Intel chief: 5 years to implement leak guards

National Intelligence Director James Clapper addresses a conference of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) January 26, 2012, in Washington, DC.
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WASHINGTON - The top U.S. intelligence official says it will take roughly five years to put in place new measures to stop another Wikileaks-style exposure of classified information.

Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper says officials are working to "tag" information to be able to track back to which intelligence staffers shared it — something prosecutors could have used to help prove allegations that Bradley Manning copied thousands of war-related records that were leaked to the website Wikileaks.

Speaking to a think tank Thursday, Clapper says the changes will also include finding ways to separate the data, such as word that a terrorist wants to hijack a flight, from how that information was collected, such as by a satellite intercept, so data can be shared among agencies without exposing their sources.

Bradley Manning is the low-ranking intelligence analyst who precipitated concerns over the security of the nation's intelligence apparatus. He is on the verge of a court-martial, charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

Manning could be imprisoned for life if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death, but prosecutors have recommended against seeking the death penalty.

While working in Iraq in Army intelligence, Manning allegedly gave more than 700,000 secret U.S. documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks for publication. Prosecutors say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange collaborated with Manning.

Defense lawyers say Manning was clearly a troubled young soldier whom the Army should never have deployed to Iraq or given access to classified material while he was stationed there from late 2009 to mid-2010.