by Constantine von Hoffman

‘Leaked’ Draft of White House Cyber Security Order Not Worth the Wait

Dec 07, 20123 mins

The executive order calls for the gathering of a lot of information that should have already been in it and it looks for "incentives" but no answers to the problems of businesses sharing cyber-threat data.

The latest “leaked” version of the Executive Order on cybersecurity will be sweet news for anyone afraid of a power grab by the White House. It is nothing but watered down mush or, as others are calling it, a “framework” for how to proceed.

In other words, it’s several stories of scaffolding with no building behind it. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on where you stand. At least it doesn’t say the Department of Homeland Security should be in charge.

It opens with the boilerplate description of what a serious threat we are facing.


If it’s so serious why is it that the rest of the order does little more than ask various agencies to issue reports and make recommendations about what to do next? Should the President have received those recommendations before issuing the order?

The first action called for is the “timely production of unclassified versions of all reports of cyber threats to the U.S. homeland that identify a specific targeted entity.” DHS is in charge of doing this so you know it will be a cluster[BLEEP]. (Also, why are they calling it the “U.S. homeland”?) How is that different than the plain ol’ U.S.?)

The otherwise powerless Director of National Intelligence gets to track “all of these reports and notifications.” I guess he finished painting the White House fence.

He also gets to spend time with the Secretary of Defense to


I’m pretty sure they’re already allowed to do it. The problem is they’re not going to do it unless/until someone resolves the issues of civil suits and fear of losing competitive advantages (whether real or not) to their competitors.

Instead of addressing this, the order tells the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce to come up with a list of what incentives they can provide to get people to play along and what incentives they will need new laws for. Again, why isn’t this information already in? Hell, President Obama probably could have gotten that in the time between the leaking of the first draft and the leaking of the current one.

The Executive Order’s primary usefulness may be in a game of buzzword bingo:


I hope they’ll circle back to me when they decide to double down on this world-class effort.

I do have to say that the Order is not without its comic moments:


If this actually happens it will be the first time for either this or the previous administration.