THE RIGHT NEWS

THE RIGHT NEWS

18.3 C
New York
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Latest Posts

How Secret Is Top Secret?



In an era of hacks, leaks, whistle-blowers, and media organizations that appear to have become information launderers for Russian intelligence agencies, it is important to understand what a state secret really is. It is equally important to recognize that this definition transcends political affiliation. One’s concern about classified data should remain consistent whether that information is stored on a private server or shared with an adversarial foreign power in the confines of the Oval Office. Secret is an objective term, and U.S. code helpfully defines the various levels of classification as follows:

Confidential: The classification level applied to information the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe. This is the lowest level of classification.

Secret: The classification level applied to information the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to national security that the original classification is able to identify or describe.

Top Secret: The classification level applied to information the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.

Codeword/Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI): An additional layer of classification for matters concerning intelligence-gathering methods, sources, and analysis. Individuals with top-secret clearance are granted SCI access on a need-to-know basis.

So how many people actually have access to these secrets? According to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in October 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available), 2,859,877 people were eligible to receive information classified as confidential or secret. An additional 1,384,060 people had top-secret clearance. While the majority of the 4,243,937 individuals with some degree of access to state secrets were government employees, more than 1.3 million were private contractors or were classified as “other.” Edward Snowden, who revealed in 2013 the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, and Reality Winner, who leaked a classified report about attempted Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, were two such private contractors.



Source link

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

news digest

Get updates on todays breaking news and special announcements.