The New York Times reports that the United States seriously considered using some form of cyberwarfare in its campaign to topple the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The intention would have been to undercut the Libyan government's ability to counter Western airstrikes in the country.
The idea was shelved, however. According to the Times:
[A]dministration officials and even some military officers balked, fearing that it might set a precedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China, to carry out such offensives of their own, and questioning whether the attack could be mounted on such short notice. They were also unable to resolve whether the president had the power to proceed with such an attack without informing Congress.
Some people might find that reasoning curious, considering the widely held assumptions that cyberwarfare is already occurring, with reports of infiltration and cybertheft of U.S. government, military, and commercial secrets appearing in the news with surprising regularity.
In fact, Mark Bowden will discuss "The First Digital War" in his October 24 program at The Commonwealth Club of California. The event, which will be moderated by Brian Hackney, CBS 5 correspondent for "Eye on the Bay," will take place at 6 p.m. in San Francisco. (Tickets are still available.)