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With Better Sharing of Data Comes Danger


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Julian Assange

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

The release of a huge tranche of U.S. diplomatic cables has laid bare the primary risk associated with the U.S. government's attempt to encourage better information-sharing: Someone is bound to leak.

The U.S. intelligence community came under heavy criticism after Sept. 11, 2001, for having failed to share data that could have prevented the attacks that day. In response, officials from across the government sought to make it easier for various agencies to share sensitive information—effectively giving more analysts wider access to government secrets.

But on Sunday, the Web site WikiLeaks, which had previously released sensitive U.S. documents about the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, once again proved that there's a downside to better information-sharing.

"One of the consequences [of 9/11] is you gave a lot of people access to the dots," said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former CIA general counsel. "At least one of the dots, apparently, was a bad apple."

From The Washington Post
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