The official's remarks may be quoted directly or paraphrased and are attributed to a "State Department official" or "Administration official," as determined by the official.
On Deep Background
The source cannot be quoted or identified in any manner, not even as "an unnamed source." The information is usually couched in such phrases as "it is understood that" or "it has been learned." The information may be used to help present the story or to gain a better understanding of the subject, but the knowledge is that of the reporter, not the source. No information provided may be used in the story. The information is only for the reporter's background knowledge.
Off the Record
Nothing of what the journalist is told may be used in the story. The information is meant only for the education of the reporter.