5 FAH-1 H-130


(TL:CH-44;   03-15-2016)
(Office of Origin:  IRM/BMP/GRP/GP)


(TL:CH-44;   03-15-2016)

a. Executive Order (E.O.) 13526 (Classified National Security Information) presents the uniform standard for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information   All persons handling classified material must protect this information from unauthorized disclosure.  Classified information requires protection for national security reasons and must be classified by an original or derivative classification authority and must contain the appropriate classification markings according to the requirements of Section 1.7, E.O. 13526.

b. Derivative classification means that previously classified information has been included in a new document with the original classification level.  Generally, previously classified information used without significant change in a new document should show the level, date, and source of the original classification decision.

c.  Drafters and preparers must identify the source of the classification authority and provide reason for classification and declassification guidelines on the face of each classified document.  See 12 FAM 500 and 5 FAM 480 for the Department’s marking and handling policy.


(TL:CH-44;   03-15-2016)

a. Documents containing information classified for the drafter according to the requirements of Section 1.7, E.O. 13526 must mark national security reasons.

b. The overall classification of the document must appear at the top and bottom of any cover, title page, first page, and last page of the document.  Cover sheets are required with classified documents, (i.e., Form SF-703, Top Secret Cover Sheet; Form SF-704, Secret Cover Sheet; and Form SF-705, Confidential Cover Sheet).  Form DS-1902, Access Control Sheet Top Secret Information, must be permanently affixed to all Top Secret material.

c.  Documents that contain foreign government information must be marked with the source government and classification level.  If the source government’s identity must be protected, pertinent portions should be marked “FOREIGN GOVERNMENT INFORMATION (FGI)” with the classification level.

d. Each element of a classified document (title, paragraphs, tables or graphs) must be marked (TS), (S), (C), (U) or (SBU), as appropriate.  This portion marking reflects the level of harm unauthorized disclosure would cause to national security as follows: Top Secret, extremely grave damage; Secret, serious damage; Confidential, some damage.  The name and position of the original classification authority and the agency and office of origin, unless otherwise evident, must appear on the face of each originally classified document.  The reason(s) for the classification, citing one or more of the classification categories established in Section 1.5, E.O. 13526, must appear on the face of each originally classified document.


(TL:CH-44;   03-15-2016)

a. The original classification authority must indicate one of the following declassification options on the face of each classified document:

(1)  A date or event less than 10 years from the date of original classification when the national security sensitivity of the information will lapse within that time;

(2)  A date 10 years from the date of original classification; or

(3)  A citation from one of the exemption categories in Section 1.6, E.O. 13526 which indicates that the national security sensitivity of the information will exceed 10 years.

b. Documents, which derive their classification from one previously classified source document, must show the title and the declassification date from the source document.  Documents containing previously classified information from more than one source will reflect the words “DERIVED FROM: MULTIPLE SOURCES” and carry the declassification date from that source document which provides the longest period of protection.  A list of those source documents must be attached to the record copy of the classified documents.


(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

a. Downgrading instructions are not a substitute for declassification.  If the original classification authority provides downgrading instructions, e.g., for information originally classified TOP SECRET, declassification instructions must also be provided as shown in the following example:

EXAMPLE:  Downgrade to SECRET 10/16/2004; DECL:  10/16/2005

b. Downgrading instructions should also be provided for a covering memorandum or letter with classified attachments when the information in the attachments is classified at a higher level than the information in the covering letter or memorandum.

EXAMPLE:  Downgrade to CONFIDENTIAL when separated from attachments; DECL:  10/16/2006.


(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

The administrative control designation (SBU) protects documents that do not contain national security information, but must be protected from disclosure.  This control designation must appear at the top and bottom of any cover, title page, first page, and last page of the document.  See 12 FAM 540 for further information; see 5 FAH-1 H-200 for SBU telegrams.


(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

a. Classified telegrams must only be sent via secure means. At post, if secure means of transmission are not available, the telegram is sent via courier to a post equipped with secure lines.

b. Classified memorandums, letters, and other documents must be sent in double envelopes or wrapped according to security regulations outlined in 12 FAM 500.