The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.
An internal memo from DHS headquarters told workers on Friday that viewing the document from an “unclassified government workstation” could lead to administrative or legal action. “You may be violating your non-disclosure agreement in which you sign that you will protect classified national security information,” the communication said.
The memo said workers who view the article through an unclassified workstation should report the incident as a “classified data spillage.”
The NSA is a Defense Department agency, meaning it does not fall under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. It was not immediately clear whether all federal agencies released similar warnings to their employees.
Below is the full text of the memo:
From: LARSEN, MARK R
Sent: Friday, July 12, 2013 9:50 AM
Subject: SECURITY ALERT ***Washington Post Article***
FYSA…From DHS HQ
Per the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center:
There is a recent article on the Washington Post’s Website that has a clickable link titled “The NSA Slide you never seen” that must not be opened on an Unclassified government workstation. This link opens up a classified document which will raise the classification level of your Unclassified workstation to the classification of the slide which is reported to be TS/NF.
If opened on an Unclassified system, you are obligated to report this to the SSO as a Classified Data Spillage (Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> >).
Again, please exercise good judgment when visiting these webpages and clicking on such links. You may be violating your Non-Disclosure Agreement in which you sign that you will protect Classified National Security Information. You may be subject to any administrative or legal action from the Government.