Intelligence community gets new reciprocity directive

A new directive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) establishes policies for how the intelligence community should handle reciprocity between its agencies related to security clearances and access to sensitive compartmented information.

The new directive explains the intelligence community’s personnel security standards and procedures for accessing sensitive compartmented information and other controlled access program information. The document, Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 704, also explains ODNI's responsibility for overseeing the program through which eligibility determinations are made.

The ICD and several associated guidance documents signed in October rescind a directive, published in 1998, and subsequent policy memorandums associated with the legacy directive.

The new directive requires intelligence agencies to use – with limited exceptions – the same database to track the level of sensitive compartmented information that employees are allowed to access. A 2006 policy memorandum from ODNI also listed the database, named Scattered Castles, as the authoritative repository for all clearance and sensitive compartmented information eligibility information.

Scattered Castles has been used by agencies since 2001 and is hosted on the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. Agencies can exclude from the repository records for some personnel and programs because of security or mission concerns.

The directive and the associated guidance comes as the intelligence community continues to implement and codify provisions of a 2004 law that reorganized the intelligence community, called for the establishment of the ODNI and mandated security clearance and access determination reciprocity between agencies.

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said the underlying theme of most of ODNI’s policy issuances is to get the intelligence agencies to behave more like a unified community.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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