FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT ANNOUNCES INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE
TO REVIEW WAYS TO COMBAT LEAKS OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General John Ashcroft announced an interagency Task Force to review current administrative and legal sanctions governing leaks of classified information. The review – the first in nearly two decades – would not only look at current tools to stop leaks but would make recommendations for modifications to administrative policies and regulations and new statutory fixes, if needed.
"Leaks of classified information do substantial damage to the security interests of the nation. As a government, we must try to find more effectively measures to deal with this damaging practice, including measures to prevent it," said Ashcroft.
As set forth in the FY 2002 Intelligence Authorization Act, the Justice Department will lead the review in direct consultation with the Director of Central Intelligence, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, and other federal government agencies that deal with classified information. The task force will deliver a report to Congress by the deadline established in the legislation of May 1, 2002.
The task force will examine ways in which protection for classified information could be improved throughout the federal government. This would include whether new legislation is needed, whether personnel recommendations and processes need to be modified or tailored to address the specific and particular needs of the intelligence community, and the impact of new technology on the government's ability to control classified information.