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Info Sharing Progress?

U.S. intelligence tsar John Negroponte “is winning his battles” to boost information-sharing, a senior U.S. official said.

Dale Meyerrose, the official in charge of information technology for the sprawling collection of U.S. agencies managed by Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, is defending the Bush administration’s efforts to improve the sharing of vital counter-terrorism information.

Meyerrose told UPI that the new director’s office was “winning battles” over information sharing every day, but he acknowledged that the larger “war” — to create the policy, institutional and cultural changes needed — continues.

Starts to get interesting here:

He said portals [for bird flu issues] were modeled on the blog-type pages used by researchers or programmers collaborating online — with everyone reading each other’s information and analysis, and able to comment on it.

“The analysts came to us and said ‘We have a problem…’ 95 percent of what they thought they were sharing was not getting out there,” Meyerrose said.

It turned out the reason was the inclusion of what he called “ORCON-type elements” in the headers and footers of some documents. ORCON means “originator controlled” — a designation which prevents anyone distributing or passing along a document without the permission of the agency that produced it.

ORCON: The real bane of information sharing . . .

“Within 24 hours, this office issued written instructions to all the agencies involved that they must change their procedures and we provided technical specifications for that to happen,” said Meyerrose.

Final judgment to be withheld for now, but on balance it seems like the guy is doing the right things and addressing the right issues. The faster we overcome this hurdle the better, because so much rides on our ability to work off of a common picture.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.