Cyber leader and Army veteran talks about the dangers of leaks

Tom Clark, CSRA Alliance For Fort Gordon Executive Director

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – While the investigation into what an Augusta-based contractor may or may not have done is just beginning, one thing is certain–this story is getting international attention. I sat down with the man in charge of putting Augusta at the forefront of the global cyber industry. He talked to me about cyber, secrets, and what service to this country means to him.

Before he took the top job at the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, Tom Clark fought for this country.

“I had the pleasure to serve on behalf of a grateful nation for 32 years, in both peace and war,” Clark says. “Multiple combat deployments.”

After that, he went to work in the private sector where security remained a top priority.

“You’re read in missions and you’re read out missions. During those mission briefs, you’re told exactly what you can and cannot say. It is detailed and there is no misunderstanding. In fact at General Dynamics if employees breached that, they lost their jobs that day.”

This recent news of a possible top secret leak does not sit well with Clark.  And right now, it’s not the leak that’s getting his attention.  It’s the need to focus on those who are keeping us safe.

“If this is an actual breach, it does not reflect the commitment and honor of the service members and civilians that serve on Fort Gordon. I am so honored and privileged to be associated with them. And those 99.9 percent of folks that are protecting our freedom-that’s who we should be talking about. Sometimes incidents like this bring light to those folks that don’t deserve the attention.”

And when it comes to things that are classified, no information is insignificant. Clark says it’s all part of a big puzzle, and the bad guys don’t need to have a single piece of it.

You think that your small piece of information doesn’t make a difference when you divulge it. The enemy doesn’t think that way. Nor do we think that way. We want every piece of the puzzle we can to defend freedom and the American way of life.”

Yes, for Tom Clark, this is more than just a story about information ending up in the wrong hands. It’s more than a headline in news cycle. It’s personal because he says it could threaten the things he has dedicated his life to defend.

“My background, deploying to combat, and many military folks, had folks divulge the wrong information, we lost soliders,” he says. “So it’s on our mind. It’s in our hearts. We have scar tissue on our hearts from where we got it wrong at times.”

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