Identifying Classified Information
HQ Office of Classification, 301-903-3526
- If you originate a document in a classified subject area, it is your responsibility: (1) to ensure the document is marked with the highest potential overall classification level and category that is likely to be contained in the document until it is formally reviewed, (2) to properly protect and store the document, and (3) to ensure that access to the document is limited to only authorized cleared individuals.
- Any document originated in a classified subject area, whether on paper or electronic format, must receive a classification review regardless of whether you think the document does or does not contain classified information. If the document IS NOT intended for public release, a Derivative Classifier must review the document. If the document IS intended for public release, a Classification Officer must review the document (at Headquarters, this is the Director, Office of Classification).
- You must have the document reviewed for classification prior to its being finalized, released outside of the activity (e.g., ad hoc working group) or office, or filed. Regardless, the document must be reviewed no later than 180 days after its creation.
- If you want a classified document reviewed for possible declassification or downgrading, submit the document to your organization's Derivative Declassifier.
- If you believe the classification of information or documents is improper, you are encouraged and expected to challenge the classification status of the information or document. Contact the Office of Classification for the appropriate steps to take.
- Never discuss classified information appearing in the public domain with uncleared individuals. The fact that classified information has appeared publicly does not make it unclassified. The fact that classified information has appeared publicly (in written or spoken format) is itself classified.
Contact your organizationís Headquarters Classification Representative, the Classification Outreach
Hotline (301) 903-7567, or your organizationís HSO for additional information.