7 FAM 050

CONSULAR INFORMATION PROGRAM, MESSAGES for U.S. CItizens, and the no double standard policY

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)
(Office of Origin: CA/OCS/L)

7 FAM 051 INTRODUCTION

7 FAM 051.1 Summary

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. The Consular Information Program (CIP), established in 1992-1993, replaced the earlier Travel Advisory program and fully addresses the No Double Standard policy (see 7 FAM 052).

b. Effective the publication date of this section, the CIP is refined to make terms and definitions more intuitive and understandable, both to the public and within the Department of State. The program now consists of:

(1) Country Specific Information;

(2) Travel Alerts;

(3) Travel Warnings;

(4) Worldwide Cautions;

(5) Messages for U.S. Citizens, Security Messages for U.S. Citizens, and Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens (hereafter all will be referred to as Messages unless there is a distinction to be made); and

(6) Fact Sheets.

c. Through this information program, the Department informs U.S. citizens/nationals of potential threats to their health or safety abroad.

All posts and bureaus are to follow the guidance set forth in this section.

The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs has overall responsibility for the Consular Information Program, and must authorize any exceptions to this guidance.

7 FAM 051.2 Authorities

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. The Consular Information Program is not mandated by statute, but several statutes are relevant to the Department's performance of this function: Section 505 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 requires the Secretary to notify Congress whenever the Department issues a Travel Warning because of a terrorist threat or other security concern (22 U.S.C. 2656e). Section 321(f) of the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990, Public Law 101-604 (49 U.S.C. 44905), prohibits the notification of a civil aviation threat to "only selective potential travelers unless such threat applies only to them." See 7 FAM 052, No Double Standard Policy. See also 22 CFR 71.1, 22 U.S.C. 2671 (b)(2)(A), 22 U.S.C. 4802, and 22 U.S.C. 211a.

b. Information provided is based on our best objective assessment of conditions in a given country, as reported by posts as well as other Department bureaus, media, and other foreign and U.S. Government sources. The decision to issue a Travel Alert, Travel Warning, or a Security or Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens for an individual country is based on the overall assessment of the safety/security situation there. By necessity, this analysis must be undertaken without regard to bilateral political or economic considerations. Accordingly, posts must not allow extraneous concerns to color the decision of whether to issue information regarding safety or security conditions in a country, or how that information is to be presented.

7 FAM 051.3 Dissemination

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

Country Specific Information, Messages, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Worldwide Cautions, and Fact Sheets are disseminated widely both in the United States and abroad. Methods of distribution include the following:

Consular Affairs Internet web page;

Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program(STEP) (see 7 FAM 040);

CA Call Center (1-888-407-4747 (Calling from the United States and Canada) or (202-501-4444) (Calling from other countries);

Overseas Security Advisory Council Internet page (OSAC) through the Bureau of Diplomatic Security;

Listserv electronic subscriptions (the Consular Information Program documents reach a wide range of travel agents, airline computer reservation systems, and other interested parties, including the House of Representatives Information System (H.I.S.) by this electronic transfer of information);

Messaging Alert System for Citizens Overseas Tool (MASCOT): available through the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) and used by overseas posts and the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services (CA/OCS) to send e-mail messages to U.S. citizens who are registered with an overseas consular section and/or have enrolled in STEP; and,

The media through the Bureau of Public Affairs. Posts must not use social media as a substitute for dissemination of cleared Messages. The Department encourages U.S. citizens to enroll in STEP as a means to receive the latest safety and security information generated by posts and CA. Once the information is disseminated through STEP, posts may use verbatim excerpts on social media outlets without advance clearance from CA.

7 FAM 051.4 Working With Your Host Government

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. Host country officials occasionally express dismay or resentment about the U.S. governments public dissemination of security-related warnings. The Department has no higher responsibility than the safety and security of U.S. citizens. You may explain we share information to assist U.S. citizens in making prudent decisions about their own safety.

b. In certain situations, but only with PRIOR PERMISSION from the Managing Director of CA/Overseas Citizens Services, you may inform the host government of the imminent release of a Travel Warning. CA/OCS will coordinate Department permission in these cases. Country Specific Information, Messages, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings are never subject to negotiation with or censoring by a foreign government.

7 FAM 052 NO DOUBLE STANDARD POLICY

7 FAM 052.1 Statement of Policy

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

In administering the Consular Information Program, the Department of State applies a no double standard policy to important security threat information, including criminal information.

Generally, if the Department shares information with the official U.S. community, it should also make the same or similar information available to the non-official U.S. community if the underlying threat applies to both official and non-official U.S. citizens/nationals.

If a post issues information to its employees about potentially dangerous situations, it should evaluate whether the potential danger could also affect private U.S. citizens/nationals living in or traveling through the affected area.

If so, post should notify the Department and request approval of dissemination of the post-issued information to the public. In such cases, the CA/OCS/ACS Director will coordinate with the CA/OCS Managing Director, CA/OCS/ACS staff, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Threat Investigations and Analysis (DS/ITA) country officer, the regional desk officer, and others as appropriate to the situation at hand.

The policy is not intended to prevent the limited distribution of information about threats to specific U.S. citizens/nationals or U.S. organizations. The Department may share credible security-related information on a limited basis when directed toward a specific target or when appropriate to counter a particular threat. The Regional Security Officer normally performs this "duty to warn" function at post.

All "duty to warn" threat notifications made to U.S. private sector organizations at post must be coordinated with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Threat Investigations and Analysis, Overseas Security Advisory Council (DS/TIA/OSAC) to ensure simultaneous or near-simultaneous threat warning is also conveyed to the domestic headquarters of the U.S. organization.

7 FAM 052.2 Origin of Policy

(CT:CON-453; 04-01-2013)

In 1990, Congress passed the Aviation Security Improvement Act, which, in Section 109, added to the Federal Aviation Act a requirement that the President "develop guidelines for ensuring notification to the public of threats to civil aviation in appropriate cases. The Act requires that the guidelines identify the officials responsible for deciding whether public notification of a threat is in the best interests of the United States and the traveling public, based on a consideration of, inter alia, the specificity of the threat, the credibility of the information, and the ability to counter the threat. The guidelines were to be distributed to appropriate officials in the Departments of Transportation, State, and Justice, as well as to air carriers. The law prohibits selective notification of a threat to civil aviation to only selective potential travelers unless the threat applies only to them. These and other related provisions are now codified in 49 U.S.C. 44905. After enactment of these provisions, the Department decided to follow similar policies in non-civil aviation contexts.

7 FAM 052.3 Coordination of Threat Information with the Military Under the No Double Standard Policy

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. It can be consistent with the "no double standard" policy for the Department of State to determine that sharing information with private U.S. citizens is not appropriate in cases where the Department of Defense (DoD) releases threat information to military personnel. For example, upon receiving information concerning a possible threat to U.S. citizens in a particular country, the chief of mission (COM) may conclude that the information is not credible. In this case, the Emergency Action Committee (EAC) would not recommend releasing the information to other DOS personnel and private U.S. citizens in country. However, a military commander, upon receiving the same threat information, might decide to release the threat information to U.S. troops in country, or might confine the troops to their base without informing them of the alleged threat. The paragraphs below provide a clarification of how military procedures relate to the "no double standard" policy.

b. DoD Personnel Under Military Command: The Department of Defense is responsible for the safety and security of DoD personnel under military command. U.S. military commanders therefore make independent decisions about whether or when to disseminate threat information to their personnel. Should post become aware of a DoD notification made locally, post should immediately inform the Department. Once notified that DoD has disseminated threat formation to their personnel, the Department of State decides, in conjunction with relevant posts, whether information about the threat is such that the Department of State should also disseminate it to the non-official U.S. community.

c. DoD Personnel Under Chief of Mission Authority: If a DoD officer under COM (for example, Defense Attach) issues a security warning for other COM personnel (for example, within the DoD Attach office) that includes threat information that falls under No Double Standard policy, such information should be shared with the non-official U.S. community.

7 FAM 053 PROCEDURES FOR issuance of COUNTRY SPECIFIC INFORMATION, MESSAGES, travel warnings, AND TRAVEL ALERTS

7 FAM 053.1 General

(CT:CON-453; 04-01-2013)

a. The Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs is responsible for supervising and managing the travel information program. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizens Services has primary day-to-day supervisory responsibility for the program. The Department requires all posts, regional bureaus, and appropriate functional bureaus to cooperate fully in this activity.

b. Within the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Managing Director in the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services (CA/OCS) is responsible for the day-to-day management and issuance of travel information, including coordinating the preparation of all Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Worldwide Cautions, Messages, and Fact Sheets before their release. (See 1 FAM 255 c.) The Managing Director may delegate operational responsibility to the ACS Office Director and geographic division chiefs in the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS).

c. CA/OCS reviews the need for a Travel Warning when information comes to its attention indicating a situation that may warrant deferral of travel to a particular country or major parts of it due to a dangerous situation that is protracted or unstable. Requests for issuance of a Travel Warning may also originate from a post or from elsewhere within the Department.

d. In addition, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT), and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) inform CA/OCS of conditions warranting inclusion in the Country Specific Information or that may necessitate a Travel Warning, Travel Alert, or Message. Other U.S. Government agencies may also contribute to this process. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency have contributed greatly to Consular Information Program documents related to certain health hazards.

e. Clearances: CA/OCS/ACS is responsible for operational coordination and securing clearance for all security related Consular Information Program documents. Posts must coordinate with their CA/OCS/ACS country officer.

(1) For Country Specific Information, CA/OCS/ACS clears with the relevant regional bureau and the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA). The CA/OCS/ACS Director, or ACS geographic Division Chiefs when delegated by the ACS Director, may approve routine Country Specific Information for CA.

(2) For Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, CA/OCS/ACS clears with a Deputy Assistant Secretary or higher in the affected regional bureau. CA/OCS also clears these documents with:

(a) the Office of Public Affairs (PA);

(b) the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P);

(c) the Office of the Under Secretary for Management (M);

(d) the Office of the Deputy Secretary (D); and

(e) S/ES through the Senior Watch officer (SWO).

(3) Additionally, CA/OCS/ACS must e-mail the cleared final text of all Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and Worldwide Cautions to the CA Alerts collective and National Security Council Point of Contact about the release of the TA or TW.

(4) For Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts related to security threats, CA/OCS clears with Diplomatic Security (DS) and Counterterrorism (CT). If health issues are involved, the Office of Medical Services (M/Med) clears. For aviation issues, the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau (EB/TRA) clears.

(5) For Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens and Security Messages for U.S. Citizens, CA/OCS/ACS clears with the affected regional bureau and with DS/TIA/ITA, and, circumstances depending, may also clear with CT, M/MED, DS/TIA/OSAC, or EB/TRA. However, Messages for U.S. Citizens typically contain routine information not related to safety or security, and do not require prior Department clearance.

f. Disagreements Among Bureaus: Disagreements among bureaus over Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, or Messages are generally resolved by either the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P) or the Under Secretary for Management (M).

Note FYI: In June 2003, an Accountability Review Board provided for a review of Consular Information Program documents to ensure that there are no political statements. The documents will also reiterate personal security safeguards and the need to be vigilant. The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will be authorized to determine the final wording of the Consular Information Program documents.

7 FAM 053.2 Security Threats

7 FAM 053.2-1 Departments Role

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. The security threat information contained in Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Worldwide Cautions, and Messages is derived from threat information gathered from multiple sources, including our posts, the U.S. intelligence community, open sources, and our allies.

b. When security threat information is received, the relevant bureaus in the Department and other U.S. Government agencies attempt to evaluate whether a security threat is credible, specific (aimed at a particular individual or group and/or identifying a time and place), and non-counterable (cannot be avoided by taking appropriate measures).

c. If a threat evaluated as credible, specific, and non-counterable is targeted to a specific U.S. organization or individual, and is unlikely to impact others, then the Department, either directly or through post, may notify only that organization or individual of the threat without risk of triggering the Department's "No Double Standard" policy (See: 7 FAM 052.1). For example, if easily identifiable members of the local U.S. community, such as employees of a particular U.S. company, are targeted, there would normally be no need to disseminate the threat information beyond that identified organization.

d. If a threat evaluated as credible, specific, and non-counterable is aimed at a broad group (e.g., U.S. citizens/nationals, and/or U.S. interests generally), the Department may authorize the relevant post(s) to issue a Message, and may also issue or update a Travel Alert, Travel Warning, or Worldwide Caution.

7 FAM 053.2-2 Posts Role

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. To ensure that the Department and posts avoid providing contradictory information on security threats to U.S. citizens/nationals, it is essential that post coordinate with the Department on public dissemination of any information about potential threats to the safety and travel of U.S. citizens/nationals. At post, it is essential for the consular section and the Regional Security Office to put in place standard operating procedures that ensure close coordination on disseminating information to the official and/or private U.S. citizen communities.

b. If you learn of a security threat, report it to the Department following the established procedures at your post. At this stage, you should not disseminate information about the threat beyond those with a "need to know" (i.e., persons who could develop additional information, help to counter the threat, or help assess appropriate dissemination) to avoid violating the no double standard policy (see 7 FAM 052). In the event the information is disseminated to U.S. Government employees and/or others outside of those with a need to know, post should notify the Department immediately, with the posts senior consular officer responsible for ensuring that CA/OCS/ACS is among those notified.

c. If post believes that it should warn, or has warned, post personnel it should evaluate whether to issue a Security or Emergency Message, see 7 FAM 058 for what constitutes an Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens or Security Message for U.S. Citizens. When warning the local U.S. citizen/national community about a security threat, you should cable or email the basis for your concern, along with the proposed text of the message, to the Department via posts CA/OCS/ACS country officer. Your CA/OCS/ACS country officer is responsible for coordinating and securing Department clearance, and responding to post promptly. If the Emergency or Security Message pertains to a threat so immediate that it cannot wait until Washington opening-of-business, clear your message with the CA/OCS duty officer, providing the proposed Message text. Post may contact the duty officer by calling the Department of State Operations Center. The CA/OCS/ACS country officer or CA/OCS duty officer will obtain clearances from CA, the regional bureau, Diplomatic Security, and any other relevant bureaus.

d. Post may disseminate information to the non-official U.S. community about a threat without prior Department approval ONLY if immediate notice is critical to the security of U.S. citizens/nationals and there is no time to seek the Departments approval. These situations are rare. In such a case, post must inform the CA/OCS Duty Officer immediately and send the text of the Emergency or Security Message to the Department via cable or archive/record email as soon as possible after its issuance, explaining the exigent circumstances and specifying how it disseminated the Message. The Department will then decide whether it also needs to issue or update a Travel Alert or Travel Warning.

e. Remember that if post concludes it should warn, or has warned, its personnel or any U.S. Government employees beyond those with a strict need-to-know, whether permanently stationed or on temporary duty abroad, about a security threat, post should share that same information with the non-official U.S. community under the "No Double Standard" policy (see 7 FAM 052). The Department strongly advises Consular Section Chiefs to review this policy periodically with the Deputy Chief of Mission and the Regional Security Officer to ensure close coordination when publishing safety or security threat information. The policy applies whether the information is shared with U.S. Government employees in town meetings, in post newsletters, by email, on the telephone, or by any other means. The threat or warning information might include information about locations within the host country including hotels, restaurants, entertainment spots, places of worship, tourist sites, etc.

f. Post should also refrain from developing lists of "approved" hotels. In providing such lists to the community, you may actually increase the risk that perpetrators could change the target, thus increasing the risk to U.S. citizens/nationals who may be relying on such lists.

g. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Overseas Security Advisory Council (DS/TIA/OSAC) was created to foster the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and the U.S. private sector operating abroad. OSAC provides the U.S. private sector with timely information on which to make informed decisions on how best to protect their personnel, facilities, and other equities. In addition to this, OSAC is responsible for the interagency coordination of specific and credible threat warning to U.S. private sector organizations under the Department's "duty to warn" mandate. Such "tearline" passage is conveyed domestically by DS/TIA/OSAC to the named organization's U.S.-based corporate security management and overseas by the Regional Security Office at the relevant post(s).

h. Post should not disseminate threat information of a specific, credible, and non-counterable nature beyond the specific party/parties named in reporting and under threat. This includes dissemination to the broader OSAC constituency in a country (i.e. the OSAC Country Council membership, OSAC steering committee, etc.). (This includes warning conducted in-person (i.e. OSAC Country Council meeting), via telephone (i.e. conference call), electronically (i.e. an OSAC Google Group or e-mail), or through any other medium.)

i. Post should contact the Department as soon as possible when it knows in advance that a situation may warrant a Security or Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens. For example, if post believes there is a potential for violence affiliated with public demonstrations planned around political rallies or marking an anniversary of a political or other major event, post should send in the request as early as possible to allow the Department to respond promptly and appropriately (e.g., authorize the issuance of a Security or Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens and determine whether the information needs to issue or update a Travel Alert or Travel Warning). It is helpful not to wait to request Department approval until the day before the anniversary of an event known well in advance to have potential for provoking demonstrations and violence.

j. Post management should ensure U.S. Government agencies with personnel under Chief of Mission Authority understand fully the U.S. Government's "No Double Standard" policy and Department's guidance on the policy. Chiefs of mission should advise these U.S. Government agencies that if they share information on a specific, credible, non-counterable threat with their employees beyond those with a legitimate "need to know," post must share that same information with the non-official U.S. community. Post would initially accomplish the sharing of information with the local non-official U.S. community by issuing a Security or Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens, cleared by the Department as outlined above. If appropriate, you would then coordinate with the Department on the issuance of a Travel Warning or Travel Alert or the revision of the relevant Country Specific Information.

k. Nothing in this section should be interpreted to limit or otherwise hinder the Regional Security Officer's (RSO) ability to perform the duties and responsibilities required in 12 FAM 420. Those duties may, however, trigger the "No Double Standard" policy and require post to take action to warn the non-official U.S. community using the Consular Information Program mechanism.

7 FAM 054 COUNTRY SPECIFIC INFORMATION

(CT:CON-596; 08-13-2015)

a. Summary: The Department, through the Bureau of Consular Affairs, issues Country Specific Information for every country in the world. These provide basic information to enable a traveler to make an informed decision concerning travel to a particular country. For instance, Country Specific Information describes entry and exit requirements, road safety, crime information, areas of instability, aviation safety oversight and customs information, among other things, and it contains the address and telephone number of the U.S. embassy and consulate. CA works with posts to update Country Specific Information at least annually, with more frequent changes made for breaking news." We use these as a vital resource that contains up-to-date information for those traveling or living abroad. Besides changes in circumstances unique to your consular district, there are periodic changes to information that pertains to all posts.

b. Country Specific Information Template: CA/OCS/ACS writes the Country Specific Information using a template, and its country officers provide posts with the current version of the model document when the Country Specific Information is due for revision.

c. Unless it includes a Travel Warning (see section 7 FAM 056), Country Specific Information is intended to present general facts to the public, not to provide advice. It is the readers responsibility to decide about the advisability of travel.

7 FAM 055 travel alerts

(CT:CON-453; 04-01-2013)

a. The Department issues Travel Alerts to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens/nationals. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations/violence, and high profile events such as an international conference or regional sports event are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.

b. Travel Alerts need not be restricted to a single country. The Department may decide to issue a regional Travel Alert for short-term conditions, such as those described above, which affect several countries. While a Travel Alert should not substitute for a Travel Warning when conditions call for the latter, Travel Alerts can recommend that U.S. citizens reconsider/defer travel to a country or region for the duration of the short term conditions mentioned.

c. The opening paragraph of a Travel Alert should describe, as explicitly as possible, the developments that prompted its issuance. When a new Travel Alert supersedes an existing one, the first paragraph will also include an evaluation of whether the situation in the country is improving, deteriorating, or unchanged.

d. Travel Alerts are issued for a specific period, usually 90 days or less, and expire automatically at the end of the prescribed period unless extended by the Department. If conditions warrant, the Department may cancel a Travel Alert before the end of the prescribed period via All Diplomatic and Consular Posts (ALDAC) cable and press release.

7 FAM 056 TRAVEL WARNINGS

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. The Department issues Travel Warnings to recommend that U.S. citizens defer or reconsider travel to a country due to a protracted situation that is dangerous or unstable. The Department also issues a Travel Warning when the U.S. Governments ability to assist U.S. citizens is constrained due to a drawdown or closure at an embassy or consulate, even if the underlying condition is thought to be of limited duration. The Department must issue a Travel Warning whenever a post goes to authorized or ordered departure status.

b. The opening paragraph of a Travel Warning should describe, as explicitly as possible, the developments in the country that prompted the issuance of the warning.

c. The first paragraph also states that U.S. citizens should defer or reconsider travel to a country due to the situation and/or because the U.S. Governments ability to assist them is constrained by an embassy drawdown or closure.

d. When a new Travel Warning supersedes an existing one, the first paragraph will also include an evaluation of whether the situation in the country is improving, deteriorating, or unchanged.

e. Travel Warnings are reviewed continually and are updated at least every six months to ensure that the most current safety and security information is shared with the U.S. citizen public. Travel Warnings are not issued for a specific period and do not expire automatically. When conditions warrant, the Department will cancel a Travel Warning, announcing the cancellation, via an all diplomatic and consular posts (ALDAC) cable and a press release.

7 FAM 057 worldwide caution

(CT:CON-399; 02-13-2012)

a. The Worldwide Caution (WWC) reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to bolster their personal security while overseas. It also informs U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns, including the continual threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and U.S. citizen interests overseas. The Worldwide Caution pays particular attention to regions of concern where there is a continued threat of terrorism.

b. CA/OCS reviews the Worldwide Caution continually and updates it at least every six months to ensure the most current general and regional safety and security information is shared with the U.S. citizen public.

7 FAM 058 MESSAGES, SECURITY MESSAGES, AND eMERGENCY MESSAGES for U.S. Citizens

7 FAM 058.1 SUMMARY

(CT:CON-453; 04-01-2013)

a. Along with Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings, Messages for U.S. Citizens, Security Messages for U.S. Citizens, and Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens (hereafter referred to as Messages unless there is a distinction to be made) are an important component of the Department's Consular Information Program. This section provides guidance on writing, clearing, and the appropriate use of Messages. Refer to 7 FAM 070 on warden systems, which can be valuable communications platforms for these Messages.

b. There are three kinds of official local communications with our registered U.S. citizens:

(1) You should use a Message for U.S. Citizens to disseminate information about routine topics such as voter registration, income tax season, new passport procedures, and other administrative/non-security issues of interest to the local U.S. citizen community.

(2) You should use a "Security Message for U.S. Citizens" to communicate information about personal security threats of a general or systemic nature, or events/threats where local law-enforcement has taken measures to address or provide enhanced security to the general public. Such threats may include crime trends, demonstrations, peaceful actions intended to disrupt normal activity (i.e., strikes, sit-ins, marches), or localized events not likely to affect large numbers of U.S. citizens.

(3) You should use an Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens to inform U.S. citizens about imminent events or threats that can affect their personal security and that may require immediate action by U.S. citizens on their own behalf, or by others, to ensure their safety. Emergency Messages may also be appropriate for threats to large numbers of U.S. citizens, circumstances where new developments to an existing security threat heighten the risks to U.S. citizens, or situations that put the life or safety of U.S. citizens in peril. This includes potentially violent demonstrations, civil disturbances, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, extraordinary measures by local authorities such as martial law, and other non-publicized breaking events. When the Department revises the Worldwide Caution, or issues a Travel Alert or Travel Warning for your country or region, you should disseminate it with a Security or an Emergency Message as appropriate unless otherwise directed.

c. Posts have discretion in determining whether circumstances call for a Security Message or Emergency Message. However, to help promote consistency, CA/OCS makes the final determination when there are differences of opinion between posts and other offices outside the Bureau of Consular Affairs as to which type of message is most appropriate.

d. Formatting Messages: You must provide a simple context for your message and clearly state that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is sending it. Messages may be posted or cited by other sources so it is important that they can stand alone without a separate cover note.

Here are some examples:

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City), (Country)

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens Violent Demonstrations Downtown (Date)

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City), (Country)

Security Message for U.S. Citizens Upcoming Protests in (City)

(Date)

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City), (Country)

Message for U.S. Citizens Town Hall Meeting

(Date)

7 FAM 058.2 Writing a Security or Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

(CT:CON-513; 04-18-2014)

a. The Department's No Double Standard policy, provided in 7 FAM 052, is an integral part of CA/OCS's approach to determine whether to send a Message. The double standard we guard against is in sharing threat-related information with the official U.S. community -- beyond those whose job involves investigating and evaluating threats -- but not disseminating it to the U.S. citizen general public when that information does or could apply to them as well. If information is mistakenly disseminated to the official U.S. community -- either in writing or by word-of-mouth who do not have a need to know, post should inform CA/OCS as soon as possible. The Department will work with post to develop language that is appropriate to release to the public.

b. The nature of a potential threat, time factors, front office demands, and other pressures are often present around consular officers tasked with drafting Messages. The following guidance should help in the drafting process regardless of circumstances:

(1) Keep It Short and To the Point: Some warden networks (see 7 FAM 070) involve phone trees and messages that are passed orally. Consular officers should remind their wardens not to paraphrase Messages, but to deliver them verbatim. It is much easier for everyone to adhere to this policy if messages are short. Your message should be straightforward and as specific as possible.

(2) When you provide advice on demonstrations and security precautions, also try to provide guidance on how to approach a specific incident. For example, if you are cautioning the U.S. citizen community to avoid a particular neighborhood in the capital because demonstrations are likely, you should include the following texts:

(a) "Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations."

(b) "Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities."

(c) Health-related Messages should include the following text: "To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or visit the CDC website."

(3) Never use classified language. Although this should be apparent, there have been a number of incidents where classified information was used in notices to the official community and then planned for release to the general public. Unless the Department can obtain an unclassified version of the information, it cannot be disseminated beyond those with a need to know for investigative or assessment purposes. Releasing it to any others in the mission would create a No Double Standard" situation.

(4) Use previously cleared language whenever possible. You do not need to reinvent Messages every time. Whenever appropriate to your situation, CA encourages you to use previously cleared language from previous Messages, Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, or Worldwide Cautions. You must still secure Department clearance for this new Message. When drafting Security and Emergency Messages, please refer to 7 FAM Exhibit 058.2 for pre-cleared standard language.

(5) Always include your post's phone number, address, and website at the end of your message. (NOTE: If the Department establishes a Consular Task Force related to a crisis, Consular Affairs may provide alternative/additional contact information for use in the Message.)

(6) Avoid using the word "unconfirmed; for example, "According to unconfirmed reports.... If reports are unconfirmed, you should not disseminate them.

(7) Avoid terms such as "credible and specific" when referring to threats. While the Department uses these terms in evaluating threat information, you should not use them in Messages.

7 FAM 058.3 Procedures for Issuing an Emergency or Security Message

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. To ensure that the U.S. Government's "No Double Standard policy (see 7 FAM 052) is not violated and that the traveling public (i.e., those not yet in your country) know of impending threats, you should not issue an Emergency Message or a Security Message pertaining to safety or security of private U.S. citizens without first clearing the language with the Department. The Department will grant clearance quickly once a consular officer at post contacts an OCS/ACS country officer to initiate the process. Except in extraordinarily urgent circumstances (see 7 FAM 053.2-2), the Department must clear all Emergency Messages and Security Messages in advance of dissemination.

b. If post intends to disseminate a short message via Short Message Service (SMS, or text) or social media to non-official U.S.citizens that relates to the new Message, post should submit the Message and the shorter social media/SMS text to CA/OCS/ACS at the same time for clearance.

c. Messages for U.S. Citizens typically contain routine information not related to safety or security, and do not need to be approved by the Department.

d. Whenever you issue any Emergency Message, Security Message, or Message, whether or not approved in advance by the Department, always email a copy of the message to your CA/OCS/ACS country officer.

e. Immediately after sending to enrollees, you must upload Security and Emergency Messages to your post's website and send a copy of the final version of the Message to your CA/OCS/ACS country officer. You should notify your CA/OCS/ACS country officer if the Security or Emergency Message will not be available on post's website within one hour. You may choose to remove it or move it to your posts archive page when it is no longer current. Some posts keep a list of all previous Emergency Messages, Security Messages, and Messages posted for the year to help give U.S. citizens additional context for the safety/security situation in the consular district. Messages older than a year can be archived.

7 FAM 058.4 Pre-Approved Security Messages Plan

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. The Pre-Approved Security Message (PASM) plan allows U.S. embassies and consulates to issue pre-approved Security Messages for U.S. Citizens (hereafter, messages) without requiring Department clearances in specific circumstances as outlined below. This program is designed for posts in locations with frequent demonstrations/strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, disruptions/closures, or weather-related (such as hurricanes, typhoons, etc.) events that do not pose a specific security threat to U.S. citizens. For example, demonstrations that lack anti-U.S. sentiment and are not protesting U.S. policy, but that could cause traffic disruptions or impede transportation systems within a country. Note that PASM is a CA system. Regional Security Officers are not required to use PASM language in their security notices or other messaging to official Americans.

(1) The PASM plan is not intended to replace security messages issued for other purposes, which would require Department clearance or those which include embassy or consulates closure to the public, as outlined in required in 12 FAH-1 H-743. Messages for demonstrations that may escalate into violence or by groups that have had violent protests in the past should be cleared by Washington. Posts that want to enroll in the PASM plan should contact their CA/OCS/ACS country officer for approval.

(2) U.S. embassies and consulates enrolled in PASM are authorized by CA/OCS to use the standard language templates, available at 7 FAM Exhibit 052, for messages that meet the PASM criteria. Once authorized by CA/OCS/ACS to use PASM, authorization is indefinite. CA/OCS/ACS country officers will continuously review post PASM messages to ensure that posts are using the program to issue messages properly and adhering the to the guidelines.

(3) CA/OCS/ACS country officers are responsible for regularly reviewing messages issued under PASM for compliance regarding

(a) Use of the event-specific template;

(b) proper formatting; and

(c) appropriate use of PASM.

(4) Posts are responsible for:

(a) composing a message following the precise wording of the appropriate template;

(b) posting it on the embassys (or consulates) website;

(c) sending it to all enrolled U.S. citizens (typically via MASCOT or post email list serv) if the situation is particularly disruptive or to ensure real-time notification , and

(d) promptly forwarding a copy of the message to the CA-OCS Warden Message Final collective at CA-OCSWardenMessagesFinal@state.gov and the CA/OCS/ACS country officer by email.

(5) If the wording of post's message deviates in any way from the standard language template, post must send it to your CA/OCS/ACS country officer for Department clearance prior to release.

b. Sending Messages under PASM:

(1) Obtain posts front office approval and inform your Regional Security officer.

(2) Contact your CA/OCS/ACS country officer via email for prerequisites of using PASM, and to obtain regional bureau and DS clearance.

(3) Once your request is approved by the regional Bureau and DS, and your ACS country officer will help you with the next steps.

c. Once you are approved for PASM and have received confirmation of that from CA/OCS/ACS, you must complete the steps below prior to sending any messages out under PASM.

(1) Post must create a webpage where it will post all messages issued under PASM and put a hyperlink to that page in a prominent, easily-accessible location on posts website.

(2) Post must update its Country Specific Information (CSI) to direct readers where the embassy/consulate will post these messages on its website but no longer routinely send them out via email, (MASCOT). (While PASM does not require it, posts may also continue to send messages via SMS.) To do this, add a line to the Safety and Security section of the CSI that states messages regarding demonstrations and strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, and weather-related events are posted on the embassys (or consulates) website. with a hyperlink to posts webpage.

NOTE: Posts include all Security Messages on post websites, including those that do not qualify for PASM.

(3) Draft a message and SMS text to inform U.S. citizens that the embassy/consulate will not routinely send out (MASCOT) security messages that relate to demonstrations or strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, and weather-related events via email. Instead, the embassy/consulate will post these security messages on its website. The message should note the update to the CSI and include a link to the web page for PASM messages.

(4) Send the message and the SMS text to your CA/OCS/ACS country officer for Department clearance. Once the Department clears this message (and SMS text), send it/them out to enrolled U.S. citizens via MASCOT (and SMS), and publish the message on the webpage post currently uses to display security and emergency messages.

(5) Post should create an archive file to store the messages it issues under the PASM plan. When issuing an urgent message under the PASM plan to ensure real-time notification, Post should consider distribution via MASCOT (and SMS), in addition to posting it on posts PASM webpage.

e. After issuing a message under PASM:

(1) Post is required to send the disseminated message by e-mail to the CA-OCS Warden Message Final collective at CA-OCSWardenMessageFinal@state.gov copying the ACS country officer, noting that the message was issued under PASM using the following language:

Attached is the text of a (Security) Message for U.S. Citizens regarding demonstrations/strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, or weather-related events] issued under PASM. It is posted on our website.

(2) CA/OCS/ACS country officers must review posts each PASM security message to ensure adherence to the PASM policies and templates.

f. Annually, posts should send a message to remind all enrollees where to find PASM messages. Clear this message with your ACS country officer and post it on the webpage post currently uses to display security messages.

g. CA/OCS/ACS country officers will also continuously review possible changing country conditions to determine continuing eligibility to use PASM.

7 FAM 058.5 Emergency Preparedness - Temporary Closure

(CT:CON-658; 04-14-2016)

a. If a security situation requires your post to close to the public (See 12 FAH H-743), you must send a Message to inform the public. CA/OCS will help determine whether the Message should be sent as an Emergency Message or as a Security Message. As in the case of other Messages related to security threats, the Department should clear such a message in all but extraordinarily urgent circumstances. After hours, on weekends, or on holidays, the CA/OCS Duty Officer, accessible through the Departments Operations Center, will coordinate obtaining the clearances from the duty officers of the required bureaus, who will in turn obtain clearances from the bureau principals as necessary. In extremely time-sensitive cases, the Operations Center can conference in all the interested bureaus after hours. (See 7 FAM 053.2-2.) Public Messaging should include the following:

Circumstances that caused the reduced operations/closure, using unclassified and publicly releasable information;

Effective date of reduced services/closure (and time, if post is closing early), and expected re-opening date (and time, if post will be opening late), if known. Also, note days post is already scheduled to be closed because of local holiday/normal weekend closures (e.g., effective date of closure to the public is May 5, with expected re-opening day of May 7. May 6 is a local holiday, and post is scheduled to be closed.);

Sections affected by reduced operations/temporary closure (e.g., passport and visa services, library, and FCS office closed);

Contact information for U.S. citizens if they require emergency American Citizens Services assistance; and

Any provisions made for emergency services to U.S. citizens.

b. Since Messages are a primary method for you to maintain contact with the U.S. citizen/national community in country, posts emergency action plan should incorporate strategies to keep this channel of communication open when post is under a state of emergency or during events such as a temporary closure to the public.

7 FAM 058.6 Message Fatigue

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

Sending out multiple Emergency Messages, Security Messages or Messages about an ongoing non-crisis event can dull the impact of those messages with the audience and lead to Message fatigue. Message fatigue is a constant concern, particularly for a post dealing with significant political violence or instability or frequently occurring severe natural occurrences (e.g., cyclonic storms, minor volcanic or seismic activity). Reduce the frequency of your Messages by including text in your Country Specific Information noting that the activity occurs frequently and/or multiple disruptive events occur in a particular area. For example, demonstrations related to elections or the anniversary of an important event in the country may recur periodically or even annually. Including this type of information in the Country Specific Information will ensure that the public has already had the opportunity to learn about a potentially dangerous place or time to travel and can take preventive action. Security Messages and Emergency Messages are most effective when they cite specific reasons for the message. U.S. citizens should know why they are receiving a Message. It is important for the integrity of the Consular Information Program that posts provide accurate and timely information to U.S. citizens. CA/OCS will normally not approve Security and Emergency Messages that refer to an existing Worldwide Caution without further supporting justification to the U.S. citizen public. Close communication between CA/OCS/ACS country officers, post consular section ACS officers, and Regional Security Officers (RSOs) helps ensure that information that RSOs are providing official U.S. citizens/nationals is the same information that CA/OCS/ACS and consular sections are offering to the non-official community, in keeping with the No Double Standard policy. (See 7 FAM 052.)

7 FAM 058.7 Use Department Language -Dont Paraphrase

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

a. To keep messages brief and accurate, you may wish to remind the local U.S. community of existing and current security or safety information. In such instances, use language from current Travel Alerts, Messages, Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information. This language is already cleared with all relevant Department bureaus and, when appropriate, other Washington organizations. The language reflects the various concerns of the clearing offices. Any change to the language may alter a meaning that a clearing office thought was important. (Note: If the referenced language was cleared more than six months ago, post should contact the CA/OCS/ACS country officer for further direction.)

b. If post intends to disseminate a short message via SMS (text) or social media to non-official U.S. citizens that relates to a new or existing Message, Travel Alert, or Travel Warning, post should submit the text of the SMS/social media message to CA/OCS/ACS for clearance. (See 7 FAM 058.3 above.)

7 FAM 059 FACT SHEETS

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

The Bureau of Consular Affairs also issues Fact Sheets to address specific issues related to the health and safety of U.S. citizens abroad.

Fact Sheet Examples:

Zika Fact Sheet

Ebola Fact Sheet

Hajj Fact Sheet MERS Corona Virus Advisory

Avian Influenza Z (H5N1) and Pandemic Influenza Fact Sheet

Foot and Mouth Disease Fact Sheet

Responding to Radiological and Nuclear Incidents Fact Sheet


7 FAM Exhibit 058.2
U.S. Embassy/Consulate Security/Emergency Message Template

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

United States Embassy/Consulate (Name), (Country)

Security/Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Reason for Message (e.g., Demonstrations)

Date

(Content Paragraph) In this section, post should provide the facts, i.e., the who, what, when, where, and why. Add any other particulars about the demonstration or event. Avoid any commentary or speculation. Be sure to cite the source of information whenever possible.

(Specific guidance for U.S. citizens) If the embassy instructs official personnel to take specific action, and recommends that U.S. citizens consider similar action, include it here.

For demonstrations, include the following: Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

For health issues, include the following: To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website.

For security issues, include the following: Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

For further information about security in [Country]:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and [Country] Country Specific Information.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in [Country], located at [provide address], at + [Phone Number], 0:00 a.m. to 0:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 0:00 a.m. to 00:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is + [Phone Number], or + [Phone Number].

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

7 FAM Exhibit 058.4
SM Pre-Approved Templates

(CT:CON-662; 04-27-2016)

(Any Changes to These Templates Require Department Approval)

Pre-Approved Security Message (PASM) Template for Demonstrations / Strikes:

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City, Country)

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Reason for Message (i.e., Demonstration)

Date

First Paragraph: Clearly list the facts (i.e., what, where, when, who, and any other particulars) of the event. Whenever possible, cite the information source.

The U.S. Embassy (or Consulate) informs U.S. citizens that demonstrations/strikes are expected to take place at (LOCATION) beginning at (TIME) on (DATE). The (GROUP) will be demonstrating with the stated purpose of protesting against the (PURPOSE). The (SOURCE OF INFORMATION) anticipates there will be approximately (XX NUMBER) people.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

For further information about security in [Country]:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and [Country] Country Specific Information.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in [Country], located at [provide address], at + [Phone Number], 0:00 a.m. to 0:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 0:00 a.m. to 00:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +[Phone Number], or + [Phone Number].

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Pre-Approved Security Message (PASM) Template for Explosive Devices / Suspicious Packages:

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City, Country)

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Explosive Device/Suspicious Package

Date

First Paragraph: List clearly the facts (i.e., what, where, when, who, and any other particulars) of the event. Whenever possible, cite the information source.

The U.S. Embassy (or Consulate) alerts U.S. citizens that (AUTHORITIES) discovered a(n) (EXPLOSIVE DEVICE / SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE) at (LOCATION). The Embassy has advised its personnel to avoid (LOCATION) until (TIME).

You should avoid the area, maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and monitor local news stations for updates.

For further information about security in [Country]:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and [Country] Country Specific Information.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in [Country], located at [provide address], at +[Phone Number], 0:00 a.m. to 0:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 0:00 a.m. to 00:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +[Phone Number], or +[Phone Number].

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Pre-Approved Security (PASM) Template for Weather-related Events

U.S. Embassy/Consulate (City, Country)

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Weather-related Event

Date

First Paragraph: List clearly the facts (i.e., what, where, when, who, and any other particulars) of the event. Whenever possible, cite the information source.

The U.S. Embassy (or Consulate) cautions U.S. citizens that (Category X) (Cyclone/Hurricane (Name) is expected to make landfall near (LOCATION) at approximately (TIME) on (DATE). The (GROUP) has issued a warning for the following areas (provide cities.) Expect extremely high winds, dangerous storm tides, heavy rainfall, and possible flooding to occur.

(Add any additional information provided by local authorities, and useful Internet links.)

All U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the area should monitor local weather reports, follow directions from local officials, and take other appropriate actions as needed.

For further information about security in [Country]:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and [Country] Country Specific Information.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in [Country], located at [provide address], at + [Phone Number], 0:00 a.m. to 0:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 0:00 a.m. to 00:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +[Phone Number], or + [Phone Number].

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).