Saturday, August 21, 2010

EO 13549 – Classified Info for SLTPS

Earlier this week I did a brief post about President Obama signing a new Executive Order (EO) establishing a new program for sharing classified information with State, local, tribal, and private sector (SLTPS) entities. Today, Monday’s Federal Register was posted on-line and EO 13549 was published. ERROR NOTE: In my earlier blog I stated that “DHS will be responsible for inspecting, accrediting and monitoring SLTPS storage of classified material.” Because I was quickly scanning the EO on the White House web site I missed read “SLT” for “SLTPS”. DHS is only responsible for the program at State, local, tribal entities. Extension of EO 12829 In many ways this new EO is simply an extension of the 1993 EO establishing the National Industrial Security Program. It provides authority for setting up a program for sharing classified information with SLT and extends the program for private sector entities. What it does do is to ensure that once an entity is authorized access to classified information by one agency of the Federal Government, all other agencies will accept that authorization {§1(c), 75 FR 51609}. The National Industrial Security Program established the program for sharing classified information with private companies that the Government did business with. It did not extend that authorization to places like high-risk chemical facilities that might need to know about classified threat information. This new EO takes the earlier EO and extends it to “persons outside government who are critically involved in ensuring that public and private preparedness and response efforts are integrated as part of the Nation's Critical Infrastructure or Key Resources (CIKR)” {§5(g), 75 FR 51612}. Since DOD already has a program up and running for managing an classified information program with private businesses this EO extends that earlier program to the “management, oversight, inspection, accreditation, and monitoring of all private sector facilities that have access to classified information” {§4(b), 75 FR 51611}. This will probably mean that DOD will have to make some modifications to its National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual specified under §201 of EO 12829. Security Clearances One significant change established by this new EO is that it makes the Secretary of Homeland Security responsible for:
● “[P]rocessing of security clearance applications by personnel, when requested by a sponsoring agency” {§4(c)(3), 75 FR 51611} ● “[D]ocumenting and tracking the final status of clearances for all SLTPS personnel {§4(c)(4)} ● “[D]eveloping training, in consultation with the [SLTPS Policy Advisory] Committee, for all SLTPS personnel who have been determined eligible for access to classified information, which shall cover the proper safeguarding of classified information and sanctions for unauthorized disclosure of classified information {§4(c)(6),}
The EO sets up the limit for these clearances to the Secret level unless “the applicant has a demonstrated and foreseeable need for access to Top Secret, Special Access Program, or Sensitive Compartmented Information” {§1.3(a), 75 FR 51609}. Knowing how the classification system has historically gotten inflated, I expect that it won’t be long before the exceptions will quickly outnumber the Secret level clearances. Program Set-up This will be an extremely interesting program for DHS to set up, especially given the 180-day time frame that the President gave for this program to go into effect. One of the complaints about the current security clearance program has always been the length of time it took to get a clearance approved. This program will likely have to handle as many folks as the current government program. It will be interesting to see if DHS is able to streamline the process.

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