Obama orders cybersecurity overhaul to combat leaks of government secrets

President Obama issued an executive order Friday to overhaul the governments cybersecurity standards in the wake of the damaging release of thousands of classified documents by WikiLeaks last year.

The new requirements are the culmination of a several-month review of how the government handles sensitive information. 

A new Insider Threat Task Force, led by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence, will focus on identifying people in the U.S. government who might disclose classified information. 

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The order creates a new Classified Information Sharing and Safeguarding Office that will focus on protecting national security data and ensuring government polices are consistent. Agencies will be required to implement an insider-threat-detection program and designate a senior official to oversee classified information sharing.

The actions are in response to the release last year of thousands of classified State Department cables by WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking the documents to the whistleblower website.

The documents provided a candid, and at times embarrassing, look at Americas relations with other countries. Government officials said the leak has damaged Americas diplomatic relations.

The White House said it sought to upgrade security protections but also preserve improved interagency information sharing since Sept. 11.

The government has already implemented a variety of policy changes in response to the leak, the White House said. Agencies have limited the number of people who have access to removable media such as flash drives or CDs. Manning is accused of downloading the State Department cables onto CDs.

Agencies have also implemented new programs to track what information their employees access on computer networks.