Understanding the U.S. Classification System


Simplifying it, our classification system is based on clearance, classification level, and need to know. It started with several basic levels: Unclassified, Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU), Confidential (C), Secret (S), and Top Secret (TS). Clearance is how much trust they've put into the person, often through investigation & profiling. Their clearance's classification level puts an absolute limit on their access at that level or below. However, what is *supposed* to determine actual ability to access information is the following combination: the person is cleared for that information *and* has a valid need to know.

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Publication Info
Written On: 19 Oct 2014
Published On: 19 Oct 2014
Author: Nick P