President Obama has requested a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks from his senior intelligence and national security officials, according to the Guardian.
The top secret presidential directive was issued in October of last year but never published. The document reportedly states that what is deemed the Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) "can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging."
A senior administration official told the Guardian that the aim of the document was "to put in place tools and a framework to enable government to make decisions" on cyber actions.
The leaking of the directive comes at an awkward time for President Obama, as he prepares to confront Chinese President Xi Jinping over alleged Chinese cyber attacks on western targets.