I finally discovered just what that status (Double Super Secret) means. A Double Super Secret rating is required when an unidentified scource requests (demands) that the conversation he/she releases to the journalist may be quoted but only as an anonymous source, not to the actual person who said it, whose identity should henceforth and forever more be protected even at the risk of imprisonment or even frog-marching of the journalist. That is called "Double Super Secret" status, which means the journalist may only write all the details of who actually released the secret in an e-mail, as long as that e-mail includes the pertinent name, rank and serial number of the leaker. The journalist may send it to the Internet and/or the World Wide Web, but not anywhere else. In addition, the e-mail must be clearly marked "DOUBLE SUPER SECRET", just in case it falls into the wrong hands.
"Sun Jul 17 2005 18:48:33 ETMSM | Double Super Secret | frog-march | Matthew Cooper |
CNNWASHPOST HOWARD KURTZ: A lot of people have picked up on your description in the memos to your bureau chief of that conversation -- "It was on double super secret background." What did that mean?
"TIME MATT COOPER: Well, Howie, I can now reveal that it was a joke. Karl Rove, when we had the conversation, wanted it to be on deep background, which I took to mean I could use the material but not quote it directly, and certainly not attribute it, that I had to protect the identity of my source. When I wrote the note to my bureau chief, just moments after the conversation with Rove, in a slightly playful way, I echoed the line in the movie "Animal House," where John Belushi's wild fraternity is put on double secret probation. So it was a little bit of humor."