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Trump reportedly gave CIA more cyberattack powers with secret order

The agency has used its increased freedom to conduct covert actions against Iran and other countries, according to Yahoo News.

Donald Trump
Trump increased the CIA's ability to conduct cyberattacks, according to a news report.
Al Drago for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The CIA's ability to conduct cyberattacks on other countries got a boost in 2018, after President Donald Trump signed a secret order giving it more freedom, Yahoo News reported Wednesday. The presidential finding apparently undid restrictions created by previous administrations, allowing the agency to authorize more of its own operations instead of waiting for White House approval.

It was designed to let the US go on the offensive against "adversarial countries" like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others, according to the report, which cited unnamed former US officials.

The additional powers allow the CIA to disrupt infrastructure (like electricity) or leak sensitive information online, Yahoo News noted, and widened its scope to hit media groups, charities, religious institutions or businesses potentially linked to the country's intelligence services with cyberattacks.

Neither the CIA nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment.