President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE has reportedly rolled back a series of Obama-era classified rules on how the U.S. government can launch cyberattacks on foreign targets.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Trump reversed the regulations, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, on Wednesday.
The memorandum required that an extensive interagency process take place before the U.S. government embarks on any cyberattacks. Trump reversed the rules to try and ease some of those restrictions, which critics argued were detrimental to launching the attacks quickly, according to the Journal.
One administration official told the newspaper that Trump’s order was an “offensive step forward” meant to allow the U.S. to present a more aggressive response when faced with foreign election interference and other threats, as well as to bolster military moves.
National security adviser John Bolton reportedly sought to reverse the rules when he joined the administration earlier this year, according to the Journal.
The classified policy was made public in 2013, when it was leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Critics argued that the policy was too restrictive and delayed operations by requiring too many agencies to sign off on any potential efforts.
Other current and former officials told the Journal that while the restrictions were imperfect, removing the rules could create further issues, particularly because it’s unclear what the new policies would require of departments and officials ahead of cyberattacks.
U.S. lawmakers and officials have sharpened their focus on protecting the country from foreign cyberattacks after the U.S. intelligence community determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.