Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

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In United States military, security and intelligence parlance, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced "skiff") is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information. SCI is classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control systems established by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is secure. Access to SCIFs is normally limited to those with clearance.[1] Non-cleared personnel in SCIF must be under constant oversight to prevent unauthorized access to classified material;[2] as part of this process, non-cleared personnel are typically required to surrender recording and other electronic devices.[3] All of the activity and conversation inside is presumed restricted from public disclosure. A SCIF can also be located in an air, ground or maritime vehicle, or can be established on a temporary basis at a specific site.

The physical construction, access control, and alarming of the facility has been defined by various directives, including Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs) 1/21 and 6/9, and most recently (2011) by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 705, signed by the Director of National Intelligence. ICD 705 is a three page document that implements Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) 705.1. Computers operating within such a facility must conform to rules established by ICD 503. Computers and telecommunication equipment within must conform to TEMPEST emanations specification as directed by a Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA).

SCI is usually only briefed, discussed, and stored in an accredited SCIF. Moreover, programs used for SCI are normally not acknowledged publicly by the U.S. government.

Popular Culture[edit]

  • The Drop Dead Diva episode, Desperate Housewife, shows a SCIF being used by the US government to convey information to a judge while preventing the defendants in a trial from hearing the information.
  • In the episode The Bit Bucket of The Good Wife a SCIF is used by the NSA to convey information to a judge while preventing the defendants in a trial from hearing the information. Later in the episode the defendants' lawyers use the SCIF to argue without the NSA's lawyer present.
  • In the Criminal Minds episodes Lauren and Valhalla, a SCIF in Quantico is used to hold a briefing between the Behavioral Analysis Unit and a private counterintelligence group.

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