Task force will work to plug leaks with technology

Task force will work to plug leaks with technology

Attorney General John Ashcroft last week set up an interagency task force to find administrative, legislative and advanced technological means of preventing leaks of classified information.

The Justice Department will lead the effort along with the CIA; the State, Energy and Defense departments; and other federal agencies that handle classified materials.

'Leaks do substantial damage to the security interests of the nation,' Ashcroft said in a statement. 'As a government, we must try to find more effective measures to deal with this damaging practice, including measures to prevent it.'

The leak probe, mandated by the fiscal 2002 Intelligence Authorization Act, calls for a report to Congress by May 1 recommending administrative changes, new legislation if necessary, and civil and criminal punishments for leaks.

The act also directs the attorney general to report to Congress on whether 'recent developments in technology, and anticipated developments, necessitate particular modifications of current protections against the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.'

The recent history of classified leaks generally indicates congressional and White House sources.

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