How to balance information sharing, security

Friday - 10/14/2011, 8:30am EDT

Karen Evans, former E-gov administrator, OMB

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

In a post-WikiLeaks world, the White House wants federal agencies to continue to share information — but it also wants to make sure classified information stays classified.

Last week, the administration released an Executive Order aimed at setting up stricter cybersecurity guards by setting up a steering committee to guide agency information sharing and creating an Insider Threat Task Force.

Karen Evans is the former administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget.

She joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris with her take on how the administration plans to balance security with the need to share information.

Evans said she was initially concerned the order would clamp down on agency collaboration.

"A lot of times what happens in the federal government is the pendulum swings the other way," and she feared the order would clamp down on information sharing.

But she said it actually reinforces the value of information sharing.

"It really acknowledges that you have to continue to share information in order to be able to protect things and go forward," Evans added.

The establishment of even more steering committees and special task forces may seem counter-intuitive to solving these issues, Evans acknowledged.

"I know from the outside it looks very bureaucratic and people are thinking, 'Oh my gosh, another committee?'"

But a committee may be just what agencies need, she explained, because it will allow them to resolve issues where there are "gaps in policy."

"Establishing a task force ... is the way that the bureaucracy works in the Executive Branch," Evans said. "But it is also the way to achieve results in the Executive Branch."

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