Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

What was the motive behind the secret directive on cybersecurity?

Information recently was leaked to the press and quickly became public about a classified presidential policy directive, PPD-20, that was signed by President Obama just weeks before the presidential election. This is the latest leak of sensitive or classified information, and it has many people wondering if we have lost our ability to keep a secret. 

While details are scarce, the general consensus of experts and of the reporting community is that this executive order established the rules of engagement when it comes to cyberattacks on the United States. The directive is said to set forth a set of standards that are to be used as a guide for the response and operations of federal agencies to confronting cyber threats. Sources report that offensive and defensive cyber actions are defined in detail for the first time. Integral to these standards is a set of definitions and thresholds or lines for cyber conflict, which if crossed would constitute an act of war against the country.

This action came on the heels of several federal executives warning of the implications of a successful cyberattack on the nation’s critical infrastructure. When you look at these recent comments and warnings, together with the signing of PPD-20, it raises some interesting questions. For example, why in what was thought to be a very tight election would the president take this action and risk increased criticism that the White House is closed and acts on its own? Is the clock ticking? Are all the comments and warnings accidental, or are they part of a coordinated effort due to threat intelligence about a pending cyberattack? The answers to these questions are not known.  Only time will provide those answers.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Nov 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM


Reader Comments

Fri, Nov 30, 2012

The author does not seem to have a clue about how this release of information would be viewed. First, it is obvious that the information was released to make this administration appear to be tough on those out to hurt the USA in order to help in Oboma's r-election. (Why cannot the author even mention that possibility?) Second, what sort of criticism would he get from the vast majority of news media who went out of their way to either hush up the mistakes of this adminstration or make everything it did appear as a very good thing? Accidential? This has been a ongoing pattern with this admistration! If he is still looking for answers (which are obvious to those who really understand this adminstration), then he will never find them - unless he undergoes a serious set of critical thinking skills. If the motive is clear to millions in this country, then why cannot this authors even seriously discuss what they think - even if he does not believe it himself? I think I can answer that question, but hopefully the readers can figure it out for themselves.

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