Via WaPo’s Federal Eye | Memo from OMB
MODEL AGENCY NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS CONCERNING SAFEGUARDING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND USE OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
The recent disclosure of U.S. Government documents by WikiLeaks has resulted in damage to our national security. Each federal employee and contractor is obligated to protect classified information pursuant to all applicable laws, and to use government information technology systems in accordance with agency procedures so that the integrity of such systems is not compromised.
Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents (whether in print, on a blog, or on websites) do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents. To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority.
Federal employees and contractors therefore are reminded of the following obligations with respect to the treatment of classified information and the use of non-classified government information technology systems:
- Except as authorized by their agencies and pursuant to agency procedures, federal employees or contractors shall not, while using computers or other devices (such as Blackberries or Smart Phones) that access the web on non-classified government systems, access documents that are marked classified (including classified documents publicly available on the WikiLeaks and other websites), as doing so risks that material still classified will be placed onto non-classified systems. This requirement applies to access that occurs either through agency or contractor computers, or through employees’ or contractors’ personally owned computers that access non-classified government systems. This requirement does not restrict employee or contractor access to non-classified, publicly available news reports (and other non-classified material) that may in turn discuss classified material, as distinguished from access to underlying documents that themselves are marked classified (including if the underlying classified documents are available on public websites or otherwise in the public domain).
- Federal employees or contractors shall not access classified material unless a favorable determination of the person’s eligibility for access has been made by an agency head or the agency head’s designee, the person has signed and approved non-disclosure agreement, the person has a need to know the information, and the person has received contemporaneous training on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions that may be imposed on an individual who fails to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure.
- Classified information shall not be removed from official premises or disclosed without proper authorization.
- Federal employees and contractors who believe they may have inadvertently accessed or downloaded classified or sensitive information on computers that access the web via non-classified government systems, or without prior authorization, should contact their information security offices for assistance.
Thank you for your cooperation, and for your vigilance to these responsibilities.
“Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government,” said an e-mail the office said it sent to students on the advice of an alumnus who works for the State Department.
Ed O’Keefe also has an update from the State Department’s spokesman: “But the employee’s warning, “does not represent a formal policy position,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Saturday.
“This sounds like an overly-zealous employee,” Crowley said in an e-mail. “Our focus is advising current employees not to download classified documents to an unclassified network. While we condemn what WikiLeaks has done, we cannot control what is done through private Internet accounts.”
Whew! That’s good to know,hmmnn?
Anyway, just think about your IT staff who must fumigate your unclassified computer system if you make the mistake of reading these cables at work.
And just to be sure, if you do read these cables elsewhere, wash your eyes or you go blind. Apparently, there’s a “voluptuous blond” in there.