White House issues order to plug future WikiLeaks

Under the executive order, which caps a seven-month government information security review, agencies were directed to designate a senior official to oversee classified information sharing and protection, implement an insider threat detection and prevention program, and perform self-assessments of compliance with information policy and standards.

The White House directive creates a senior information sharing and safeguarding steering committee that will have responsibility for coordinating federal agency information security efforts and tracking agency implementation of policy and standards. In addition, a classified information sharing and safeguarding office will be established within the US government’s Program Office of the Information Sharing Environment to focus on protecting classified national security information.

The order also directs the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency to act jointly as the executive agent for safeguarding classified information on computer networks to develop technical safeguarding policies and standards, and conduct assessments of compliance. Finally, a task force led by the US attorney general and the director of national intelligence is being set up to develop a program to combat insider threats and improve protection and reduce vulnerabilities of classified information.

The executive order also validates measures already taken by agencies, such as the Pentagon’s disabling of the “write” capability on most computers, to prevent downloading of classified data onto removable drives.

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