Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Managing Classified Conversation

In the course of performing on defense contracts, exchange of classified information is inevitable. The movement of classified information outside of a secure environment is to be kept to a minimum and as a last resort. Prior to removing classified information, the holder should determine whether or not the classified information is necessary and whether or not the information may already be available. When classified information is necessary in the performance of the contract, the information should be sent via approved channels.
Once the classified information is on-site, it's time to get to work. When we talk about work, we are referring to conferences, classes, engineering, services or any other environment where classified information is used. Classified information is controlled at all times to include conversations. As the senior industrial security manager in Defense contracting companies, the FSO leads the security program designed to protect classified information and prevent unauthorized disclosure. While working in the secure environment, contractors protect classified information under their control and cleared employees protect classified information entrusted to them. Without this protection, national security could face varying degrees of damage depending on what information is disclosed and how it was used. Not only is information, objects, documents, etc to be protected, but classified conversations as well. These conversations are only to be conducted in authorized areas and will be covered later in this chapter.
Classified verbal communications should only occur in controlled environments. For example, classified conversations are authorized in controlled areas where access and need to know have been verified. These classified communications should never take place in hallways, around the water cooler, in public places or car pools where eavesdropping cannot be prevented or access and need to know cannot be verified. Just as the holder of classified documents verifies a receiver’s need to know and security clearances before handing them over, the same is true for releasing classified information in verbal form.
Prior to the start of a classified meeting either the government sponsor or the contractor representative should provide a security briefing notifying attendees of the classification of information to be discussed, whether or not taking notes is permitted and if so, how they will be controlled. For example, when classified notes are permitted, they will have to be properly marked, introduced into accountability and prepared for dissemination (hand carry with the attendee or mailed at a later date). The presentation is controlled to prevent the inadvertent and unauthorized release. Each attendee should also be reminded to remove any cell phones or other electronic devices.
When working on classified material in approved locations, keep in mind that uncleared persons in the area may be within voice range. Some companies and security managers may allow cleared employees to take classified work back to their cubicles and desks. They are able to protect the information from prying eyes, but eaves dropping cannot be prevented outside of a closed area. Additionally, even though everyone may be cleared, they could be on the phone with uncleared people and any conversations can be picked up.

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