White House Struggles to Take More Aggressive Cyber Stance

Posted September 16, 2015 at 5:10am

“A question from a member of the Pentagon’s new cyberwarfare unit the other day prompted President Obama to voice his frustration about America’s seeming inability to deter a growing wave of computer attacks, and to vow to confront the increasingly aggressive adversaries who are perpetrating them,” according to The New York Times .  

“If Mr. Obama sounded uncharacteristically combative on the topic, it is because finding a way to deter computer attacks is one of the most urgent and confounding problems he faces in his last 16 months in office. The problem is all the more pressing because it is where the high-tension diplomacy surrounding the state visit of President Xi Jinping of China next week merges with the challenge of containing Iran in the aftermath of the recently completed nuclear agreement with Tehran.”  

“The White House revealed late Saturday that a high-level Communist Party envoy sent by Mr. Xi, Meng Jianzhu, spent four days in Washington last week meeting with intelligence and law enforcement officials in an effort to create some ‘rules of the road’ for Internet actions between the United States and China before they derail an already fraught relationship.”  

“With both Iran and China, Mr. Obama is struggling with variants of the same problem: How do you contain a rising power that has discovered the benefits of an anonymous, havoc-creating weapon that can also yield vast troves of secret data? And how do you convince them that actions for which ‘they have paid no price,’ as the director of the N.S.A. and the Cyber Command, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, put it the other day, will no longer be cost-free?”