What Guidance Is Available For Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information?

What guidance is available for marking sensitive compartmented information (SCI)?

Sensitive compartmented information is a subset of classified national intelligence that represents information about intelligence sources and methods.

SCI is protected by the Federal government and only processed, stored or discussed in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). SCIFs are accredited by the Special Security Officer and must meet specific construction and security requirements.

Guidance for Marking SCI Documents

What Guidance Is Available For Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information?

All SCI documents, including those that contain derivatively classified material, should be marked with the appropriate markings and be placed in a secure location where no unintended disclosure of the information can occur. This is especially true for notes, rough drafts and informal working papers that may go through several revisions before becoming complete documents.

The overall classification of a document should be clearly visible on every internal page, and the highest level of protection should be marked with the designation “C” or “U” in parentheses. The “U” is an indicator that the document contains unclassified material, while the “C” represents a high level of confidential information or Secret information.

Each page should contain an Authority Block that identifies the source of the classification, as well as any additional explanations about declassification dates and reasons for classification. The Authority Block is normally found in the bottom left corner of a document, but can also be inserted elsewhere in the layout, as needed.

When a document is derived from another document, that original document must be marked with the “Classified by” line. The identification of the original document should be maintained in the file or record copy of the derivative document, as well. This is done to prevent ambiguity with regard to the source of the original document’s classification, which can result in a mistaken declassification or even a declassification of information that has already been declassified.

Likewise, the “Declassify on” line should be marked on all derivative documents, to ensure that the information is not disclosed to others until the time that the underlying classified source is declassified, as long as it is less than 10 years from the date of the decision to classify.

In addition, the “Reason for Classification” and “Automatic Declassification Instructions” lines should be marked on all derivative documents, as well. These lines can be a separate document, but should be included in the file or record copy of the derived document as well.

All personnel, including contractors, consultants and detailees, who have access to SCI must be screened and vetted according to the uniform Personnel Security Standards and procedures as set forth by DNI, this FAM and DS/IS/SSO, as well as reciprocity across IC agencies. All personnel who access SCI must be approved by a cognizant HOICE, Executive Agent or National Authority before obtaining access to the material.

Guidance for Marking SCI Fax Machines

What Guidance Is Available For Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information?

Sensitive compartmentalized information (SCI) is the term used to describe classified (highly sensitive) intelligence information categorized into distinct compartments for enhanced protection when disseminated or distributed. Each compartment is marked and a unique control system used to protect that information.

For example, a document may be classified at the top secret level and protected by a HUMINT control system, Special Intelligence compartment, or Talent Keyhole compartment. The appropriate marking should be a color-coded bar in the upper right-hand corner of the cover page, a red or black broken border, or a combination of the two.

In addition, the proper control system is not always apparent, so be sure to consult a guidance document issued by the GCA or the program office responsible for the compartment. In particular, an HUMINT control system can be difficult to spot in a document, but it’s there.

A fax machine can be a useful tool for transmitting SCI, but it’s important to be sure it is properly secured before sending any information over the telephony line. For example, a fax machine should be located in a room where the classified information is not being processed or discussed.

The fax machine should be connected to an approved encryption/decryption device. This will ensure that the information being transmitted is not read by anyone else and that it is only decrypted as required.

A fax machine should also be pre-programmed to prevent the number from being misdialed. It’s not uncommon for someone to accidentally dial the wrong number while trying to fax information, so be sure to pre-program your fax machine to make sure you don’t end up sending sensitive information to a random person.

Guidance for Marking SCI Removable Media

What Guidance Is Available For Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information

When a document is classified for SCI, it must be marked appropriately. The classification authority and control system(s) must be clearly marked on the document itself in an easy-to-read format.

A document’s original classification authority should be placed on the “Classified by” line, with a forward slash to separate it from the control markings. If the original classification authority is not clear, you should place it below the “Classified by” line.

Classification and control markings are necessary for protecting classified information regardless of the medium or whether the document is printed, digitally recorded, or handwritten. For example, a document classified for SCI must be marked by the classification level and an applicable SCI control system, such as HUMINT Control System (HCS), Special Intelligence (SI), or TALENT KEYHOLE (TK).

It should be clear whether the document is SCI, UNCLASSIFIED, or no longer controlled by an SCI control system. If the document is unclassified, it should be labeled as such and not marked as SCI.

SCI documents, both paper and electronic, must be marked in accordance with DS/IS/SSO’s security guidance and instructions. Those markings are available through the Controlled Access Program Coordination Office’s (CAPCO) Authorized Classification and Control Markings Register and on SSO’s Web page.

Regardless of the document’s media, it must be marked in such a manner that it can be easily identified as SCI by a trained person who understands the markings. This includes marking the top and bottom of individual header sheets that precede the transmission of SCI material by secure facsimile, and if possible, marking graphic arts materials such as visual aids, maps, artwork, blueprints, and videos in such a manner that they can be reproduced on all copies.

In addition, if the material is transferred to other locations, the document must be marked with an appropriate designation as well. The markings can be either digital or physical and must be legible and readable by a trained person with an authorized security clearance.

The Department of Defense has a comprehensive program for SCI to separate classified information into distinct compartments. The purpose is to increase protection and prevent the dissemination of SCI that could compromise national security. This includes implementing classification and control measures, preventing the transfer of SCI, and ensuring that SCI is stored in secure, supervised areas as needed.

Guidance for Marking SCI Papers

What Guidance Is Available For Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Papers?

Depending on the nature of the document and its intended use, there is an extensive list of marking requirements and standards. As a general guideline, the most obvious mark is to include color-coded cover sheets on SCI docs to clearly identify compartments. Other mark-able items may include an authority block to clearly define the classification level and a label or designation on the front page that is more than just a simple line of text.

Overall Markings – This is a complex subject and can be difficult to quantify, so the following guidance should be applied: Each page of an SCI doc will need to carry the top notch of markings that are appropriate for the document type and format. The best place to start is by incorporating the highest security level markings into the design as early in the process as possible to reduce cost and time to complete.

Using a high-end laser printer can significantly improve the quality of the overall markings, and the results should be evident in the final product. The best part about this is that it’s a one-time expense that will pay off in the long run. As with all other aspects of the SCI doc lifecycle, proper planning and execution are essential to ensure compliance with the highest standard of quality and fidelity.

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