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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10290

PRESCRIBING REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE CLASSIFICATION, TRANSMISSION, AND HANDLING, BY DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION WHICH REQUIRES SAFEGUARDING IN THE INTEREST OF THE SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES.

WHEREAS it is necessary, in order to protect the national security of the United States, to establish a system for the safeguarding of official information the unauthorized disclosure of which would or could harm, tend to impair, or otherwise threaten the security of the nation; and

WHEREAS it is desirable and proper that minimum standards for procedures designed to protect the national security against such unauthorized disclosure be uniformly applicable to all departments and agencies of the Executive Branch of the Government and be known to and understood by those who deal with the Federal Government; and

WHEREAS the furnishing of information to the public about government activities will be facilitated by clear identification and marking of those matters the safeguarding of which is required in the interest of national security;

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes, and as President of the United States, the regulations attached hereto, entitled "Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards for the Classification, Transmission, and Handling, by Departments and Agencies of the Executive Branch, of Official Information Which Requires Safeguarding in the Interest of the Security of the United States," are hereby prescribed for application throughout the Executive Branch of the Government to the extent not inconsistent with law.

Such regulations shall take effect thirty days after their publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

All citizens of the United States who may have knowledge of or access to classified security information are requested to observe the standards established in such regulations with respect to such information and to join with the Federal Government in a concerted and continuing effort to prevent disclosure of such information to persons who are inimical to the interests of the United States.

REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE CLASSIFICATION, TRANSMISSION, AND HANDLING, BY DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION WHICH REQUIRES SAFEGUARDING IN THE INTEREST OF THE SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES

1. Purpose and scope. a. The sole purpose of these regulations is to establish minimum standards, which are to be maintained in all cases where higher standards are not established by appropriate authority, for identifying and protecting information the safeguarding of which is necessary in order to protect the security of the United States; and the minimum standards established by these regulations shall not supersede any higher standards established by appropriate authority.

c. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to authorize the dissemination, release, handling or transmission of classified information contrary to the provisions of any law, Executive order, or Presidential directive which restricts the dissemination, release, handling, or transmission of such information.

d. These regulations shall apply only to classified security information as defined in paragraph 4 of Part II hereof, and the terms "classified security information," "security classification," "classify," "declassify," "downgrade," "upgrade," "appropriate classifying authority" and "marking," as used in these regulations, apply or relate only to official information of the United States Government which requires safeguarding in order to protect the national security.

2. Categories of classified security information. There shall be four categories of classified security information which, in descending order of importance to national security, shall carry one of the following designations: "To Secret"; "Secret"; "Confidential"; and "Restricted"; in addition to being specifically identified as "Security Information." No other classification or classifications shall be used to designate classified security information.

3. Non-security information. Information, official or otherwise, shall not be classified under these regulations unless it requires protective safeguarding in the interest of the security of the United States. The use of any one of the four security classifications herein prescribed combined with the identification "Security Information," shall be strictly limited to classified security information

PART II-DEFINITIONS

4. Classified security information. The term "classified security information" as used herein means official information the safeguarding of which is necessary in the interest of national security, and which is classified for such purpose by appropriate classifying authority.

5. Information. The term "information" as used herein means knowledge which can be communicated, either orally or by means of material.

6. Material. The term "material" as used herein means any document, product, or substance on or in which information may be recorded or embodied.

7. Document. The term "document" as used herein means any recorded information regardless of its physical form or characteristics, and includes, but is not limited to, the following: (1) All written material, whether handwritten, printed, or typed; (2) all painted, drawn or engraved material; (3) all sound or voice recordings; (4) all printed photographs and exposed or printed film, sill or motion picture, and (5) all reproductions of the foregoing, by whatever process reproduced.

8. Product and substance. The terms "product" and "substance" as used herein mean any item of material (other than a document) from which information may be obtained; apply to items in all stages of development, processing, or construction; and include elements, ingredients, components, accessories, fixtures, dies, models, and mock-ups associated with such items.

10. Unclassified information. The term "unclassified information" as used herein means information determined by the appropriate classifying authority not to require the procedural safeguards provided by these regulations and therefore not included in one of the aforementioned security classifications.

11. Cryptographic system. The term "cryptographic system" as used herein means any document, product, or method employed to change information from plain language form into coded form, or to change information from coded form into plain language form.

12. Serial matter. The term "serial matter" as used herein means any material to which a serial number is assigned and which is accounted for at prescribed intervals and upon specified occasions.

13. Telegram. The term "telegram" as used herein means any document recording information transmitted or for transmission by telegraph, telephone, cable, radio or other electrical means of transmission.

14. Classify. The term "classify" as used herein means to assign information to one of the four security classification categories after determination has been made that the information requires the security protection provided by these regulation.

15. Security classification. The term "security classification" as used herein means the category into which information falls after being classified as specified in paragraph 2 of Part I hereof. Extreme care should be exercised to insure that a particular security classification is assigned only to such information as requires the degree of protection made applicable by these regulations to that classification.

16. Declassify. The term "declassify" as used herein means to remove the security classification.

17. Downgrade. The term "downgrade" as used herein means to assign a lower security classification than that previously assigned.

18. Upgrade. The term "upgrade" as used herein means to assign a higher security classification than that previously assigned.

19. Appropriate classifying authority-a. In general. The term "appropriate classifying authority" as used herein means the head of the originating agency and those whom he has authorized to classify, declassify, upgrade or downgrade information pursuant to these regulations.

b. Material officially transferred from originating agency to another agency. In the case of information transferred by or pursuant to statute or Executive order from one agency to another for the latter's use and as part of its official files, as distinguished from transfers merely for purposes of storage, the receiving agency shall be deemed to be the "appropriate classifying authority" for all purposes under these regulations.

c. Material of defunct agency not officially transferred to another agency. When any agency has in its possession, on or after the effective date of these regulations, any classified security information which is then, or thereafter becomes, five years old and it appears (1) that such information originated in an agency which has since become defunct and whose records, files and other material have not been officially transferred to another agency within the meaning of subsection "b" above, or (2) that it is impossible for the possessing agency to identify the originating agency, and (3) a review of the information indicates that it should be downgraded or declassified, the said possessing agency shall have power under these regulations to declassify or downgrade such information. If it appears probable that another agency may have a substantial interest in the question whether the security classification of any particular information should be maintained, the possessing agency shall not exercise the power conferred upon it by this subsection until thirty days after the possessing agency has notified such other agency of the nature of the information and of its intention to declassify or downgrade the same. During the thirty-day period the other agency may, if it so desires, express its objections to declassifying or downgrading the particular information, but the power to make the ultimate decision shall reside in the possessing agency.

20. Marking. The term "marking" as used herein means the physical act of indicating on classified security information the assigned classification or change therein.

21. Record material. The term "record material" as used herein means all books, papers, maps, photographs, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriated for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, operations, decisions, procedures, or other activities of any agency of the Government, or because of the informational value of the data contained therein.

22. Non-record material. The term "non-record material" as used herein means extra copies and duplicates the use for which is essentially temporary, including shorthand notes, used carbon paper, preliminary drafts, and other material of similar nature.

PART III-RESPONSIBILITIES

23. All personnel in the Executive Branch. A. The responsibility for the protection, pursuant to these regulations, of classified security information shall rest upon each individual in the Executive Branch of the Government having such information or knowledge thereof, no matter how that information or knowledge was obtained.

b. Each individual in the Executive Branch shall be directly responsible for familiarizing himself with and adhering to all regulations applicable to him which are issued for the protection of classified security information.

24. Authority for heads of agencies to delegate. The ultimate responsibility for the safeguarding of classified security information within an agency shall remain with and rest upon the head of the agency, but the head of an agency may delegate the performance of any or all of the functions charged to him herein, including:

a. The issuance of such additional instructions on the safeguarding of classified security information as requirements of his agency may dictate;

b. Maintenance of the security of his agency's messenger-courier systems for transmission of classified security information;

c. Authorization of appropriate officials within his agency to assign information to the proper security classification under these regulations. Authorizations to classify security information as "Top Secret" or "Secret" shall be held to the minimum necessary for the performance of required activities, and shall be maintained at a high level within the agency. The authorizations to classify security information as "Top Secret" shall be substantially more limited in number than those for "Secret" and shall be restricted to those officials whose functional requirements are such that they must have that authority;

d. Designation of those authorized to receive "Top Secret" security information;

e. Designation of officials responsible for "Top Secret" security information control;

f. Designation of individuals responsible for the security programs in the various organizational units of the agency;

g. Appropriate investigation and clearance of personnel who are to have access to classified security information;

h. Maintenance within his agency of a continuing review of the use of security classifications to insure uniform and proper application;

i. Establishment of procedures governing dissemination of classified security information outside his agency;

j. Establishment of procedures governing changes in security classification and the destruction of classified security information;

k. Thorough indoctrination of all individuals of his agency in security regulations and procedures; and

l. Issuance of additional instructions pertaining to communications security, serial matter, Restricted Data (as hereinafter used), and other subjects requiring additional regulations.

PART IV-RULES GOVERNING SECURITY CLASSIFICATION, UPGRADING, DOWNGRADING, AND DECLASSIFICATION

25. General Classification Principles-a. Uniformity of application of classification. Uniformity of application of classification shall be a requirement for the proper safeguarding of classified security information. In accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of Part I hereof, and in order to preserve the integrity of the security classifications "Top Secret," "Secret," "Confidential," and "Restricted," when combined with the identification "Security Information," these classifications shall be used only for the purpose of identifying information which must be safeguarded to protect the national security.

b. Use of lowest consistent classification. To avoid overclassification and depreciation of the importance of properly classified security information and to avoid unnecessary delay in the handling and transmission of documents and other material, security information shall be assigned the lowest security classification consistent with its proper protection. Use of the classification "Top Secret" combined with the identification "Security Information," shall be held at an absolute minimum. Such classification shall be given only to information which plainly requires the highest degree of protection in the interest of national security. The major criterion for the assignment of this classification shall be recognition of the fact that unauthorized disclosure of information so classified would or could cause exceptionally grave danger to the national security. The classification "Secret" combined with the identification "Security Information" shall be given only to information which requires extraordinary protection in the interest of national security. The classification "Confidential" combined with the identification "Security