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The U.S. is just beginning an investigative process that may be more significant than any series of events since Watergate or Iran-Contra.
Events unfolding may have a major impact on the policy making apparatus and the balance of power inside the Beltway, as well as have profound global implications.
In all of this, almost without question, we will see effects on market pricing, cross-border transit, and international flash points. All three will have pervasive results for the energy sector.
But we are at a very early stage in all of this. So today I thought it useful to broaden our usual discussion and share, from personal experience, what actually happens when one employs a facility that is being bandied about these days.
I'm talking about the term "scif" (pronounced "skiff"). It's been prominent in the news because of actions by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (reviewing documents on the White House grounds) and public interest in how the relevant congressional committees (the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) review and oversee secure files.
Scifs Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Scif is an acronym for "Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility." The phrase initially emerged in the military, but is also widely used to designate a range of applications in the intelligence and law enforcement arenas.
My more than two decades of involvement in the intelligence community meant that I regularly had access to such facilities. They take a variety of forms. Sometimes a scif would be little more than a guarded shipping container with a safe (the "bare walls" version likely to require short notice movement and found in very fluid or front-line conflict operations).
Other times, I would find myself in a high tech "bubble room" in the most secure part of an embassy somewhere or a situation room back home. Here, the entire enclosure would be on springs and windows (if there were any) would have specially treated blinds. Both were there to prevent outsiders from using vibrations as a way of detecting conversations.
Despite such differences in appearance, there are three elements all scifs have in common…
Every Scif Has These Three Features
First, there is controlled access and usage. The facility is only for the review of classified documents by designated individuals and/or for secure meetings of authorized and named persons.
Second, nothing is ever taken out or brought in by those reviewing the documents. Put simply, using your attaché case to take papers out for further review at home or to bring in material not part of the material catalogued for secure review is a violation of federal law (18 U.S. Code §1924). You are not even allowed to take out handwritten notes personally made during reviewing documents within such a facility.
I was often searched coming in or going out. So was everybody else, regardless of rank. There is a pressing national se…
About the Author
Dr. Kent Moors is an internationally recognized expert in oil and natural gas policy, risk assessment, and emerging market economic development. He serves as an advisor to many U.S. governors and foreign governments. Kent details his latest global travels in his free Oil & Energy Investor e-letter. He makes specific investment recommendations in his newsletter, the Energy Advantage. For more active investors, he issues shorter-term trades in his Energy Inner Circle.