What Is Cnwdi?
The National Security Information System
The degree of confidentiality about the information is known as its sensitivity. The damage to national security that the release of the information would cause is the basis for sensitivity. The United States has three levels of classification.
The degree of sensitivity increases with each level of classification. One can handle information up to the level of Top Secret if they have a Top Secret security clearance. Even though Top Secret clearance allows one to access some information, it does not allow for all of it.
Access requires clearance for the sensitive information as well as a legitimate need to get it. All US military pilots are required to get a Secret clearance, but they can only access documents related to their orders. The Department of Energy requires a Q clearance to access Top Secret Restricted Data, Formerly Restricted Data, and National Security Information.
The L clearance is sufficient for access to the formerly restricted data. Access to Restricted Data is granted on a need-to-know basis to personnel with appropriate clearances. A person can still hold both a Q clearance and a TS, but they don't need to spend as much.
Q and L are equivalent to Top Secret. The Single Scope Background Investigation is also included. The reliability of the polygraph is controversial, but some compartments may need a polygraph examination.