Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreements

T-NSIAD-88-44: Published: Aug 10, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1988.

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GAO discussed executive agencies' use of nondisclosure agreements. GAO found that: (1) intelligence agencies required individuals with access to sensitive compartmented information to sign standardized nondisclosure agreements; (2) due to the large number of employees involved, usually only newly cleared persons were required to sign an agreement before receiving access to classified information; (3) the Department of Defense uses an annual refresher briefing to update agreements for individuals with existing clearances; and (4) although the President suspended a prepublication review provision, agencies still required employees to sign the review forms. GAO also found that: (1) 2.5 million government employees had signed the standard nondisclosure form as of December 31, 1987; (2) the total number of contractor employees who signed the form was unknown; (3) over 500,000 employees signed nondisclosure agreements requiring prepublication reviews; and (4) federal employees signed 43,000 standard forms and 6,000 nondisclosure forms between December 22, 1987 and March 31, 1988, due to a moratorium on the use of nondisclosure agreements containing objectionable items. In addition, GAO found that: (1) agencies referred about 30 percent of the unauthorized disclosures to the Department of Justice in 1984, 32 percent in 1985, 53 percent in 1986, and 60 percent in 1987; and (2) agencies did not know how many employees who signed the nondisclosure agreements made disclosures.

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