Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Cyberwar challenges told through story of Saudi-CIA Web site takedown

Post reporter Ellen Nakashima wrote Friday about the dismantling of a Saudi-CIA Web site, and the need for clearer cyberterror policies:

By early 2008, top U.S. military officials had become convinced that extremists planning attacks on American forces in Iraq were making use of a Web site set up by the Saudi government and the CIA to uncover terrorist plots in the kingdom.


"We knew we were going to be forced to shut this thing down," recalled one former civilian official, describing tense internal discussions in which military commanders argued that the site was putting Americans at risk. "CIA resented that," the former official said.

Elite U.S. military computer specialists, over the objections of the CIA, mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum. Although some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon's plan, several key princes were "absolutely furious" at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool, according to another former U.S. official.

Four former senior U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations, said the creation and shutting down of the site illustrate the need for clearer policies governing cyberwar. The use of computers to gather intelligence or to disrupt the enemy presents complex questions: When is a cyberattack outside the theater of war allowed? Is taking out an extremist Web site a covert operation or a traditional military activity? Should Congress be informed?

See the full story here.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 19, 2010; 8:39 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rep. Stearns: never mind about those previous concerns with the broadband plan, I've got some others
Next: Lawmakers push immigration reforms that include green cards for science Phds

No comments have been posted to this entry.

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company