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WikiLeaks threatens drive for US security agencies to share

A former head of the CIA warned that government secrets pouring through WikiLeaks could sabotage the post 9-11 campaign to break down walls between rival US intelligence agencies.

world Updated: Jul 29, 2010 17:54 IST

A former head of the CIA warned that government secrets pouring through WikiLeaks could sabotage the post 9-11 campaign to break down walls between rival US intelligence agencies.

"This is destructive on so many levels," retired Air Force general and former CIA chief Michael Hayden said of the WikiLeaks saga, after an onstage chat yesterday at a Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

"It reinforces the darker angels. Leaders in the intelligence community have to come to grips with this problem and work hard to find an answer."

Black Hat and an overlapping DefCon gathering of hackers have become venues for national security officials to court software wizards as allies to fight cyber wars, online crime syndicates and other mounting Internet threats.

By turning the Internet into a worldwide stage for sensitive government information, WikiLeaks is sowing distrust between the very intelligence agencies castigated for being too secretive prior to the World Trade Centre attack on September 11, 2001.

"In the years after 9/11, whenever anything went wrong I got slammed by both parties about failure to share," Hayden said.

"We told senators 'Yes, we'll share.' But, in the back of your mind your conscience was saying there are real dangers in sharing. And that just got displayed."

A massive release of secret Pentagon documents by WikiLeaks highlights security challenges of the digital age, when gigabytes of sensitive data can be exposed with a single click, according to analysts.