I'm sorry, that's classified.
January 5, 2007 2:39 PM Subscribe
How do government employees with security clearances keep track of which information is classified and which information isn't, when they get asked questions about work that they do?
posted by brain cloud to Law & Government (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm talking about your usual federal or military person, who over the course of their careers might be privy to information that is classified in some way and can't be shared outside of whatever little realm they work in. Let's say they get asked a question which touches on some of the sensitive stuff. They can't go there, so they might reply that they can't discuss it, or it's classified, or whatever.
From what I understand, most of the classified stuff is of a pretty boring and seemingly pedestrian nature. Not really exciting stuff like UFO alien cover ups or who shot JFK. In short, a "secret" is perhaps one boring piece of a much larger and secret-er puzzle, but on its own, not very memorable as being secret. So -- how do government employees who "need to know" keep track of it all? X is secret, Y, though somewhat similar, isn't secret, and Z was classified but now isn't anymore... it just seems pretty daunting to keep it all straight and not something you'd want to screw up.
While I'm at it, how do they know what is still secret (from long ago) and what isn't secret anymore? When something gets declassified is there like, a big announcement, to those who would need to know it is? How is that managed?
(For pre-emptive clarification, I don't mean people whose entire work revolves around them having Q clearances and work for NSA / CIA / etc. and are constantly exposed to the sooper seekrit stuff. For them it's obvious, they just don't talk or they have some kind of cover story.)