Last week I wrote about the second failure in the Senate of the Cybersecurity bill. In that article, I also pointed out that earlier in October Barack Obama has signed a secret cybersecurity directive. As of today the National Security Agency (NSA) is refusing to release any details pertaining to that directive.

The Washington Post reported on the directive:

Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record. The president signed it in mid-October.

The new directive is the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an “offensive” and a “defensive” action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism, where an attack can be launched in milliseconds by unknown assailants utilizing a circuitous route. For the first time, the directive explicitly makes a distinction between network defense and cyber-operations to guide officials charged with making often-rapid decisions when confronted with threats.

However, the specifics remain unknown. Many experts believe this is an authorization for the military to start operation on networks of private companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

This refusal comes after attorneys with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding that the Obama administration make public the text of a secret directive on cybersecurity.

The NSA responded to attorney's request this week with a statement claiming that it does not have to release the document because it is a confidential presidential communication and it is classified.

“Disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” the NSA response reads.

“Because the document is currently and properly classified, it is exempt from disclosure,” the statement notes.

EPIC attorney Amie Stepanovich said, “We’d like to see what the language says and see what power is given."

"We believe that the public hasn’t been able to involve themselves in the cybersecurity debate, and the reason they can’t involve themselves is because they don’t have the right amount of information,” Stepanovich said.

All I have to say is that if NSA is not forthcoming with the information, then it points to the fact that they are doing something they should not be doing. Yeah, I know there are always those screaming "security," but in the end the current administration has demonstrated that is it more than willing to cross the line of the Constitution to get what it wants.

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