Saturday, March 20, 2021

What security classification level does the U.S. Department of Defense assign to information about UAP?

Christian Lambright

Blog readers may recall, that back in 2019 U.S. researcher Christian Lambright submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for documents relating to the November 2004 U.S.S. Nimitz incidents. Later that year, Christian received a final response from ONI, which in part read:

"We have discovered certain briefing slides that are classified TOP SECRET...We have also determined that ONI possesses a video classified SECRET that ONI is not the Original Classification Authority for. ONI has forwarded your request to Naval Air Systems Command to make a determination on releasability..."

So, at least in relation to the 2004 Nimitz incidents, certain briefing slides are classified TOP SECRET and one video is SECRET. Below are images of part of the ONI response letter. 


On 27 April 2020, the DoD released copies of three declassified videos, namely FLIR, Gimbal and Go Fast. The official DoD release, in part, read:

"The Department of Defense has authorized the release of three unclassified Navy videos, one taken in November 2004 and the other two in January 2015. The released videos can be found at the Naval Air Systems Command FOIA Reading Room."


In order to release these three videos the DoD would have looked at their previous security classification system and declassified them, to "unclassified." Note that the OCA is Naval Air Systems Command, the same location in the Navy specified in the 2019 ONI statement, where it stated that it had located a video classified SECRET relating to the U.S.S. Nimitiz 2004 incident. Could it be that this SECRET video is in fact one of either FLIR, Gimbal or Go Fast? Or is it yet another Navy video? We just don't know. 

Marc Cecotti's research 

In a 13 March 2021 blog post, French researcher Marc Cecotti revealed details of internal U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) emails concerning Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about UAP.

In one email, dated 10 July 2020, from Joseph Gradisher, N2N6 Strategic Engagements U.S. Navy; to Jeffrey Jones COMNAVSAFECEN, Deputy Director for Safety Priorities; part of the email read:

"Additionally, there is now a Security Classification Guidance document (at the SECRET) level, that addresses the UAP issue and what may/may not be discussed publicly."

What is a Security Classification Guidance document?

On the Internet I located a PDF document titled "Security Classification Guidance, Student Guide" a course designed for this who need to write/know about these guides. I will cite relevant portions of this document.

"When an Original Classification Authority or OCA, determines that information must be classified, he or she must also develop security classification guidance to communicate that determination to others."

"Develop clear and precise security classification guidance is critical because it ensures that all users of the information treat it consistently and protect it properly."

"Security classification guidance is any instruction or source that sets out the classification of a system, plan, program, mission or project."

Documents you can read 

The U.S. DoD has DoD Instruction 5200.01"DoD Information Security Program and Protection of Sensitive Compartmented Information" or SCI which establishes the general framework and responsibilities for DoD implementers of national policy a on classified national security information.

DoD manual 5200.01 Volumes one through three "DoD Information Security Program" is authorized from the above instruction.

DoD Manual 5200.45 "Instructions for Developing Security Classification Guides" provides detailed information on how to develop Security Classification guidance.

Back to the student guide

"The original classification decision is communicated through a Security Classification Guide or SCG. The SCG covers the specific item requiring classification, the classification level assigned, reason for classification and declassification instructions."

Speaking about SCG's it goes on to say that:

"To maximize usability for the greatest number of individuals, the guide should be unclassified...For some programs, however, they may need to be classified..."


Gradisher's email dated 10 July 2020 to Jeffrey Jones states "...there is now a Security Classification Guidance document (at the SECRET) level..." Thus it would appear that this particular SCG is not unclassified, and is in fact classified at the SECRET level.

The Black Vault

In an article on The Black Vault dated, 13 March 2021,  about this UAP SCG,  John Greenewald wrote:

"The other great revelation with the email is the admission that a "Security Classification Guide" or SCG exists for the UAP topic. On a hunch, The Black Vault filed for this very document back in January 2021, and requests for the SCG remain open to both the Navy and OSD."

I am aware of at least one other, non-American, researcher who has submitted an FOIA request for this SCG.

We await the results of the FOIA requests for a copy of the DoD SCG which relates to UAP. 

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