Feeds

Bush orders NSA to snoop on US agencies

Cyber attack fear used to expand spy grid

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Not content with spying on other countries, the NSA (National Security Agency) will now turn on the US's own government agencies thanks to a fresh directive from president George Bush.

Under the new guidelines, the NSA and other intelligence agencies can bore into the internet networks of all their peers. The Bush administration pulled off this spy expansion by pointing to an increase in the number of cyber attacks directed against the US, possibly from foreign nations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will spearhead the effort around identifying the source of these attacks, while the Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon will concentrate on retaliation.

The Washington Post appears to have broken the news about the new Bush-led joint directive, which remains classified. The paper reported that the directive - National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 - was signed on Jan. 8. Earlier reports from the Baltimore Sun documented the NSA's plans to add US spying to its international snooping duties.

The new program will - of course - drains billions of dollars out of US coffers and be part of Bush's 2009 budget.

During Bush's presidency, US citizens have come under an unprecedented spying regime. In addition to upping its focus on suspected criminals, the administration permitted a system for wiretapping the phone calls of Average Joes and Janes. The government is also funding specialized computers from companies such as Cray that can search through enormous databases at incredible speed. Ah, if only Stalin could see us now.

The government points to cyber attacks against the State, Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security departments as the impetus for expanding the NSA's powers. "U.S. officials and cyber-security experts have said Chinese Web sites were involved in several of the biggest attacks back to 2005, including some at the country's nuclear-energy labs and large defense contractors," the Post reported.

Critics of the new directive will point to the NSA's ability to operate in total secrecy as cause for concern.

More troubling, however, may be the Pentagon and Homeland Security's aspirations to hit attackers with counter-strikes.

Proving that a nation rather than a rogue set of attackers are behind a cyber attack will likely be very difficult. In addition, the international community has yet to address the rules of cyber war in any meaningful way. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.