For example, nuclear science and design documents are uniquely classified as “restricted data”. These documents have historically been accessed through what is known as Q Clearance, a special background check and access protocol. (Yes, Q Clearance is the “Q” in QAnon, referring to that anonymous figure’s supposed clearance within the US government.)
The restricted data designation was created by the Atomic Energy Act in the early days of the Cold War and is now administered by the Department of Energy, which oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and development.As nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein explain On Twitter today, the goal is to create a taxonomy outside the defense establishment that makes scientific knowledge more flexible than simple military applications.
“TS/RD” documents are called “naturally classified” because, unlike other classified intelligence or scientific work, they are considered highly classified from the moment they are created. Indeed, nuclear design and science must opt out, not sort.
Meanwhile, NC2 documents — think about how a presidential nuclear soccer ball works or how a nuclear launch program will unfold — have historically had their own classification, called Extremely Sensitive Information (ESI), which in turn requires special access rights .
some Report ABC News’ Jonathan Carr and others surrounding the Mar-a-Lago search said the FBI raid also involved so-called Special Access Programs (SAP), another uniquely classified category that typically handles the most sensitive covert operations and intelligence and defense systems technical capabilities. (The intelligence community has its own equivalent of the military SAP, called the CAP or Controlled Access Program.)
SAP requires someone to specifically “read in” the program – which means, they need to have a specific “need to know” and carefully track documents to see who has read them and where they are stored. Often, the way an individual is “read into” a SAP amounts to a mini-ceremony that involves meeting with a specially licensed security officer and signing a specific nondisclosure agreement for that SAP. Over the course of an officer’s career, the SAPs they are allowed to access are carefully tracked.
In addition to the capability-focused SAP, there is another category of classified information known as SCI, or “sensitive compartmentalized information”. The name is often used to protect what intelligence officials call “sources and methods.” These might include, for example, the identities of important assets in foreign governments, or how the NSA technically managed to infiltrate the communications networks of foreign militaries.according to Weekly newspaperWilliam Arkin of at least some of the documents sought in the FBI search related to “sources and methods.”and Wall Street Journal It was reported this afternoon that the list of items removed from Mar-a-Lago included “various classification/TS/SCI documents”.
SAP and SCI are known by their own code names. For example, our long-standing classification for satellite reconnaissance is TALENT KEYHOLE, so files protected by it are marked “TS/SCI TALENT KEYHOLE”. (FBI Director Christopher Wray, who may have been part of the signing team for this week’s Mar-a-Lago search, played a small role in the Bush administration’s showdown with one of the most famous and notorious SAPs of late, STELLAR WIND) , the NSA wiretap program created after 9/11.)