How would an uncleared employee have access to classified information?
Hopefully never, but mistakes happen when such instances are not identified. Cleared employees could possibly find unattended classified information, unlocked security containers or stumble into classified conversations.
Sometimes classified information is delivered to the wrong recipient, absent minded cleared employees might leave classified information on a printer or in the common areas and cleared employees may have approved classified meetings but forget to verify clearance and need to know. Things happen and damage control as a last resort is all too prevalent in these situations. An FSO with properly trained uncleared employees may have an easier time investigating whether or not classified information is compromised when everyone reacts properly.
This NISPOM training may include:
What national security information is-an uncleared employee should understand that unauthorized distribution of classified information effects national security. A properly trained uncleared employee would therefor alert the FSO or other responsible person if they discover unattended classified information. They will also understand not to read unattended classified documents or identify themselves as uncleared before cleared employees begin classified conversations.
What classified information looks like-coversheets, proper markings and other information identifies that an item is classified. The uncleared employee can be trained to easily recognize classified information and know what to do when they come across it.
What to do if coming across classified information-classification markings help identify classified information, the level of classification and who classified it. The internal controls would identify what the uncleared employee should do if coming across an unidentified document or other classified item.
Using the above training tips can help prepare for the self-inspection process as training and interviewing uncleared employees is part of the self-inspection. DSS has provided sample questions that you can ask when interviewing uncleared employees:
What is classified information?
How would you know if something was classified?
If you found unprotected, classified information, what would you do?
Have you ever heard classified information being discussed?
Have you ever come into possession of classified materials? How?
So, as you build your security program to protect classified information, don’t forget your uncleared employees. They can be the missing link to preventing unauthorized disclosure.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . He regularly consults, presents security training, and recommends export compliance and intellectual property protection countermeasures. He is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training".