posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 11:10 AM
There aren't all these wacky levels. It's basically top secret, secret, confidential, and unclassified.
Top secret can have compartmentalization, so you have compartment code words like POLO STEP. That doesn't mean POLO STEP is higher than top secret,
it's something that tells you who has access to it and what category of info is relegated to that compartment.
Some of the stuff in the OP is misinterpretation of NATO classifications, like COSMIC. COSMIC just denotes a top secret classified program that has
been shared with NATO. It's not a "higher level of classification" in the US.
As far as Q goes, that's a DOE thing. DOE nuclear secrets have their very own pre-made compartment analogs. DOE has L clearances, which is about
equivalent to having a Secret clearance, Q comes in two flavors, Q-sensitive and Q non-sensitive. The main difference between a S or TS and an L, Q or
Qs is that the latter three give you access to special nuclear materials. QS are generally brainiacs.
In addition to Q and QS, DOE has premade compartments called Sigma levels. Sigma 1/QS grants you the keys to the nuclear kingdom. If you're ESA/WER
or a NEST egghead, you're probably more of a Sigma 3/Q guy.
While you get a Q or L clearance for a duration, you generally bounce all over the Sigma map depending on what you are doing.