Shortly before 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, the White House emailed reporters that President Obama had signed a highly anticipated Executive Order aimed at protecting cyber security.
The order — setting up new programs aimed at stopping online espionage and terrorism — was already the law of the land, signed by the president. But it was also secret.
The document was “embargoed until delivery of the President’s in the State of the Union address” — despite the fact it had already been signed.
Such embargoes — imposed unilaterally, rather than agreed-upon — are not binding on news organizations, which weigh the urgency of the news against the headache of, for instance, being dropped from the White House’s distribution list. BuzzFeed abided by the embargo, having participated in a background briefing on the move, but thought it appropriate to report on the unusual delay.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor explained in an email Administration’s decision to, temporarily, conceal the new order: “We wanted to release the EO early on an embargoed basis because the subject matter is complicated and we knew you guys would have questions. It seemed more helpful for the press corps than sending it concurrent with the speech.”
Vietor added “this isn’t unprecedented. Take for example sanctions Executive Orders. They are signed one day, go into effect at midnight but are not released until the next day.”
The new order appears, however, to have taken effect immediately; Vietor didn’t respond to a follow up question about when the order took effect…
The article continues at BuzzFeed.
Also at the site, Obama Signs Executive Order to Protect Against Cyber Threats
Update: Obama to ‘bypass Congress’ on CISPA with cybersecurity executive order at Russia Today