Security of Case Files at Office of Special Counsel

FPCD-79-83: Published: Aug 1, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1979.

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The Office of Special Counsel is required to maintain the confidentiality of whistleblowers. An evaluation was made of the physical security procedures currently used for controlling access to case files.

There was evidence that the case files were not being protected adequately from unauthorized access. GAO believed that immediate steps should be taken to strengthen the physical security of the case files.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: In order to assure that the confidentiality of material in case files is protected, the Office of Special Counsel should take the following steps: (1) develop written security procedures for the physical protection and control of all case files, giving special attention to those files containing confidential information; (2) do not allow employees who work in the file room but do not need for access to the case files to have a key to the file room; (3) place file cabinet keys in a secure container, preferably in a room other than the file room; (4) have a form for each file cabinet that shows the date and time the file was opened, and by whom, as well as a magnetic open/closed sign attached to each file that will show whether the cabinet was locked; (5) use a protection sheet or stamp on the outside of all case files containing confidential information so that these files can be quickly identified if misplaced; (6) do not give cleaning personnel keys to the file room; and (7) display a form on or near the file cabinets showing the name, address, and telephone number of the individual to be notified in emergency situations.

    Agency Affected:

 

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