Intelligence is Secure at Hoover Building, FBI Says

07.11.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

All intelligence and other sensitive information at the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building is properly safeguarded, the FBI says.

A June 23 Senate Appropriations Committee report, cited by Secrecy News on July 7, had stated: “The Hoover Building does not meet the Interagency Security Committee’s criteria for a secure Federal facility capable of handling intelligence and other sensitive information.”

That statement is basically true, an FBI spokesman wrote in response to an inquiry from Eric Umansky of ProPublica, the new investigative journalism organization.

But he said it doesn’t mean that FBI intelligence information is not secure.

“The Interagency Security Committee (ISC) criteria deal only with physical security of federal facilities. The J. Edgar Hoover Building, which is a GSA-owned federal building, does not meet the ISC (physical security) criteria, in terms of standoff distance and other blast mitigation measures. These criteria do not have anything to do with information security or handling intelligence or sensitive information,” wrote FBI Assistant Director Patrick G. Findlay to Mr. Umansky.

“From an information security standpoint, FBI information is secure,” Mr. Findlay wrote. “All intelligence and sensitive information are properly safeguarded and classified information is properly contained, to include being processed and/or discussed in accredited SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) space.”

Despite the Senate Committee’s peculiar reference to “handling intelligence and other sensitive information,” the Committee was only discussing building security at the FBI and not information security, a Committee spokeswoman told Mr. Umansky.