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NCTC official to lead White House response to WikiLeaks breach

Dec. 1, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks unleashed a flood of U.S. cables detailing diplomatic episodes, from a nuclear standoff with Pakistan to Arab leaders urging a strike on Iran.
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks unleashed a flood of U.S. cables detailing diplomatic episodes, from a nuclear standoff with Pakistan to Arab leaders urging a strike on Iran. (Nicholas Kamm /AFP via Getty Images)

Amid the continuing uproar over the latest batch of WikiLeaks disclosures, the Obama administration named a point man Wednesday for overseeing a "comprehensive" response.

Russell Travers will be the National Security Council staff's senior adviser for information access and security policy. He will "lead a comprehensive effort to identify and develop the structural reforms needed in light of the WikiLeaks breach," according to a White House news release. In that role he will suggest "corrective actions" as well as work with agencies on options for technological and policy changes to limit the potential for another breach, the release says.

Travers has previously served as deputy director for information sharing and knowledge development at the National Counterterrorism Center; the release did not say whether he will also continue in that job.

In addition, the President's Intelligence Advisory Board will look at how the executive branch as a whole shares and safeguards classified information, the release says. Among other areas, the board will examine the balance between the need to share information and protect information, along with the government's current posture toward leaks of classified information.

The steps announced Wednesday come three days after the Office of Management and Budget ordered agencies to review procedures for protecting classified information. The Sunday directive came the same day that WikiLeaks began releasing some 251,300 State Department cables. Of those, more than half are unclassified, according to Wikileaks, while the rest are stamped confidential or secret.

Some members of Congress have said the case warrants criminal prosecution; in a Wednesday article in the newspaper Politico, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called for the execution of whomever gave WikiLeaks the State Department records.

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