AP Intelligence Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – The top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday it will take roughly five years to put in place new measures to stop another WikiLeaks-style exposure of classified information.
Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper said officials are working to “tag” information to be able to track back to which intelligence staffers shared it _ something prosecutors could have used to help prove allegations that Bradley Manning copied thousands of war-related records that were leaked to the website Wikileaks.
Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday, Clapper said the changes will also include finding ways to separate the data, such as word that a terrorist wants to hijack a flight, from how that information was collected, such as by a satellite intercept, so data can be shared among agencies without exposing their sources. Pentagon prosecutors say the material allegedly shared by Manning with WikiLeaks explosed locals on the ground in the war zones, who were cooperating with U.S. troops, leaving them in danger of retaliation.
Clapper conceded that had damaged the trust needed to encourage sharing within different branches of the intelligence community. Stamping data with a sort of electric signature or watermark will show intelligence staff where something came from, and who it’s allowed to go to, which should help rebuild that trust, he said.
“If you are able to tag and label data, so you can break sources and methods from substance of information…and do it on an automated basis, which we can’t do very well right now, you can promote information sharing and security,” Clapper said.
Some critics of intelligence reform say the changes are taking too long, but Clapper said the measures are part of a painstaking, major overhaul that will also streamline computer technology across the intelligence agencies, meant to eliminate redundancies and help trim costs from the intelligence budget.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)