The U.S. government’s man in charge of efforts to plug future WikiLeaks-style mega-dumps of government secrets is a veteran intelligence officer who previously spent years trying to figure out how government agencies could more widely share sensitive information.
Earlier this week, Russell Travers moved to the White House, where he will head an interagency committee assigned to assess the damage caused by recent WikiLeaks exposures and come up with ways to prevent future large-scale leaks.
Travers’ previous assignment was as a senior official of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a branch of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which was set up after 9/11 to ensure that government agencies did more to share sensitive intelligence on terror suspects amongst themselves – an assignment which makes him one of the government’s foremost experts on sharing classified information.
While there are still mysteries surrounding WikiLeaks’ activities and its sources, the available evidence suggests that one of the reasons that the whistleblowing website was able to get hold of so many U.S. government secrets was that since 9/11, such secrets had been much more widely shared between government agencies.
One early result of post-9/11 intelligence reforms was the establishment of an interagency unit called the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), whose first chief was veteran CIA officer John Brennan, who now serves as top White House counterterrorism adviser to President Barack Obama. Brennan brought in Travers, a veteran Defense intelligence official, to help him sort out the information sharing problems.