Another Top Secret leak: Obama's cyber-war hit-list


42 Responses to “Another Top Secret leak: Obama's cyber-war hit-list”

  1. bzishi says:

    Does the Guardian know that they can only get one Pulitzer for this reporting? Maybe they are trying for a Nobel Peace Prize? Keep the leaks coming!

  2. Antinous / Moderator says:

    How Nixonian.

    • timquinn says:

      Not seeing the comparison. Nixon’s list was domestic enemies of Dick Nixon. This is, well , not that at all.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I rate it as Nixonian because it had less to do with a successful national security strategy and more to do with a middle school mindset in which we compile lists of, on the one hand, people who comply with our every wish and, on the other hand, our “enemies.”

        That strategy has gotten us into a global guerrilla war with Islam, led to vast amounts of death and destruction, and has in fact weakened our security by alienating most of the world from us.  There was a time when the parents of the billion or so people who would like to blow us to smithereens actually admired us and wished that they could live here.

    • Petzl says:

      Um, how is this at all remarkable?  The US has always had defense-related contingency plans.  Not particularly “Nixonian” at all.

      I find the nuclear-related ones much more disturbing.

  3. Scumbaggus Maximus says:  The fact that the American list is published does not mean the Chinese (and other countries) dont have a cyberarmy that have a hitlist .

  4. Touch Sensitive says:

    I remember stories about our government (Ireland), years ago, being umm.. helpeda$$isted, to make our telephony system as transparent as possible to the US.

    Cold War concerns, but still, it makes you wonder about all the sordid little countries, like mine, what has been ‘given away’, arranged, paid for..

  5. Nell Anvoid says:

    Meh!  By the time we … or “they” … get any value out of all this … the spy biz will have moved beyond it technologically. Very innovative, those spooks.

  6. weatherman says:

    I don’t understand the criticism; what’s the alternative, that we don’t have a plan or the capacity to defend ourselves from cyberattack and retaliate, or strike first when the threat is imminent?

    Cyber warfare is real, and attacks are happening daily against the US government, US infrastructure, and US private companies. I may not always agree with the way they are directed, but I’m glad we have a standing army capable of defending this country with guns, planes and ships. And I’m equally glad that we have some hackers capable of doing the same in cyberspace. It’s not the cyberwarfare capability or the existence of a plan that is a problem, it’s in the way it is used.

    • Steeevyo says:

      Its being used as a propaganda weapon against the Chinese. 
      I read about nothing but the Chinese attacking our servers.
      Now we know that we are doing excactly the same.
      All arguments against the Chinese actions become invalid.
      Unless you still believe in that outdated good vs. evil concept.

      • Xploder says:

         Not really good vs evil, more like retaliation in response to actual attacks. The Chinese are damn good at cyber stuff and we’d be complete fools NOT to have contingency plans already in place.

        And of course it’s being used as propaganda against the Chinese. The negative articles decrying the existence of plans is propaganda against the U.S. Pretty much any and everything written about a government is propaganda either for or against that government.

    • benher says:

      I don’t think it’s any real secret that America has been engaged in cyber warfare with China for years. But the administration always has to at least pretend to have some moral leverage over “them” as it were.
      It reminds me how China rolls it’s eyes at America when we try to school them on human rights abuses. I think it’s less of a criticism of the actual conflict and more of a why-don’t-we-just-cut-the-crap-already.

  7. jmidden says:

    So there is a list and contingency plans. I certainly hope so! It would be negligent not to have thought about these things and made plans for them in case they should become necessary. That’s a big part of government’s job, to try to foresee potential problems and be ready should they occur. I hope there are plans for military invasions/first strikes/sabotage of the top 20 or 30 most potentially troubled countries, probably Canada and Mexico, too.

    That being said, I suspect that more of it has gone past the planning stage than the government will admit, or that many of us would find acceptable.

    • anwaya says:

      Hear, hear. There is an important difference between “actively engaged in” and “preparing contingent plans for”. Given the timing, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this was a well-considered leak, letting the Chinese know that their infrastructure is vulnerable, and their intrusions are unwelcome.

      • aikimoe says:

        But we “actively engaged in” it.  We developed a computer worm to shut down Iran’s nuclear program and attacked their systems with it.  Secretly, of course.

        • anwaya says:

          True – though different in kind. Stuxnet was sabotage, its purpose was to cripple Iran’s enrichment program; while accounts are that the Chinese have been breaking into .mil (or defence contractors’) networks and stealing secret stuff. This is espionage.

          I think these are sufficiently different to warrant a little sabre rattling, a bit of covert gunship diplomacy, on the eve of a summit.

          • aikimoe says:

            I could have missed it, but I didn’t see anything in the article that limited these potential actions to only espionage.

          • anwaya says:

            Nor did I: and all I said was that Stuxnet was sabotage, and what the Chinese are engaging in is espionage. Your example of US sabotage does not excuse Chinese espionage, or offer China a defence against espionage countermeasures, or make US countermeasures to espionage inexcusable.

          • aikimoe says:

            I don’t think I implied any excuses or defenses for Chinese espionage.

            I only challenged your assertion that we weren’t “actively engaged in” cyber attacks or that the article reported that our planning was for espionage purposes only.

            I totally agree that we should have defensive contingency plans for attacks from outside.  But the U.S. is frequently quick to condemn the actions of others while engaging in the same behavior.  This is no different.

          • anwaya says:

            So I think that using espionage to steal military secrets for the purpose of empowering an individual state is morally reprehensible when compared to using sabotage for the purpose of  disabling a state’s ability to produce nuclear weapons which threaten all mankind. Do you think that this judgement is incorrect? If so, how?

          • aikimoe says:

            If I thought Iran’s nuclear program was a threat to all mankind, then I’d have to think about it.  As it stands, the U.S. has caused more mayhem around the world in the last 10 years than Iran has since it was the Persian Empire.

            We’re in no position to tell even an authoritarian dictatorship like Iran (unlike our friendly authoritarian dictatorships like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, etc.) what nuclear programs it can and cannot have.

    • Xploder says:

      Agreed. When I was stationed in Germany back in the 80′s we had ‘active’ plans for attacking East Germany in the event of the Eastern Block attacking us. It’s common sense, from a military standpoint, to have contingency plans for every damn thing.

    • EH says:


  8. SedanChair says:

    Congratulations Glenn, you’re the A-Team now. Be careful because in real life the bad guys can actually hit what they are shooting at.

  9. dspl says:

    B/c the government uses cyber tools to spy and wage war they cannot allow you to use these same tools, so in attempting to disarm the public they excessively punish even when there is no damage done (ie Aaron Swartz).

    • peterblue11 says:

       just like with normal guns then. i m not pro gun ownership. but it does come down to the same thing.

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