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By JOHN MARKOFF and THOM SHANKER
The New York Times
August 1, 2009
It would have been the most far-reaching case of computer sabotage in
history. In 2003, the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies made
plans for a cyberattack to freeze billions of dollars in the bank
accounts of Saddam Hussein and cripple his government=E2=80=99s financial system
before the United States invaded Iraq. He would have no money for war
supplies. No money to pay troops.
=E2=80=9CWe knew we could pull it off =E2=80=94 we had the tools,=E2=80=9D said one senior
official who worked at the Pentagon when the highly classified plan was
But the attack never got the green light. Bush administration officials
worried that the effects would not be limited to Iraq but would instead
create worldwide financial havoc, spreading across the Middle East to
Europe and perhaps to the United States.
Fears of such collateral damage are at the heart of the debate as the
Obama administration and its Pentagon leadership struggle to develop
rules and tactics for carrying out attacks in cyberspace.
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