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WikiLeaks-driven security review under way

WikiLeaks-driven security review under way

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The White House said Wednesday the Obama administration is reviewing security following the release of classified information by the WikiLeaks Web site.

WikiLeaks released more than 250,000 cables that include embarrassing comments about foreign leaders and U.S. operations abroad. The government is investigating the source of the document leak, believed to be an enlisted U.S. service member.

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"The National Security Staff has been coordinating an interagency effort to examine the policies and practices surrounding the handling of classified information, and to put in place safeguards to prevent such a compromise from happening again," a White House statement said.

The statement said among other measures the President's Intelligence Advisory Board "will take an independent look at the means by which the executive branch as a whole shares and protects classified information."

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The board's actions will complement those of the Office of Management and Budget, the statement said, which has ordered "each department or agency that handles classified information (to) establish a security assessment team consisting of counterintelligence, security and information assurance experts to review the agency's implementation of procedures for safeguarding classified information against improper disclosures," including limiting access that is broader "than is necessary to do their jobs effectively."

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The U.S. State Department has also started a review of security procedures, the statement said, and "has assembled a team of senior management professionals in all related areas to conduct a thorough review of current policies and procedures to ensure that they are fully abreast of the challenges faced" -- again to "strike the correct balance between the critical need to protect classified information and the equally compelling requirement to ensure that it is shared with those who need it in their work to advance our national security."

The State Department also will "deploy an automated tool that will continuously monitor the classified network to detect anomalies that would not be readily apparent," the statement said. "This capability will be backed up by a professional staff who will promptly analyze these anomalies to ensure that they do not represent threats to the system."

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Meanwhile, as a result of two reviews commissioned last August, the U.S. Defense Department will employ a number of technical means capable of "disabling and controlling use of removable storage media on (department) classified networks to prevent download from classified networks," and develop "procedures to monitor and detect suspicious, unusual or anomalous user behavior (similar to procedures now being implemented by credit card companies to detect and monitor fraud)," among other measures.

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The Defense Department also will set up "Insider Threat Working Groups" "to address the WikiLeaks incident and prevent re-occurrence," and establish "component-determined restricted access to the WikiLeaks site to prevent further dissemination or downloading of classified information to unclassified (Defense Department) networks."

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