What might first appear as a bizarre juxtoposition with the leader of the free world apparently on a camping trip inside a tent within a hotel room is actually one of the most information-secure locations in the world. This photo, recently released on the White House Flickr account, shows President Barack Obama
inside a portable Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility
, or SCIF
, while traveling in Brazil. During his trip, the President used the SCIF to conduct high-level meetings regarding the escalating military situation in Libya.
Generally speaking, a SCIF is any space that has been specially prepped to prevent information within it from being intercepted by someone outside of the SCIF. The layers of protection are elaborate, as SCIFs are designed to prevent all levels of electronic observation, and can cost up to $200 to $5,000 per square foot to set up in the Baltimore/Washington area SCIFs are in high demand.
The mobile SCIFs are set up when the President or other official is away from the security of Washington and need to carry out secret business.