The Department of State, classifications and email systems.

What is a secret document? It is a document containing national security information generated by the U.S. government and its employees and contractors, as well as information received from other governments. The desired degree of secrecy about Government information is known as its sensitivity. Sensitivity is based upon a calculation of the damage to national security that the release of the information would cause. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a complete file or book. A piece here, a picture there, a paragraph  . . . and pretty soon you’ll have a pretty good idea about what is going on. “Loose lips, sink ships. -WWII

In the U.S. information is called “classified” if it has been assigned one of the three levels: Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. An important part of the system is the “need to know.” Just because you have a Secret Clearance does’t mean you can read any Secret document. You have to demonstrate a “need to know.”

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Randy Suber, NMMI and CCN

Randy Suber, NMMI.

I attended my 50th class reunion at New Mexico Military Institute a couple of weeks ago. After a memorial ceremony for classmates Hugh Michael Staver and Monte Orr, we talked a bit about Randy Suber who is interred at NMMI.

I heard lots of different stories about Randy and the circumstances around his death. I wanted to set some straight. This may not be news to many but for others how and what happened.

Never assigned an official crest or patch, SOG personnel accepted this unofficial self-designed insignia.

Randy was assigned to CCN. Command and Control North, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their “cover’ while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, “Shining Brass” or “Prairie Fire” missions. Randy was a member of Recon Company and One-One (second in command and the second American) on RT Rattler. RT Rattler was a Nung team. Ethnic Chinese, these Nung soldiers were best-known for their loyalty to US Special Forces and had a reputation as the most-feared fighters of all the minority groups trained by the Americans.

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