A secret review has concluded that US President Obama has the authority to launch a preemptive cyber attack on any country on the basis that they are considered a ‘cyber threat’ – even if there is no concrete evidence of this threat.
It may not be long before the US conducts crippling attacks on foreign soil with little more than a mouse click, thereby sparing itself the effort of sending its military oversees or declaring war.
The Obama administration is currently drawing up a set of rules about how the US military can defend against or conduct cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The Obama administration is also allowing intelligence agencies to declare potential threats. But even if these threats are nothing more than a suspicion without evidence, the military now has the authority to attack foreign nations, regardless of whether or not the US is involved in a conflict with them.
This would not only spare the US from sending its own troops overseas, but it would also allow the administration to make decisions without the deliberation that usually occurs before sending Americans into a conflict zone. And if the administration conducts an attack based on false premises, it would be saved the embarrassment that occurred when President George W. Bush sent thousands of US troops into a war with Iraq that lasted nearly 9 years, based on the false premise that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was a security threat.
With no overseas deployments necessary to conduct a cyberattack, the administration would have nothing to lose by anonymously targeting and destroying infrastructure based on its own suspicions of a threat. The administration’s new rules would also allow the military to operate domestically, the thought of which has always made many people uncomfortable. The White House in October signed a presidential policy directive that aims to “finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties.”
A senior administration official told the Times that the US has so far kept its cyber capabilities restrained and that the new rules could allow the administration to exercise its full potential.
“There are levels of cyberwarfare that are far more aggressive than anything that has been used or recommended to be done,” the official said.
The administration has already used computer worms to cripple other countries’ infrastructure, including a series of attacks against Iran’s nuclear power plants, one of which took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges of the Natanz plant. The attack was controlled from inside the Pentagon, which now has a new Cyber Command and a growing budget that would allow it to conduct more extensive cyberattacks.
dailyalternative | alternative news – Hacker in chief: Obama given right to launch ‘preemptive’ cyber attack