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Sensitive compartmented information (SCI) is information that needs extra protection above a top-secret security clearance level. SCI can come from various sources and has to have special handling, which involves controls to access. These controls are put in place by the head of the CIA, known as the director of central intelligence (DCI).
Only those with a special designation - obtained via a single scope background investigation (SSBI) - will be able to view SCI.
Sensitive compartmented information is often called codeword information.
People who need to come into contact with information that is classified for their jobs will usually require a security clearance. The level of clearance needed equals the security rating of the materials the person will be permitted to view. The security rating an employee receives will dictate the highest-classified information to which they may gain access.
SCI material must be kept in a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a set of procedures for the establishment of SCIFs.