Sunday, February 7, 2021

Receiving Classified Information into Accountability

I catch myself watching fun Youtube videos. Some of my favorites are watching consumers open my favorite products and orienting me on how to use them. The unpacking causes excitement and the by item unpacking and layout of what to expect helps me understand my product better. 

In the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), we have a similar package "reveal". Security specialists, document control professionals, facility security officers and others in possessing facilities may receive classified information, depending on the contract. Part of the receipt is the critical inspection of the package during the integration process. 

As they unwrap the package, the inspector is orienting themselves to better understand what they should be receiving. This begins by inspecting the package physically, then comparing the contents with the receipt. They are also searching for evidence of tampering or to otherwise to inspect that there has been no compromise of classified material since leaving the sender’s organization. 

Classified material is protected by a two layer wrapping job. Each layer consists of material that is impossible to see through such as: an envelope, paper, box or other strong wrapping material. To prevent opening, the seams of the layers are covered with anti-tampering rip proof tape to create a solid layer of covering. The initial inspection is more cosmetic as the inspector looks for evidence of tearing, ripping, re-wrapping or some other means of unauthorized access to the material.

Next, review the address labels for approved classified mailing address, return address and which does not identify any recipient by name. The label is addressed to the “Commander” if a Government entity or the name and approved classified mailing address of the contractor facility. Additionally, check to see that there are no classification markings on the outer layer. The outer layer should is designed not to draw attention that it contains classified contents. Classification markings and named individuals on the outer layer are security violations because they direct unwanted attention.

The inside wrapping contains the full address of the recipient as well as classification markings on the top, bottom, front and back. Classified information should have receipts included. Receipts are not necessary with the shipment of CONFIDENTIAL material. Sign all receipts and return them to the sender.

The receiver then checks the receipt against the titles to ensure the item has been identified correctly. The receipt lists all the pertinent information to identify the contents. The properly filled out receipt identifies the sender, the addressee and correctly identifies the contents by the correct and preferably unclassified title and appropriate quantity. The title should be unclassified. If not, then the receipt is to be protected at the classification level identified in the title. When practical, contact the sender to see if it can be issued an unclassified title or prepare to store the receipt long term in a GSA approved container.

The receiver then compares the classification identified in the receipt with that annotated on the inner wrapper. These will ensure the package is handled correctly once the outer wrapping has been opened or removed. The receiver of the classified item compares the classification marking on the contents with the wrapper and the receipt to once again verify the accuracy of the classified information and prevent unauthorized disclosure. 

Once all the checks and verifications are complete, the receiver can then sign a copy of the receipt and return to the sender, thus closing the loop on the sender’s accounting responsibilities. The copies of receipts are filed away and the classified information is put into a database and the items are stored according to the classification.

See below for an inspection checklist.

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 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 "How to Get U.S. Government Contracts and Classified Work", "ISP(R) and ISOC Master Exam Prep", and NISPOM/FSO Training".

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