[ISN] Dual-leadership role at NSA and Cyber Command stirs debate

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/dual-leadership-role-at-nsa-and-cyber-command-stirs-debate/2013/10/06/ffb2ac40-2c59-11e3-97a3-ff2758228523_story.html By Ellen Nakashima The Washington Post October 6, 2013 During suspected Iranian cyber­attacks on the Web sites of commercial banks last year, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who simultaneously heads the country’s largest electronic spy agency and the military’s Cyber Command, proposed a simple solution: Shut off the attacks at their source. “We had the expertise and could have done something about it,” said one U.S. official, who like others interviewed for this store spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive discussions. “We’re sitting on their networks overseas. Why don’t we just turn it off?” But the proposal to send a simple computer “reset” command to the attacking servers was ultimately rejected by National Security Council officials this year because the attacks were not causing enough harm to warrant an offensive response. The episode shows the willingness — some say eagerness — of Alexander to use his authority to conduct offensive actions to fend off attacks against the private sector. If a similar proposal were on the table today, it would be the new cyber-teams that Alexander is creating to defend the nation that probably would do the job. […]