A secret legal review of the even more secret “rules” of the US cyberwarfare capabilities has concluded that President Obama has virtually limitless power to start cyber wars in the name of “pre-emption” of potential attacks coming out of another nation.
The reports come from officials involved in the review, and are impossible to verify since the rules themselves are classified, and the review is being conducted entirely in secret.
The current rules, to the extent anyone understands them, say that the Pentagon can openly attack targets in nations during wartime, but that doesn’t explain things like Stuxnet, the US-made computer worm that attacked Iran and subsequently much of the planet, doing massive damage to industry when it escaped Iranian computers and went worldwide.
The US sees “pre-emptive” attacks on nations like Iran in a cyber-context much as they do in a military context, although without all of the questions asked afterwards since the attack and indeed much of the cyber war can be conducted in relative secrecy. The 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and its calamitous occupation are being used as a model for the president being able to unilaterally start not just physical wars, but wars involving attacks on industrial computers of rival nations.