Intelligence office will enforce 'write to release' policy

A new organization will rule on agency disagreements over sharing classified information, such as homeland security intelligence, under a plan drawn up by intelligence agencies.

William Dawson, deputy CIO of the intelligence community, said the director of the CIA issued a new information sharing policy on June 4 for all homeland security agencies.

'Information we collect and don't share is useless,' Dawson said. The new mandate calls for a 'write to release' policy aimed at broad information sharing, he said.

The yet-unnamed body will arbitrate information sharing disputes among agencies. 'If the [National Security Council] wants information from the FBI, and the FBI says no, there is going to be an organization' to rule on the dispute, he said

Also in the CIA directive are information sharing guidelines.

Three levels

Dawson said the intelligence community has had an information architecture for four years and has made it available via the Web. The architecture calls for systems interoperability at three security levels'top-secret, secret, and sensitive but unclassified.

Although most speakers at last week's Information Sharing for Homeland Security symposium in Orlando, Fla., asked for more information sharing, Dawson said that is only half the battle. Many agencies do share data with others, but sheer volume makes useful sifting too difficult.

'The real challenge is to share the right stuff,' he said.

The intelligence community plans to enforce the policy by taking program funding away from officials who do not comply with the 'write to release' mandate, Dawson said.

One application of the new mandate will be so-called tear-lines with metadata tags to automatically delete highly classified intelligence from documents so they can be viewed by users with a lower security clearance.

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