Official Secrets

Defence written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the process is for the management and control of classified information; and which Minister is responsible for classified information.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

The process for controlling and managing classified information is as follows:

The Ministry of Defence (MOD), in common with other Government Departments, operates a filing system which makes extensive use of registered files. Each file relates to a particular subject, or aspect of a subject, and has a unique identifying reference (normally an alpha/numeric combination).

Material of any classification (from RESTRICTED up to TOP SECRET) which is deemed worthy of retention on a registered file is placed on the file as soon as possible. MOD uses a system of colour coded file covers to denote the different file classifications.

A record is kept of the creation, reproduction, receipt, despatch, movements or disposal of all information marked SECRET and TOP SECRET in an appropriate register held locally by each branch/directorate within the MOD.

Regular, efficient inspections of registers and random spot checks of classified information and registered files constitute the main safeguards of classified information.

These principles apply equally to classified information held on MOD's IT systems.

The Minister for the Armed Forces is responsible for the protection of classified information.

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