In an exclusive report, Yahoo! News quoted former American officials with direct knowledge of the matter as saying the authorisation, known as a presidential finding, let the CIA off the hook, giving the agcnecy freedom in choosing both the type of operations and who was to be targeted.
Reporters Zach Dorfman, Kim Zetter, Jenna McLaughlin and Sean Naylor wrote that unlike previous president findings that were aimed at a specific foreign policy goal, this directive, pushed by the US National Security Council and designed by the CIA was broad and took in covert action in cyberspace.
The finding gave the spy agency authority to attack Russia, North Korea, Iran and China among others.
“Before, you would need years of signals and dozens of pages of intelligence to show that this thing is a de facto arm of the government,” a former official told Yahoo! News. Now, “as long as you can show that it vaguely looks like the charity is working on behalf of that government, then you’re good.”