The level of classification denotes the degree of protection required for information and the amount of damage that unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause to national security. Unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause (1) “damage,” in the case of confidential information; (2) “serious damage,” in the case of secret information; and (3) “exceptionally grave damage,” in the case of top secret information.
- Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information, §1.3 (Apr. 17, 1995) (as amended), 5 C.F.R. §1312.4 (2008).
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