US Eyed Cyberattack on Libya

Use of cyberweapons was debated, then rejected
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 8:09 AM CDT
A Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft takes off to join the NATO-led operation in Libya in April.    (AP Photo/Scanpix/Patric Soderstrom)
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(Newser) – The Pentagon seriously considered unleashing a cyberattack on Libya to take out the Gadhafi regime's air defenses before airstrikes began in March, officials say. But after an intense debate, administration officials decided against using a cyberattack to shield allied aircraft, the New York Times reports. The cyberattack option was rejected for numerous reasons, officials say, including the legal ramifications and a desire to avoid setting a precedent that Russia or China could follow.

The biggest deciding factor, however, was a lack of time—which was exacerbated by Gadhafi's march on Benghazi. Finding a point to attack a communications network like the one operated by the Libyan military is "the cyberequivalent of fumbling around in the dark until you find the doorknob,” a technology expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says.

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