News Releases

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Isakson Joins Effort to Secure Classified Information

Co-sponsors legislation to prohibit use of private email accounts, servers at State Department

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined U.S. Senators David Perdue, R-Ga., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in introducing the Securing Our Secrets Act of 2016 to prohibit all State Department officials from using private email accounts and servers to handle sensitive and classified information.

“It should be common sense that classified information should never be shared over private email,” said Isakson. “Unfortunately, in light of revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a private email account and server and subsequently mishandled classified information, the Securing Our Secrets Act is necessary to ensure that our national security will not be compromised again. I urge my colleagues to immediately pass this critical legislation to hold the State Department accountable and to see to it that our country’s sensitive information is safe.”

Specifically, the Securing Our Secrets Act of 2016:

  • Prohibits the use of non-governmental information systems:
    • Prohibits the use of non-agency owned and managed electronic communications systems and non-governmental email accounts for all work-related communications, unless using such a system fits the criteria for a national security waiver.  
    • Instructs State Department’s Inspector General to complete an oversight plan to ensure all work-related communications are in compliance.
  • Prevents information leaks:
    • Requires certain diplomatic security agents to receive training in properly identifying classified information.
    • Implements random, quarterly email samples to check for classified information spillage, which will be audited by the Inspector General.
  • Improves security training:
    • Requires all employees with security clearances to immediately complete additional training on handling classified information.
    • Implements an annual training program on how to prevent the mishandling of classified information.
  • Streamlines electronic archiving:
    • Creates a new training program on how to archive electronic communications.
    • Ensures sworn affidavits are received annually to certify all required documents have been archived accordingly.
    • Requires State Department officials in charge of Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests be trained on identifying classified information and coordinating reviews with the intelligence community.
  • Increases oversight:
    • Requires the State Department to submit an annual report to Congress on all security violations and the Department’s response to those security violations.