The OpSec Blog

Security and privacy information and advice at home and abroad.

Need to Know: Executive Order 13526

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Executive Order (EO) 13526 is the latest of three recent EOs detailing the procedures and guidelines concerning National Security Information.  It replaces the provisions of previous EOs 12958 (Clinton) and 13292 (Bush).

As far as important documents go, this one is right up there.  The EO dispels the myth that classification levels other than “Top Secret”, “Secret”, and “Confidential.”  There’s no “Ultra Top Secret” nonsense or anything like that.  Section 1.4 Classification Categories is used on a daily basis by your typical SEO when classifying documents to send off to whoever needs it, as all classified information must have a justification.  Section 1.5 details the duration of classification which is usually capped at 25 years from the date of the original classification.

I won’t bother going through the entire document, but it’s a relatively interesting read as far as “things you need to know to do your job” goes.  If everyone was as well-versed in EO 13526 as I was, I wouldn’t have to argue with so many people…


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