At CIA, WikiLeaks task force is – WTF!

A task force has been set up to assess the damage caused by leaked US cables.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 15:46 PM IST

Washington: The task force set up to assess the damage caused by the disclosure of secret US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks has become popular at the CIA headquarters more due to its acronym WTF than its actual reason.

The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of over 250,000 classified documents circulated from US embassies across the world, which has been leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

According to the Washington Post, officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it`s mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: WTF.

Expressions like OMG (Oh My God), LOL (Lots of Luv) and WTF (What the F...) are mostly used in short forms by the young Internet users while microblogging and online chatting.

Referring to one such slang uses by the users of social networking websites like Facebook and Tweeter, the Post said, the irreverence is perhaps understandable for an agency that has been relatively unscathed by WikiLeaks as its revelation has not caused major damage to the CIA.

CIA officials said the agency is conducting an extensive inventory of the classified information, which is routinely distributed on a dozen or more networks that connect agency employees around the world.

The CIA director has asked the task force to examine "whether the latest release of WikiLeaks documents might affect the agency`s foreign relationships or operations", CIA spokesman George Little said.

The panel is being led by the CIA`s counter-intelligence centre but has more than two dozen members from departments across the agency.

The CIA employs software measures to minimise the chance of a WikiLeaks-like leak. Agency systems send warnings to administrators whenever a large amount of data is downloaded. And most of the CIA`s computers are not equipped to allow the use of a removable drive.

Even so, CIA security experts have fretted for years about the implications of moving secret information from pieces of paper to digital files that can be distributed online.

"It`s just a huge vulnerability," a former high-ranking CIA officer was quoted as saying by the daily. "Nobody could carry out enough paper to do what WikiLeaks has done."

IANS