Are couriers, hand carriers, and escorts properly briefed?
NISPOM 5-410. Use of Couriers, Hand Carriers, and Escorts. Contractors who designate cleared employees as couriers, hand carriers, and escorts shall ensure:
a. They are briefed on their responsibility to safeguard classified information.
b. They possess an identification card or badge which contains the contractor's name and the name and a photograph of the employee.
Classified information should not be hand carried unless approved by the government. When authorized to do so, cleared defense contractors should designate or appoint a cleared employee and enable them to hand carry the material. However, before transporting the classified information, there are some requirements the courier must meet prior to the event.
Hand carrying classified information may be convenient, but should be well thought out and planned prior to execution and known risks should be considered. Some questions the FSO should ask and answer are:
When does information have to be accessed by the receiver? (Overnight, in a week, the day after tomorrow?)
What mode of transportation will be used? (Private vehicle, commercial bus, plane, train, or other?)
Who will hand carry the information?
How long will the transportation take?
The mode of transportation, length of travel, skill level of cleared employee, and other factors should be included in the risk equation.
Prior to using cleared employees, the FSO should also:
Ensure the cleared employee has the security clearance and need to know and is briefed on how to protect the classified material while it is in their custody.
The briefing can leverage information found in the initial security briefing and annual security refresher briefing. These briefings address fundamental security subjects such as classification levels and reporting requirements and would need to be enhanced with information from the risk assessment. Additional information should include how to wrap and prepare the classified information for transport, numbers to call in case of emergency, where to store classified information if overnight stay is required, how to pass through security at airports, and who to deliver that classified information to.
In short the courier should understand that classified information is in their control at all times and not relinquished until receipts are exchanged at the destination.