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. (Read more Libya stories.)