Protecting sensitive information at the lab
By Sandy Guendling and Sam Kolontouros (BIS)
To work successfully, employees need to share information through meetings, emails, phone calls and via electronic files. While these activities are routine, all lab staff must recognize the importance of protecting information and know how and when to share it with others.
Employees who work with controlled unclassified information (also called sensitive information), must be aware that there are requirements for protecting it. LMS-PROC-22: Protection of Controlled Unclassified Information details these measures.
There is always the potential to receive unclassified versions of classified documents or declassified documents while working at the lab. When receiving files from others, including files from a USB drive or CD, make sure they are from a trusted source and review the information prior to downloading it to a computer.
An unclassified version of a classified document will contain redactions of the classified portions of the document. The redactions appear as sentences, paragraphs and other types of material such as graphs, charts and tables that have been obscured by black or white rectangles. The classification level markings found on the top and bottom of the page will be stricken by a line drawn through it and appear as TOP SECRET, SECRET or CONFIDENTIAL. Sometimes the header UNCLASSIFIED will be used to indicate the page no longer contains classified information. The bottom of the front page may also have a stamp stating it is unclassified, the name of the government official who created the unclassified version, which government agency created it (e.g. DOD, DOE, CIA, etc.) and on what date. This stamp is not consistent and varies depending on the date of the document and the agency that created it.
Declassified documents no longer require protection through classification. These documents usually contain no redactions but they will have their classification headers stricken by a line drawn through it (TOP SECRET, SECRET or CONFIDENTIAL) and may have UNCLASSIFIED above the stricken header.
Employees who work in an unclassified environment and come across documents with classification markings (TOP SECRET, SECRET, CONFIDENTIAL) should contact the Security Programs Facility (SPF) at ext. 2-4888 or ext. 2-6795, even if the documents are thought to be unclassified or declassified versions.
During the call with the SPF:
- Explain that you have a document to be reviewed (SPF will provide further instructions)
- Do not provide any information about the document
- Do not forward the document via email
- Do not read the document or study it
By following these steps, employees can help ensure that a classified document does not spill onto information systems at the lab and that classified information is properly protected in all situations and at all times.
Protecting information is every employee’s responsibility.
For questions regarding the protection of sensitive information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.