Senior U.S. national security officials have created a list of possible cyberattack targets on the orders of President Barack Obama, according to a secret document obtained by the Guardian dating back to last fall.
The report's authors say they obtained "Presidential Policy Directive 20," an 18-page top-secret paper written in October 2012 but never published. The Guardian says that the document details "Offensive Cyber Effects Operations" that can "advance U.S. national objectives" by striking potential targets with a range of effects "from the subtle to the severely damaging."
U.S. military operations designed to cripple another country's computers or technological infrastructure should not violate U.S. or international law, the document warns. It also states that "significant consequences" are "likely" and would therefore "require specific presidential approval."
The Guardian also noted that the leaked document comes just as Obama prepares to "confront" China's leader, Xi Jinping, in California on Friday over alleged technological attacks against Western targets.