Latest Guardian Scoop: Obama Ordered Cyber-Target List

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 7 2013 3:31 PM

Latest Guardian Scoop: Obama Ordered Cyber-Target List

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A computer workstation bears the National Security Agency (NSA) logo inside the Threat Operations Center inside the Washington suburb of Fort Meade, Maryland, intelligence gathering operation in January 2006

File photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

The scoops just coming for Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian. Here's the latest:

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".
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Greenwald, you'll remember, landed the Verizon scoop and was a close-second to the Washington Post on revelations about PRISM. At first glance, the latest report doesn't appear to be as earth-shaking as the previous two, although it will no doubt add to the Obama administration's headaches at a time when it's become clear that his administration is having a difficult time keeping its secrets. It also will probably make tonight's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping a little more awkward than it was already shaping up to be.

You can check ou the full Guardian report here, or read the documents here. For those with a little more time, Vanity Fair has an in-depth look at the "changing and terrifying nature of the new cyber-warfare" here.

Read more on Slate about the NSA’s secret snooping programs, and follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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