Sensitive Compartmented Information

What Does Sensitive Compartmented Information Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Sensitive Compartmented 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.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.