In the most recent dispatch of cryptogram, Bruce Schneier described his experience with briefing Congress on NSA activities back in January. One part of this in particular struck me as absolutely ridiculous:
Surreal part of setting up this meeting: I suggested that we hold this meeting in a SCIF, because they wanted me to talk about top-secret documents that had not been made public. The problem is that I, as someone without a clearance, would not be allowed into the SCIF. So we had to have the meeting in a regular room.
SCIF is a U.S. government acronym for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. Basically an area that is enclosed and protected in such a way as to thwart eavesdroppers and the like. The fact that this brief couldn’t occur in one because one of the participants didn’t have a security clearance is ludicrous.
You’d think that congress might have, you know, a SCIF with guest access? Seems even our own government is without proper protections of their confidentiality.