The U.S. Government has negotiated agreements
with many foreign countries regarding the protection of classified information. These
agreements commit the United States to provide substantially the same degree of protection
for foreign classified information as it provides to U.S. information classified at the
When contractors are awarded contracts that
involve access to foreign classified information, they shall notify the U.S. government
agency that monitors their security compliance. That agency will then administer oversight
and ensure implementation of the security requirements of the contract on behalf of the
Some additional requirements pertaining to
foreign government information are given below.1
Marking Foreign Government Classified
Material: Foreign government designations for classified information generally
parallel U. S. security classification designations. However,
some foreign governments have a fourth level of classification, Restricted,
for which there is no equivalent U.S. classification. This information is to
be protected and marked as Confidential information. When other foreign
government material is received, the equivalent U.S. classification and the
country of origin shall be marked on the front in English.
Marking U.S. Documents That Contain
Foreign Government Information: U.S. documents that contain foreign government
information shall be marked on the front, "THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS FOREIGN GOVERNMENT
(indicate level) INFORMATION." The portions of the document that contain foreign
classified information shall be identified and marked to identify the classification level
and the country of origin. No U.S. document shall be downgraded below the highest level of
foreign government information contained in the document, nor shall it be declassified
without the written approval of the foreign government that originated the information.
Marking Documents Prepared for
Foreign Governments: Documents prepared for foreign governments that contain U.S.
and foreign government information shall be marked as prescribed by the foreign
government. In addition, they shall be marked on the front, "THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS
UNITED STATES CLASSIFIED INFORMATION." Portions shall be marked to identify the U.S.
Personnel security clearances and facility clearances issued by the U.S. Government are
valid for access to classified foreign government information of a corresponding level.
Contractor employees will be briefed and acknowledge in writing their responsibilities for
handling foreign government information prior to being granted access.
Storage, Control, and Accountability:
Foreign government material shall be stored and access controlled generally in the same
manner as U.S. classified material of an equivalent classification, with one significant
exception. Other governments and NATO have not lessened the accountability requirements
for their Secret information. Therefore, we are required to provide a greater degree of
control over foreign government Secret information. There must be records reflecting
the transfer of responsibility and accountability of foreign Secret information.2 Also, foreign government material shall be stored in a manner
that will avoid commingling with U.S. classified information. For example, it should be
stored in separate files.
Disclosure and Use Limitations: Foreign
government information shall not be disclosed to nationals of a third country, including
intending citizens, or to any other third party, or be used for other than the purpose for
which it was provided, without the prior written consent of the originating foreign
Export of Foreign Government
Information: An export authorization is required for the export or re-export of
export-controlled foreign government information except for technical data being returned
to the original source of import. Foreign government information shall not be exported to
a third party without the prior consent of the originating government.
Public Disclosure: The
public disclosure of foreign government information requires the prior written approval of
the contracting foreign government.
reproduction of foreign government Top Secret information requires the written approval of
the originating government.
Disposition: Upon completion
of a contract, foreign government information shall be returned to the responsible U.S.
Government agency or to the foreign government that provided the information unless the
contract specifically authorizes destruction or retention of the information.
Related Topics: Classification Guidelines and Distribution
Marking Classified Information.
1. This is an abbreviated version of National Industrial Security
Program Operating Manual, paragraphs 10-300 to 10-317.
2. DSS Industrial Security Letter 96L-1, International Issues,
March 13, 1996, paragraph 8.