Special thanks to Jeffrey Carr for writing this guest post and helping us take a closer look at covert action and cyber-espionage. -Jack
As the U.S. government expands its cyber warfare capabilities including the development and use of offensive weapons, I thought it would be valuable to look at the process of planning and getting approval for a covert action. The President has the ability under Executive Order 12333 and Title 50 of the US Code to authorize a covert action whose purpose is “to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly”.  This includes the use of cyber weapons if the plan can secure the approval of the National Security Council’s National Security Planning Group (NSPG) which is the NSC’s committee overseeing covert action.  During the Reagan administration, which is time of reference for this recently de-classified document , members of the NSPG included the Vice President, SECDEF, SECSTATE, the DCI, the assistant for National Security Affairs, the White House Chief of Staff, his deputy and the President’s counselor.
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