6 CFR § 7.21 - Classification of information, limitations.

§ 7.21 Classification of information, limitations.

(a) Information may be originally classified only if all of the following standards are met:

(1) An original classification authority is classifying the information;

(2) The information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government;

(3) The information falls within one or more of the categories of information specified in section 1.4 of Executive Order 13526; and

(4) The original classification authority determines that the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to cause identifiable and describable damage to the national security.

(b) Information shall be classified as Top Secret, Secret, or Confidential in accordance with and in compliance with the standards and criteria in Executive Order 13526. No other terms shall be used to identify United States classified information except as otherwise provided by statute.

(c) If there is significant doubt about the need to classify information it shall not be classified. If classification is warranted but there is significant doubt about the appropriate level of classification it shall be classified at the lower level.

(d) Original classification decisions made by a DHS original classification authority shall be incorporated into a security classification guide in a timely manner but no later than one year from the date of the original decision. Such decisions shall be reported to the Office of the Chief Security Officer, Administrative Security Division, within thirty days following the original classification decision.

(e) All DHS security classification guides shall be coordinated through and receive the concurrence of the Office of the Chief Security Officer, Administrative Security Division, prior to approval and publication by an original classification authority.

(f) Information shall not be classified in order to:

(1) Conceal inefficiency, violations of law, or administrative error;

(2) Prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

(3) Restrain competition;

(4) Prevent or delay release of information that does not require protection in the interest of national security.

(g) Information may not be reclassified after it has been declassified and released to the public under proper authority unless:

(1) The reclassification is approved in writing by the Secretary based on a document-by-document determination that the reclassification of the information is required to prevent significant and demonstrable damage to the national security;

(2) The reclassification of the information meets the standards and criteria for classification pursuant to Executive Order 13526;

(3) The information may be reasonably recovered without bringing undue attention to the information; and

(4) The reclassification action is reported promptly to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) and the Director of ISOO.

(5) For documents in the physical and legal custody of the National Archives and Records Administration that have previously been made available for public use and determined to warrant reclassification per paragraphs (g)(1) through (4) of this section, the Secretary shall notify the Archivist of the United States, who shall suspend public access pending approval by the Director of ISOO. Any such decision made by the Director of ISOO may be appealed by the Secretary to the President through the National Security Advisor.

(h) Information that has not previously been disclosed to the public under proper authority may be classified or reclassified after DHS has received a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2204(c)(1), the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), or the mandatory review provisions of Executive Order 13526, section 3.5. When it is necessary to classify or reclassify such information, it shall be done so on a document-by-document basis with the personal participation of and under the direction of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary.

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