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Classified Information 

Excerpts of this page are from the National Archives

What is Classified Information?

Classified national security information is information created or received by an agency of the federal government or a government contractor that would damage national security if improperly released. The President of the U.S. manages the system of classifying information by executive order (E.O.); the most recent order concerning classified national security information is E.O. 13526, signed by President Obama on December 29, 2009.

How is Information Determined to be Classified?

Information can only be classified if an official determination is made that its unauthorized release would damage the national security. Levels of classification correspond to levels of supposed damage. E.O. 13526 specifies that information whose release would cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security” is classified TOP SECRET; information whose release would cause “serious damage” is classified SECRET; CONFIDENTIAL is the lowest category of classified information currently in use. RESTRICTED is an obsolete category that was discontinued in 1953.

Is All Classified Information in Writing?

Classified information may take any form. Though paper documents are most common, there are classified photographs, maps, motion pictures, videotapes, databases, microfilms, hard drives, CDs, etc. Regardless of medium, classified information requires protection until it is formally declassified.

How could a researcher receive Classified Information?

A researcher may receive Classified Information from the federal government or a federal government prime contractor when conducting CONTRACT work for the federal government or when conducting work at a government or federal government prime contractor facility. Clearance (from the federal government) is required to receive classified information E.O. 13526: Part 4 -Safeguarding .

Technology Control Plan Required - Bringing Classified Information to Campus

Classified Information requires a technology control plan through the Office of Research Compliance to ensure compliance with federal regulations.