Obama Wants Cyber-Attacks List Created

This is horrible, horrible, terrible news, a massive scandal…um, wait

(Guardian) Barack Obama has ordered his senior national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks, a top secret presidential directive obtained by the Guardian reveals.

The 18-page Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued in October last year but never published, states that what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) “can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging”.

It says the government will “identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power”.

There are good leaks, and bad leaks, and “you don’t say” leaks. Many are decrying this as some sort of scandal and shows the tyranny of Obama. I’m going to disagree and defend Obama on this. I’d be upset if he hadn’t ordered this in this day and age. The US government, especially the DOD, has always had plans. Plans to fight a war, even first strikes, against our best allies. There are surely plans involving Canada, the U.K., heck, probably the Canary Islands. In this day and age we need plans for cyber-attacks.

So, in this case, Obama was doing the correct thing.

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6 Responses to “Obama Wants Cyber-Attacks List Created”

  1. gitarcarver says:

    Absolutely agree with you.

    I remember when there was a “scandal” that the US had plans to defend against an attack by Canada. People went nuts.

    The military is a lot like a football team. Against another team that has plans and plays in place, a team that makes stuff up on the spur of the moment will fail every time.

    I have no problems with this list and agree with Teach that this is one Obama and his group got right.

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  3. Hacking_Gumballs says:

    …advance US national objectives

    Granted, but can we at least do away with the bellicose language? Hacking our enemies does not advance our national objectives.

    slight OT: Does it not signal the problem with our media that the Guardian and The Mail seem to be the papers that are breaking all of these stories? And they are foreign papers. Not even the so-called conservative papers??

    However, when is this guy going to get serious about leaks? Why are our national secrets leaking out like they’re being dispensed from a neighborhood taco truck?

  4. gitarcarver says:

    Hacking our enemies does not advance our national objectives.

    I would disagree.

    If we know the plans of enemies, we can thwart them. If we know such things as technical specifications for weapons systems, we can devise tactics or even countermeasures to those weapons systems. If we can affect an enemy’s command and control structure, listen to communications, etc. that does advance national objectives.

  5. Hacking_Gumballs says:

    Gitarcarver, I think you might be confusing military objectives with national ones. And yeah, this is a ticky-tack thing.

    Our national objectives are to spread freedom, to spread our good will, to help sell America and its good across the world, to monitor and negotiate treaties, to keep our citizens safe at home and abroad.

    Hacking and military plans are military objectives. Granted, yes, military objectives can help and advance certain national ones like keeping Europe free during the World Wars and now and defending our allies.

    But, I really don’t see how the specific goal of drawing up plans on how to hack who is a “national objective”. To me, this sounds like a sales pitch.

    Like: “no, we are not spying on you. we are helping you maintain privacy on your data so that you’ll know who accesses it. If we don’t monitor you, you wont know when someone else does.”

  6. gitarcarver says:


    If we hack plans and objectives of those who seek to harm us – either militarily or otherwise – we are advancing national goals by stooping those who would seek to limit our national goals.

    For example, prior to WWII, there were German agents in the US whose express goal was to push a goal of isolationism so the Germans could roam Europe with impunity. If we had hacked those communications between agents we might have taken a different course of action to protect and spread freedom.

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