Title: ConSIDer This: What Does It Mean to Downgrade COMINT?

Description: Explanation of the process of downgrading information’s classification level and who at NSA performs the downgrading task.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U//FOUO) ConSIDer This: What Does It Mean to Downgrade
COMINT?
FROM: SIGINT Communications
Unknown
Run Date: 08/05/2003
(C//SI) Downgrading is often confused with sanitization:
Sanitization is carried out in order to make COMINT information releasable outside of
COMINT channels (e.g., making it straight SECRET).
Downgrading, by contrast, does not involve taking material out of COMINT channels -the information stays either within or outside of COMINT channels, and that aspect of it
does not change. The only change is to the classification level. So, for example, changing
text from TS//SI to S//SI would be a downgrade, as would changing TOP SECRET
information to SECRET. In order to downgrade COMINT, a plausible cover (i.e., collection
from a less sensitive source) must exist.
(U//FOUO) The downgrading of U.S. COMINT is performed only by:
an Original Classification Authority (OCA) at NSA, in coordination with the Information
Security Policy office (DC322), or
personnel tasked specifically with the formal review and declassification of cryptologic
materials. (These are typically contractors working to comply with E.O. 12958, and does
not include anyone in the SIGINT Directorate below the level of OCA.)

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

Document Date: 2003-08-05

Release Date: 2016-05-16

Article Link: https://theintercept.com/snowden-sidtoday/

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