Statement on the Issuance of a Presidential Directive Concerning the Protection of Classified
National Security Council and Intelligence Information
January 12, 1982
Unauthorized disclosure of classified information under the jurisdiction of the National Security
Council and of classified intelligence reports is a problem of major proportions within the U.S.
Government. The Constitution of the United States provides for the protection of individual rights
and liberties, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but it also requires that
government functions be discharged efficiently and effectively, especially where the national
security is involved. As President of the United States, I am responsible for honoring both
constitutional requirements, and I intend to do so in a balanced and careful manner. I do not
believe, however, that the Constitution entitles Government employees, entrusted with
confidential information critical to the functioning and effectiveness of the Government, to
disclose such information with impunity. Yet this is precisely the situation we have. It must not be
allowed to continue.
To this end, I hereby establish and direct implementation of the following policies.
Contacts with the Media
All contacts with any element of the news media in which classified National Security Council
matters or classified intelligence information are discussed will require the advance approval of a
senior official. An administrative memorandum will be prepared as soon as possible after the
contact, recording the subjects discussed and all information provided to the media
The unauthorized disclosure of classified National Security Council information, documents, and
deliberations requires further control to limit access and to ensure an accurate record of those
who have had access. The number of officials with access to documents relating to NSC matters
will be kept to the minimum essential to the orderly conduct of the Government's business.
The Government's lack of success in identifying the sources of unauthorized disclosure of
classified National Security Council information and documents of classified intelligence
information must be remedied and appropriate disciplinary measures taken. Henceforth, in the
event of unauthorized disclosure of such information, Government employees who have had
access to that information will be subject to investigation, to include the use of all legal
Applicability and Implementation
The provisions of this directive shall be effective immediately and shall apply to all employees of,
and elements within agencies participating in the National Security Council system, including the
Executive Office of the President. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs is
directed to establish the detailed procedures to implement policies.