Don’t Remove Gov’t Records, Departing Officials Are Told

Government officials were reminded recently that as they depart from government service with the end of the current Administration, they are not permitted to take classified information with them.

“Classified information is not personal property and may not be removed from the Government’s control by any departing official or employee. This includes ‘extra’copies.”

That timely warning (pdf) was issued by William J. Bosanko, the director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the national security classification system.

“This prohibition applies to all cleared officials and employees, regardless of type or level of position,” Mr. Bosanko wrote in a November 17 ISOO memorandum to senior executive branch agency officials.

Document removal is among the most pernicious forms of secrecy, as it is often undetected and irreversible.

No Responses to “Don’t Remove Gov’t Records, Departing Officials Are Told”

  1. A. Scott Crawford November 28, 2008 at 12:57 AM #

    Let’s not mince words… “Document removal” by outgoing officials of classified material is a criminal offense and should be prosecuted if discovered. The “Insider Threat” movement slowly creeping through the Federal System will face it’s first vital existential test in how it reacts to this category of discovered abuse (as EVERYONE just HAS to keep their notes in order to write their Authoritive Memoirs! lol.) Good Luck Agent Tate!

  2. Nemo December 2, 2008 at 3:01 PM #

    Steven: Doesn’t this come right back to the whole issue of rampant overclassification, though? I would argue that many officials have documents they probably *should* be allowed to retain *copies* of, many of which are probably “classified” as FOUO, or LES, or SBU, or whatever. Given how some bodies construe any sort of “administrative” marking as a form of classification, and how little practical regulation there is on the subject between departments and agencies, I could actually see, say, letters of commendation marked FOUO or even “personal and confidential” being considered “properly classified”…