Barack Obama's Super Secure Tent Lets Him Hold Top Secret Discussions

Illustration for article titled Barack Obamas Super Secure Tent Lets Him Hold Top Secret Discussions

This is a picture from inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility aka a makeshift tent that lets top government officials discuss top secret information anywhere in the world. As you can see by the fugly floral carpeting, Obama's tent was propped up inside a hotel.

SCIFs are actually very interesting. They're designed to withstand anything from eavesdropping to computer hacking and according to the BBC, made from "a secret material which is designed to keep emissions in and listening devices out". Hey, that "secret material" looks like blue tarp to me, but what do I know. More seriously, circling the exterior of the SCIF is a "ring of electronic waves" which prevents signals from getting in or out of the tent. Though they allow a secure and encrypted phone line to get out (as can be seen in the photo).

It's good to know how cautious they are though! They scout out buildings the President will visit beforehand to determine where they can place the tent. Ideally, the SCIF is far away from windows and concentrations of people. Sometimes they even create a SCIF with its own air supply and control the perimeter with guards. They're constantly improving the SCIF, which is supposed to be 99.9% infallible. [BBC via Kottke]

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To be more accurate, a SCIF in a tent is called a T-SCIF, T standing for Temporary, not Tent of course...


edit: Also, the protections designed into real SCIFs don't apply to T-SCIFs, they have different regulations, so yeah, not nearly as secure as a building SCIF, but you do what you have to do...