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National Security Office

What is Classified Information?

"Classified Information is any information or material which has been determined to require protection against unauthorized disclosure and which has been so designated by security classification with the formalities and requirements envisaged by law". By information we should understand "any knowledge that may be transmitted, presented or stored in any form".

What is the NSO?

- History:

The National Security Office (in Spanish Oficina Nacional de Seguridad or ONS) was established in 1983 within the intelligence service as a working body for the CNI Director to assist him in the discharge of his duties related to the protection of Classified Information. The NSO has the function of ensuring the compliance with the rules on protection of both national Classified Information and that information handed over to the civil service or to the companies under the international Treaties or Agreements signed by Spain (article 4 f of the 11/2002 Act of 6 May regulating the CNI).

- Most important missions:

1. To reach Agreements for the protection of Classified Information. Any exchange of Classified Information with a third country or international organization requires a prior document establishing the essential rules that will regulate such exchange and its applicable procedures. As far as Spain is concerned, these Agreements must be previously authorized by the Spanish Parliament as envisaged by article 94 of the Spanish Constitution.

2. To attend Committees and Working Groups. The NSO represents Spain at international level in many forums, either to analyze or agree on several regulations on the protection of Classified Information (EU, ESA, MISWG, OCCAR, NATO …) or to establish the most appropriate security procedures to be applied in a classified program or contract.

3. To stablish relation vith other National Security Authorities. Due to the multiple missions the National Security Authority has been entrusted with, this Office maintains close relations with other third countries’ National Security Authorities who, as well as the NSO, are in charge of ensuring that foreign classified information handled within their own territory, as well as their national classified information handled abroad, is afforded appropriate protection. Likewise, this Office maintains a fluid relation with the Security Offices in charge of ensuring the protection of classified information belonging to several international organizations holding such kind of information.

4. To issue Personal Security Clearances (PSC) (refer to Personnel Security).

5. To issue Facility Security Clearances (FSC) (refer to Industrial Security).

6. To Accredit and to authorise Organizations, Facilities and Systems that deal with Classified Information (refer to Physical Security and CIS Security).

National Office of Security


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