The Director of National Intelligence last month issued a revised Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, also known as Standard Form 312 or SF 312. It is a binding legal agreement that must be signed by each of the nearly 5 million people who are cleared for access to classified information. It affirms that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information “could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States” and “may constitute a violation… of United States criminal laws.”
The revised SF312 includes some language that did not appear in previous versions of the Form. All of paragraph 10 and portions of paragraph 11 are new, as are references to the 2009 executive order 13526 on classification. But these passages mainly reflect newly enacted statutes such as the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and do not themselves impose any new obligations.
What is perhaps more significant is the fact that for the first time the new Nondisclosure Agreement was issued by the Director of National Intelligence rather than the Information Security Oversight Office, as in the past. It is an expression of the DNI’s elevated status as Security Executive Agent that was assigned to him by the 2008 executive order 13467.
As Security Executive Agent, the DNI is responsible for security policy not only in the Intelligence Community but across the executive branch. He now sets policies governing access to classified information — eligibility, background investigations, clearances, reciprocal recognition, and so forth — for employees of all government agencies. And effective immediately, all personnel who are cleared for access to classified information will be expected to sign the DNI-prescribed non-disclosure form even if their work is unrelated to intelligence.
Also last month, the DNI issued a new directive that “establishes a framework for Intelligence Community (IC) engagement with intelligence customers in the executive branch of the U.S. Government.” See Intelligence Community Directive 404 on Executive Branch Intelligence Customers, July 22, 2013.