The Guardian has uncovered a Presidential Policy Directive in which Obama ordered national security and intelligence officials to compile a list of overseas targets for U.S. cyber attacks.
The directive–number 20–was issued in October 2012 but never published.
According to the 18 page document:
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 calls on officials “to identify potential targets of national important where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power.”
Responding to concerns about stepping up U.S. offensive efforts in accordance with Directive 20, an administration official said: “Once humans develop capacity to build boats, we build navies. Once you build airplanes, we build air forces. As a citizen, you expect your government to plan for scenarios.”
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