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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
November 15, 2013
Why We Did This Review
We evaluated the
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA's) classified
national security information
practices as required by
Section 6(b)(1) of the
Reducing Over-Classification
Act. In this report, we reviewed
a sample of documents
classified by the EPA to
determine the appropriateness
of the classification decisions
and markings.
Information may be classified
so that it is protected against
unauthorized disclosure in the
interest of national security.
Such information must be
appropriately marked to
indicate its classified status.
Original classification means
the initial determination to
classify is made by an original
classification authority, and for
the EPA the Administrator
serves as the sole original
classification authority.
Others can classify information
derivatively on the basis of
classified source documents or
classification guides.
This report addresses the
following EPA theme:
 Embracing EPA as a
high performing organization.
For further information,
contact our public affairs office
at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
EPA Does Not Adequately Follow National
Security Information Classification Standards
What We Found
Our review of both originally and derivatively
classified documents generated by three offices
found that the EPA does not sufficiently follow
national security information classification standards.
EPA's national security
information could be
improperly classified
without improved
Of the two originally classified documents we reviewed, portions of one needed
different classification levels and the other contained numerical data that was
incorrectly transferred from another document. The National Homeland Security
Research Center in the Office of Research and Development agreed to correct
the documents. We also noted that the approved classification guide and the
three guides under review had narrow scopes, which limits their usefulness. The
three proposed guides have been in the approval process for 12 months when it
must take no more than 30 days. Additionally, the declassification process
needs clarity since the one pending declassification request has also been in the
approval process for almost a year when it should take no more than 60 days.
None of the 19 derivatively classified documents we reviewed completely met
the requirements of Executive Order 13526 and the implementing regulations.
The derivative classifiers did not include some required information and did not
correctly transfer information from the source documents. As a result, those who
later access the information may not know how to protect it or be able to
properly identify or use it as a source for their own derivative decision. A lack of
training for derivative classifiers and incorrect information in the annual refresher
training given to all clearance holders contributed to the classification problems
noted. The EPA had not promptly updated guidance. Not all cleared employees
who needed an element relating to designation and management of classified
information as part of their performance evaluation had such an element.
Recommendations and Planned Corrective Actions
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration
and Resources Management assist EPA organizations to correct originally and
derivatively classified documents as needed, improve training, and develop a
process to address declassification requests. We recommend that the Assistant
Administrator for the Office of Research and Development submit a single,
unclassified classification guide for approval. The action officials identified
corrective actions for all the recommendations, and with one exception,
identified milestones to complete the actions. We recommend that the Associate
Administrator for the Office of Homeland Security, working with others, develop
a process for approving classification guides since its reviews were delaying the
process. This recommendation is unresolved because the action official did not
concur; resolution will begin immediately upon issuance of the report.