Secrecy News

Air Force SAP Policy Limits Congressional Contacts

The Air Force issued updated guidance (pdf) last week concerning its highly classified special access programs, including new language prohibiting unauthorized communications with Congress.

Special access programs (SAPs) involve access and safeguarding restrictions that are more extensive than those that apply to other classified programs. SAPs are nominally established “to protect the Nation’s most sensitive capabilities, information, technologies and operations.”

The new Air Force guidance emphatically limits contacts with Congress concerning SAPs.

“It is strictly forbidden for any employee of the Air Force or any appropriately accessed organization or company to brief or provide SAP material to any Congressional Member or staff without DoD SAPCO [Special Access Program Central Office] approval.  Additionally, the Director, SAF/AAZ will be kept informed of any interaction with Congress.”  See Air Force Policy Directive 16-7, “Special Access Programs,” December 29, 2010.