The new directive is part of a wider push by the US intelligence community to monitor the Internet, says Wired Magazine's blog "Threat Level," which follows security and privacy issues.
"The nation's top spy, Michael McConnell, thinks the threat of cyberarmageddon ... is so great that the U.S. government should have unfettered and warrantless access to U.S. citizens' Google search histories, private e-mails and file transfers, in order to spot the cyberterrorists in our midst.
…[I]n May 2007 McConnell convinced President Bush that a massive cyber-attack on a [single] U.S. bank would be worse for the economy than the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11, [a Jan. 21 article in The New Yorker] reports."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the administration has advanced its efforts to boost its wiretapping abilities.
"[The] White House plan to broaden the National Security Agency's wiretapping powers won a key procedural victory in the Senate on Thursday, as backers defeated a more restrictive plan by Senate Democrats that would have imposed more court oversight on government spying.
The vote moves the Bush administration a step closer toward the twin goals it has pursued for months: strengthening the N.S.A.'s ability to eavesdrop without court approval, while securing legal immunity for the phone companies that have helped the agency in its wiretapping operations."