interrogation and other stuff, he said he needed those things but would not trust other administrations to have the same power, or some equality crappy BS.

     

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