Classified information is
|“||any information or material that has been determined by the United States Government pursuant to an Executive order, statute, or regulation, to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security.||”|
|“||information that has been determined pursuant to Executive Order 12958 or any predecessor Order, or by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, to require protection against unauthorized disclosure and is marked to indicate its classified status when in documentary form.||”|
|“||information or material designated and clearly marked or clearly represented, pursuant to the provisions of a statute or Executive order (or a regulation or order issued pursuant to a statute or Executive order), as requiring a specific degree of protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security.||”|
|“||[o]fficial information that has been determined to require, in the interests of national security, protection against unauthorized disclosure and which has been so designated.||”|
Specific characteristics distinguish classified information from other sensitive information. These include:
- Information can only be designated as classified by a duly empowered authority;
- Information classified by one classification authority must be handled by others in accordance with the guidelines issued by the classifying authority;
- Information must be owned by, produced by or for, or under the control of the Federal Government;
- Unauthorized disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to result in damage to U.S. national security; and
- The information falls into one or more of the categories of information listed below:
- – Military plans, weapons systems, or operations;
- – Foreign government information;
- – Intelligence activities (including special activities), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;
- – Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources;
- – Scientific, technological, or economic matters related to national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism;
- – Federal Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
- – Vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructure, projects, plans, or protection services related to national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism; or
- – Weapons of mass destruction.
Many forms of information related to critical infrastructure and key resources CIKR protection have these characteristics. This information may be determined to be classified information and must be protected accordingly.
- 18 U.S.C. App. III, §1(a).
- NIST Special Publication 800-60 (Vol. I, Rev. 1), at A-2. See also Executive Order 13526, at §6.1(i).
- 50 U.S.C. §426(1).
- Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, at 34.