What Guidance is Available for Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information

Data relative to U.South. National Security

Example of intelligence on covert meetings held past the French President François Hollande. The intelligence was collected by the National Security Agency and classified as TOP SECRET//COMINT-GAMMA//ORCON/NOFORN, and released in grade of a Global SIGINT Highlight on 22 May 2012.

Sensitive compartmented information
(SCI) is a type of United States classified data apropos or derived from sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes. All SCI must be handled within formal access command systems established by the Director of National Intelligence.[1]

SCI is not a classification. SCI clearance has sometimes been called “above Meridian Undercover,”[2]
but information at any classification level may exist within an SCI control system. When “decompartmentalized”, this information is treated the same as collateral information at the same classification level.

SCI must exist merely processed, stored, used or discussed in a sensitive compartmented information facility.



Eligibility for access to SCI is determined by a Unmarried Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) or periodic reinvestigation.[3]
Considering the same investigation is used to grant Top Hole-and-corner security clearances, the 2 are frequently written together as
TS//SCI. Eligibility lonely does not confer access to any specific SCI textile; it is merely a qualification. 1 must receive explicit permission to access an SCI command system or compartment. This process may include a polygraph or other canonical investigative or adjudicative action.[four]

Once it is determined a person should take access to an SCI compartment, they sign a nondisclosure understanding, are “read in” or indoctrinated, and the fact of this access is recorded in a local access annals or in a figurer database. Upon termination from a particular compartment, the employee again signs the nondisclosure agreement.

Command systems


An SCI encompass sheet from 1967.

SCI is divided into control systems, which are further subdivided into compartments and sub-compartments. These systems and compartments are usually identified by a classified codeword. Several such codewords have been declassified. The following SCI control systems, with their abbreviations and compartments, are known:

Special Intelligence (SI)
Special Intelligence (so in the CAPCO manual, but ever SI in certificate markings) is the control organization covering communications intelligence. Special Intelligence is a term for communications intercepts.[v]
The previous title for this control system was COMINT, but this was deprecated in 2011.[6]
SI has several compartments, of which the post-obit are known or declassified:

  • Very Restricted Cognition (VRK)
  • Exceptionally Controlled Information (ECI), which was used to grouping compartments for highly sensitive information, simply was deprecated as of 2011.[7]
  • GAMMA (SI-Thousand, SI-G-AAAA, AAAA represents 4 alpha characters to betoken sub Gamma compartments), which has subcompartments identified by four alphanumeric characters.[eight]
Several at present-retired codewords protected SI compartments based on their sensitivity, generally referred to as Pinnacle Hush-hush Codeword (TSC) and Secret Codeword (SC).[9]
These codewords were:

  • UMBRA for the most sensitive material
  • SPOKE for less sensitive textile
  • MORAY for the least sensitive SI that required codeword protection.[10]
These 3 codewords, the usage of which was terminated in 1999,[11]
were fastened directly to the classification without reference to COMINT or SI, e.k. Top Hugger-mugger UMBRA.
This codeword was revealed on June 27, 2013, when
The Guardian
published a draft study from the NSA Inspector Full general well-nigh the electronic surveillance program STELLARWIND. This programme was started by President George W. Bush shortly later on the 9/11 attacks. For data about this program, a new security compartment was created which was given STELLARWIND as its permanent cover term on Oct 31, 2001.[12]
This U.S. Navy’s control arrangement was revealed in the 2013 Classification Manual. ENDSEAL information must always exist classified as Special Intelligence (SI), so probably information technology is related to SIGINT or ELINT.[xiii]
Information technology has 2 subcompartments: ECRU (EL-EU) and NONBOOK (EL-NK).
TK covers space-based IMINT (Imagery intelligence), SIGINT (Signals intelligence), and MASINT (Measurement and signature intelligence) collection platforms; related processing and analysis techniques; and research, design, and operation of these platforms (but see Reserve beneath).[14]
The original TALENT compartment was created in the mid-1950s for the U-two. In 1960, information technology was broadened to cover all national aerial reconnaissance (to afterwards include SR-71 sourced imagery) and the KEYHOLE compartment was created for satellite intelligence.[fifteen]
TALENT KEYHOLE is now a meridian-level command system; KEYHOLE is no longer a singled-out compartment. Known compartments include RUFF (IMINT satellites), ZARF (ELINT satellites), and CHESS (U-2).[16]
The KEYHOLE series KH-1 through KH-4b were office of the new TALENT-KEYHOLE designation.[17]
HUMINT Control System (HCS)
HCS is the HUMINT (Human-source Intelligence) Control System. This system was merely designated “HUMINT” until defoliation arose between collateral (regular) HUMINT and the control organisation. The current nomenclature was chosen to eliminate the ambiguity.[18]
There are 2 compartments HCS-O (Operation) and HCS-P (Production). HCS-O-P marking was as well used in “Review of the Unauthorized Disclosures of Onetime National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden”.
KLONDIKE protects sensitive geospatial intelligence.[19]
It has three primary subcompartments: KDK BLUEFISH (KDK-BLFH, KDK-BLFH-xxxxxx, xxxxxx represents upward to 6 alphanumeric characters indicating a sub BLUEFISH compartment), KDK IDITAROD (KDK-IDIT, KDK-IDIT-xxxxxx, xxxxxx represents up to 6 alphanumeric characters indicating a sub IDITAROD compartment) and KDK KANDIK (KDK-KAND, KDK-KAND-xxxxxx, xxxxxx represents upwardly to six alphanumeric characters indicating a sub KANDIK compartment).
RESERVE is the control system for National Reconnaissance Office compartments protecting new sources and methods during the enquiry, development, and conquering process.[twenty]
RSV-XXX, Thirty represents 3 alphanumeric characters to betoken sub Reserve compartments.
BYEMAN is a retired command organisation covering certain overhead collection systems, including CORONA and OXCART.[21]
Well-nigh Good day content was transferred to TK. Farewell Special Handling content was transferred to Reserve.
Popular:   Bones Do Not Have a Role in __________



SCI command arrangement markings are placed immediately later on the classification level markings in a banner line or portion marker.[22]
Sometimes, especially on older documents, they are stamped. The following banner line and portion marking depict a top hugger-mugger certificate containing data from the notional SI-GAMMA 1234 subcompartment, the notional SI-MANSION compartment, and the notional TALENT KEYHOLE-LANTERN compartment:


(TS // SI-G 1234-Yard / TK-50 // NF)

Older documents were marked with HANDLE VIA xxxx CONTROL CHANNELS (or “HVxCC”), HANDLE VIA xxxx CHANNELS ONLY (or “HVxCO”), or HANDLE VIA xxxx CHANNELS JOINTLY (or “HVxCJ”), but this requirement was rescinded in 2006.[23]
For case, COMINT documents were marked as HANDLE VIA COMINT CHANNELS ONLY. This marking led to the utilise of the caveat CCO (COMINT Channels Only) in portion markings,[24]
but CCO is also obsolete.[25]



  1. ^

    ICD 1, p. 22

  2. ^

    Robert Due south. McNamara, quoted in Richelson, The Intelligence Community, p. 511

  3. ^

    ICPG 704.1

  4. ^

    ICD 1, p. 9

  5. ^

    UKUSA COMINT Agreement, PDF p. 27. Notation that common SIGINT terms were divers differently in this version of the UKUSA agreement; the mod definitions were codified by 1955.

  6. ^

    Intelligence Community Classification and Command Markings Implementation Manual v4.2, p. 58

  7. ^

    NRO Review and Redaction Guide, p. 140.

  8. ^

    Intelligence Community Classification and Control Markings Implementation Manual v4.two, p. 60-63

  9. ^

    In Photographic camera Affidavit of Eugene F. Yeats

  10. ^

    Richelson p. 512-514

  11. ^

    ” Implementation Guidance for Elimination of Codewords Oct 22, 1999

  12. ^

    NSA inspector general report on electronic mail and net data collection nether Stellar Wind – full document June 27, 2013. See page 12 for the assignment of the encompass term.

  13. ^

    Robert Sesek, My Starting time FOIA Request: ODNI CAPCO v6, April 10, 2014

  14. ^

    Intelligence Customs Classification and Control Markings Implementation Transmission v5.1, p. 65

  15. ^

    Critique of the Codeword Compartment

  16. ^

    Richelson, The Usa Intelligence Community, p. 514

  17. ^

    https://web.archive.org/web/20161101044611/http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB225/doc23.pdf. Archived from the original
    on 2016-11-01.

  18. ^

    Authorized Classification and Command Markings Annals v1.ii

  19. ^

    Intelligence Community Classification and Command Markings Implementation Manual v4.two, p. 56

  20. ^

    Intelligence Community Classification and Control Markings Implementation Manual v5.1, p. 54

  21. ^

    National Reconnaissance Office Review and Redaction Guide, p. 7

  22. ^

    Authorized Classification and Control Markings Register v1.2

  23. ^

    ICPM 2006-700-8

  24. ^

    See this page for an example.

  25. ^

    Authorized Classification and Control Markings Register v1.2
Popular:   Bacteria in the Tropical Rainforests ___________



  • Explanation of the US Nomenclature System
  • Critique of the Codeword Compartment in the CIA, March 1977
  • DCID iii/29, Controlled Access Program Oversight Committee, 2 June 1995
  • ICD 1, Policy Directive for Intelligence Customs Leadership, 1 May 2006
  • ICD 705, Sensitive Compartmented Data Facilities, 26 May 2010
  • ICPG 704.ane, Personnel Security Investigative Standards and Procedures Governing Eligibility for Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information and Other Controlled Access Program Information, two October 2008
  • Intelligence Customs Authorized Classification and Control Markings Register and Manual v5.1, 30 March 2012
  • National Reconnaissance Office Review and Redaction Guide For Automated Declassification Of 25-Year-Former Information, 2008
  • Richelson, Jeffrey.
    The United states Intelligence Customs. Bedrock, CO: Westview Press. 2008.
  • UKUSA COMINT Understanding and Appendices Thereto, 1951–1953

What Guidance is Available for Marking Sensitive Compartmented Information

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_compartmented_information