The U.S. president has the authority to attack foreign computer networks, according to a recent legal review.
UNCONFIRMED: President Barack Obama can launch cyberattacks without approval from Congress
According to an extensive and "secret" legal review, as reported by the New York Times, President Barack Obama has sweeping powers to order cyberattacks on international targets when there is a perceived threat to the United States, even in places in which there is no declared war.
Cyberwar rules being written
The executive power to unilaterally wage cyberwar is reportedly part of a broad set of legal guidelines being drafted by the Obama administration, which will dictate how the country deals with the evolving world of digital threats. The rules being written will govern the way in which network searches are performed by U.S. intelligence agencies like the CIA, while allowing the president to authorize attacking networks with a destructive code if a threat is perceived.
As secretive as drone program
The cyberwarfare rules will focus in part on the differentiations between the way U.S. intelligence agencies handle digital warfare versus the way the U.S. military does. The rules will reportedly be a heavily guarded secret and will only be privy to a handful of top-level officials, in much the same way as the administration's rules on drone warfare are kept. With much of the U.S. defense budget being cut, computer-network warfare is seen as one of the few parts of the military budget expected to grow. The Pentagon recently created a new Cyber Command center tasked with leading the nation's digital war defenses.
U.S. already attacked Iran
As the Times also reports, in 2009 Obama ordered a cyberattack against Iran, targeting the country's nuclear enrichment facilities. The program originated at the Pentagon under President George W. Bush but was taken over by the National Security Agency under Obama. The "stuxnet" virus produced under the program wreaked havoc on Iran's nuclear program and is reportedly still being used to affect the country's nuclear laboratories.
MSN NEWS & RUMORS
MSN News seeks to give up-to-date information on rumors related to current events, people or even topics/issues of interest. We’ll tell you what we can confirm from the rumor mill — and what we can’t. If we can’t confirm a rumor, we’ll share what we do know about it.
If you have a rumor you’d like to submit for review, email: email@example.com
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter
Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews