Trump cuts red tape for launching offensive cyberattacks

President Donald Trump's national security adviser warned U.S. adversaries on Wednesday that the U.S. is prepared to respond offensively to cyberattacks on the United States.

John Bolton said that even before the administration released its cyber strategy last year, Trump had issued a classified executive order effectively reversing the Obama administration's approach to offensive cyber operations. He said Trump has reduced red tape and procedural restrictions to make it less cumbersome for the U.S. to take offensive action in response to cyberattacks.

"I think that's critical, because I think that if our adversaries can take steps against us in cyberspace and feel no consequences, feel no pain, bear no costs, they have no incentive to stop attacking us in cyberspace," Bolton said at an event in Washington hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society.

"The objective is not to have unrestricted cyber warfare, the object is to create structures of deterrence by making our adversaries understand that when they engage in offensive cyberactivities themselves, they will bear a disproportionate cost — so they think about it a lot harder before they launch a cyber operation to begin with."