[Congressional Record: May 6, 2009 (Extensions)]
[Page E1079]



                        HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Wednesday, May 6, 2009

  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize 
the tremendous contributions of Sean P. Dennehy, of Vienna, Va., to our 
nation and specifically to our intelligence community. Mr. Dennehy and 
his colleague Don Burke, of Alexandria, Va., led an innovative effort 
to create a sensitive-information sharing system for the Central 
Intelligence Agency. In recognition of that achievement, they have been 
named finalists for the 2009 Service to America Medal for Homeland 
  As my colleagues know, the Service to America Medals, or Sammies as 
they are more commonly known, are presented annually by the nonprofit, 
nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to celebrate our dedicated 
federal workforce, highlighting their commitment and innovation, as 
well as the impact of their work on addressing the needs of the nation.
  Mr. Dennehy and Mr. Burke developed and implemented a Wikipedia-like 
clearinghouse of sensitive intelligence information known as 
``Intellipedia.'' The intelligence community has traditionally 
discouraged the wide sharing of intelligence for fear of compromising 
classified information, but the downsides of that strategy became 
apparent to us all after learning of how intelligence agencies failed 
to ``connect the dots'' in the months leading up to the September 11 
  The pair spent four years developing the software, cobbling together 
financing and trying to overcome cultural resistance, but their 
persistence and dedication paid off.
  Eric Haseltine, former chief technology officer of the intelligence 
community, said, ``It's hard to overstate what they did. They made a 
major transformation almost overnight with no money after other 
programs failed to achieve these results with millions of dollars in 
  Once they successfully created the web-based platform for sharing 
information, Mr. Dennehy and Mr. Burke then shifted their focus to 
recruiting their colleagues in the intelligence community to actually 
use it. They became ``evangelists,'' educating analysts and spreading 
the word about the potential benefits of Intellipedia and other social 
media tools. The system now boasts more than 900,000 pages and 100,000 
user accounts. In fact, leaders in the intelligence community say we 
are reacting more quickly and more intelligently to potential threats 
than we would be without Intellipedia.
  This initiative has increased the flow of information among the 
nation's 16 intelligence agencies around the world, and it is still 
working to break down institutional stovepipes.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in thanking Mr. Dennehy and Mr. Burke 
for their tremendous contribution to our national security. Their 
commitment to public service and innovation serve as an example to us 
all, and their recognition as finalists for the 2009 Service to America 
Medal for Homeland Security is well deserved.