[OPE-L] Cyber warfare... and the NSPD/HSPD

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Jun 25 2007 - 17:36:18 EDT

June 25, 2007, 3:40 pm President Bush and Estonian leader Toomas Hendrik
Ilves talked over the possibility of a new NATO research center - in
Estonia - to focus on cyber attacks like the one that crippled the Baltic
republic in April. As many as 1 million computers, mostly hijacked, were
involved in the attacks against Estonia's highly developed Internet
infrastructure, including government, financial, media and other sites.
(...) Bush termed the issue of cyber attacks "interesting" and "one that I
can learn a lot about." He thanked Ilves for his idea for a NATO center to
be located in Estonia that would study the issue. NATO sent an observer to
Estonia to monitor its attack, but NATO was designed to counter physical
threats and hasn't yet developed detailed plans for cyber warfare.

In January 1999, after three years of research and development, the mi2g
Intelligence Unit published an internal memorandum titled, "Cyber Warfare:
The Threat to Government, Business and Financial Markets." In the internal
memorandum, released in the public domain post the NATO-Serbia first cyber
war in April 1999, it was stated, "Historically war has been classified as
physical attacks with bombs & bullets between nation states. It was beyond
the means of an individual to wage war. Today, in the Information Age, the
launch pad for war is no longer a runway but a computer. The attacker is no
longer a pilot or soldier but a civilian Hacker. An individual with
relatively simple computer capability can do things via the internet that
can impact economic infrastructures, social utilities and national security.
This is the problem we face in moving from the industrial world to the
Information Age, which is the essence of Cyber War."


President Bush, without issuing a press statement, on May 4 signed a
directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the
president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.

The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with
the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential
Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive,
establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity
Coordinator. That job, as the document describes, is to make plans for
"National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial,
and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue
functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national

The directive loosely defines "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident,
regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass
casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population,
infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."  (...) The
directive makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created there for the
National Continuity Coordinator with the existing National Emergency Act. As
specified by U.S. Code Title 50, Chapter 34, Subchapter II, Section 1621,
the National Emergency Act already allows that the president may declare a
national emergency, but requires that such proclamation "shall immediately
be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register."

A Congressional Research Service study
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/98-505.pdf notes that under the existing
National Emergency Act, the president "may seize property, organize and
control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces
abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and
communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict
travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States
citizens." http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55824

The unclassified portion of the new directive was posted on the White House
website on May 9, 2007, without any further announcement or press briefings,
although Special Assistant to George W. Bush Gordon Johndroe (a White House
NSC spokesman) answered several questions on the matter when asked about it
by members of the press in early June 2007. Johndroe said a loosely-worded
definition of national emergency was necessary for the new policy, because
the government couldn't be sure what kind of emergency might arise.

The new policy says that it "shall be implemented consistent with applicable
law," but does not say which laws are "applicable" in the event of a
national emergency. The signing of the Directive was generally not covered
by the mainstream U.S. media, or discussed by the U.S. Congress. When
similar executive security directives have been issued by previous
presidents, they have been kept secret; this is the first one to be made

Public text of the directive:

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