Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Amendment to NDAA Would Give Military 'Clandestine Operation' Authority in Cyberspace


As if the NDAA wasn't bad enough -- essentially turning the whole planet, including America into one giant battlefield -- Congress is set to introduce an amendment that would grant even more power to the military for offensive operations in cyberspace.

As Mike Masnick highlights in his article for TechDirt, the applicable section currently gives authority to the president, whereas the amendment would give the entire Department of Defense the same authority.

The prospect of clandestine military actions online against whichever targets any one of the military agencies deems appropriate will officially complete the goal of full spectrum dominance.

The current text of the NDAA reads as follows:
SEC. 954. MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN CYBERSPACE. 
Congress affirms that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the President may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our Nation, Allies and interests, subject to— 
(1) the policy principles and legal regimes that the Department follows for kinetic capabilities, including the law of armed conflict; and  
(2) the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).

This is certainly bad enough, as it essentially gives dictatorial power to current and future presidents. However, what is even worse is the proposed amendment which hands over the power to the Secretary of Defense and every secretive agency under his direction, including anything hidden within the Black Budget:
SEC. 954. MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN CYBERSPACE.

(a) AFFIRMATION.—Congress affirms that the Secretary of Defense is authorized to conduct military activities in cyberspace.

(b) AUTHORITY DESCRIBED.—The authority referred to in subsection (a) includes the authority to carry out a clandestine operation in cyberspace— 
(1) in support of a military operation pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (50 U.S.C. 1541 note; Public Law 107-40) against a target located outside of the United States; or

(2) to defend against a cyber attack against an asset of the Department of Defense. 
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary of Defense to conduct military activities in cyberspace.
Masnick rightly points to the key word "clandestine" within the above text.  This is nothing short of an open admission that the military is taking full control over both the supposed safety of the infrastructure as well as manipulation of that infrastructure and the data that moves across it.

In July of last year, the Pentagon announced their strategy to treat cyberspace as an "operational domain" in their Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace (PDF) where they claim that "Hackers and foreign governments are increasingly able to launch sophisticated intrusions into the networks and systems that control critical civilian infrastructure."

Even though the above concern has been disproven time and again, this new amendment seeks only to expand the role of DoD and its dangerous offspring the NSA.

Perhaps worst of all is that this amendment is an open handover of power by Congress to let the Defense Department do whatever it wishes with minimal or no oversight, capitulating to the directives DoD has already given to Congress regarding war in the real world.

A response by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in June of last year to a question by Sen. McCain made clear his view that Barack Obama should work jointly with DoD within a military dictatorship framework, with a philosophy of extralegal measures taken by the president "when needed" by the military:
'Senator, I believe very strongly that the president has the constitutional power as commander in chief to take steps that he believes are necessary to protect this country and protect our national interests,' said Panetta. 'And obviously, I think it's important for presidents to consult, to have the advice of Congress. But in the end, I believe he has the constitutional power to do what he has to do to protect this country.' (Source)
Congress would seem to agree wholeheartedly with this assessment by amending Section 954 of the National Defense Authorization Act and ushering into cyberspace an even wider philosophy of military supremacy over what used to be a Constitutional Republic.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really wonder why our "government" even bothers to enact legislation. Current laws are just ignored (US Constitution), laws that aren't laws (income tax, police dictates) are enforced and secret interpretations of laws (Patriot Act) we think we understand are trump.

The bottom lines here is that our "government" is going to do whatever it feels like and to hell with what the law says since laws don't matter anyway. If laws mattered, our President would be required to produce a REAL birth certificate.

Pretending that our government follows laws (and thus has to enact them) is just to give us some false hope that we live in a civilized, democratic society. The same goes for free and honest elections.

Anonymous said...

They don't follow the laws, Anonymous, you are correct. But Judges still follow the "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" rules in trials. In order to bring up anything in court rooms as evidence, it must be supported by law.

Anonymous said...

The history of states repeats, again and again. The constitutions are a fakes ¿can you see now? The reality of facts: the people dont have the power or their lives, they dont participate in the most important decisions (work, health, home, etc..), the real democracy, only the people make it without intermediates. The academics say the topic of the direct-democracy (atention of the surname)is objectively imposible, but they dont put the facts, and obiously is ridiculous. Is the sistem of power over the people with the constant militar-policial treaten.
(Sorry for my english)

Anonymous said...

No room for abuse here. Just let the military do whatever it wants on the Internet? And it's not only America -- other countries have to stand up and condemn this. America condemns China for Internet censorship which is NOTHING compared to this.

Anonymous said...

In China the censorship works because of the fact that their culture permit it. In the occidental nations the censorship works too, but only when is necesary for the interest of the oligarchy. In occidental nations we have the prevent, must effective now in our culture. But the most important role is the liberty of conscience, manipulate by the education first, media second, art-production thirth. This is the real abuse, a violation of our consciencce, because without free conscience the free expression it´s a joke. But i repeat, we don´t have democracy, here in Europe or all around the world. That is the real problem: we don´t make nothing, only deposite a paper in a box ¿do you think this is democracy? You can take conscience of this fact, but the most important thing is the sacrifice for do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Declare yourself a Constitutional American not a citizen of the federal government.
Demand your rights, which are protected, not authorized, by the constitution are respected by all public servants.
The authority temporarily loaned to all public servants, on your behalf and only upon your continual approval can and must be withdrawn -immediately -upon any deviation away from the law of the land - the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
All actions taken by your public servants - not in keeping with the law of the land - must be ignored by all Constitutional Americans. More important - such unconstitutional actions must be countered with appropriate actions - i.e. removal of public servants' authority, removal from office, court hearing, appropriate punishment.

or we can all just keep chatting about the growing problem - which is the public servants have declared war on you (us). Will you respond in any meaningful way?

Mary said...

EU Anonymous, There is one little twist you forgot to mention, here. We lost the Freedom of Speech to the U.S. tyrannical gov't and, if we speak our opinion, the "Brown Shirts" make us disappear. Declaring ourselves Constitutional Americans will be the beginning of the New Revolutionary War. Yes, it needs to be done, but organization, 1st, lest we have the chaos the NWO is building. Currently, we have more sheeple than sheep herders. This is not an American problem, this is a World problem. Al Queda is nothing compared to these guys. This NWO aims to take over ALL resources and make the sheeple the slaves like old-time Egypt. The effort for We The People of the World to regain our Liberties must be in sync. Snakes slither away to bite another day. We need to cut off the heads of the main snakes & the rest will crumble. S.

sean said...

The congress is going to legislate itself out of existence, there either stupid, or there being bribed and blackmaled. I think its the latter.....

Anonymous said...

Relax everyone, it just tells us that it is OK to have a military coup right here in the good ol' USA. However, this was not the kind of third party I envisioned.

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