It is too early to implement solutions, Carafano argues, because the government first has to complete its investigation into exactly how the documents were stolen.
It may be that nothing can really prevent this type of leak, however. “A complicit insider is probably the most troublesome of all situations,” says Meyerrose. “It’s akin to a pilot deciding he’s going to fly a plane into the ground. There’s little or nothing you can do to prevent it.”
Even so, the risk can be mitigated, and that’s likely to mean less sharing, observers acknowledge. Adequate data security going forward will require stepping back from total openness, according to Clapper. As he told the Bipartisan Policy Center conference, the solution probably lies with some compartmentalization, but of the sort that stops well short of the type of stovepiping the 9/11 Commission hoped to eliminate.
“There’s always this delicate balance between compartmentalization, sharing, collaboration, all this sort of thing. I’ll tell you: In this day and age of this hemorrhage of leaks in [Washington], I think compartmentalization—appropriate, reasonable compartmentalization—is the right thing to do,” Clapper said.
Meyerrose agrees, adding that Clapper “understands that balance and is striving to achieve it.”
Watch Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center at "Beyond Print