49 CFR § 8.5 - Definitions.

§ 8.5 Definitions.

As used in this part:

Authorized holder is any individual who has been granted access to specific classified information in accordance with Executive Order 13526 or any successor order.

Classification means the act or process by which information is determined to be classified information.

Classification levels means the following three levels at which information may be classified:

(a) Top secret. Information that requires the highest degree of protection, and the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.

(b) Secret. Information that requires a substantial degree of protection, and the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.

(c) Confidential. Information that requires protection and the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.

Classified information or “classified national security information” means information that has been determined under Executive Order 13526, or any predecessor or successor order, to require protection against unauthorized disclosure, and is marked to indicate its classified status when in documentary form.

Clearance means that an individual is eligible, under the standards of Executive Orders 10450, 12968, 13467, and appropriate DOT regulations, for access to classified information.

Damage to the national security means harm to the national defense or foreign relations of the United States from the unauthorized disclosure of information, taking into consideration such aspects of the information as the sensitivity, value, utility, and provenance of that information.

Declassification means the authorized change in the status of information from classified information to unclassified information.

Downgrading means a determination by a declassification authority that information classified and safeguarded at a specific level shall be classified and safeguarded at a lower level.

Information means any knowledge that can be communicated, or documentary material, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, that is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government. “Control” means the authority of the agency that originates information, or its successor in function, to regulate access to the information.

Mandatory declassification review means the review for declassification of classified information in response to a request for declassification that meets the requirements of section 3.5 of Executive Order 13526.

Original classification means an initial determination that information requires, in the interest of national security, protection against unauthorized disclosure.

Original classification authority means an individual authorized in writing, either by the President, the Vice President, or by agency heads or other officials designated by the President, to classify information in the first instance.

[62 FR 23661, May 1, 1997, as amended at 81 FR 45980, July 15, 2016]

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