Air Force Blocks Media Websites That Published Wikileaks
Rep.-elect Alan West has already called for the media outlets that published Wikileaks information to be censored, now it appears as though the Air Force is already doing it:
The U.S. Air Force is blocking its personnel from using work computers to view the websites of the New York Times and other major publications that have posted secret material obtained by Wikileaks, people familiar with the matter say.
Air Force users who try to view the websites of the New York Times, Britain’s Guardian, Spain’s El Pais, France’s Le Monde or German magazine Der Spiegel instead get a page that says, “ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored,” according to a screen shot reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The notice warns that anyone who accesses unauthorized sites from military computers could be punished.
The Air Force says it has blocked more than 25 websites that contain WikiLeaks documents, in order to keep classified material off unclassified computer systems. Major Toni Tones, a spokeswoman for Air Force Space Command, wouldn’t name the websites but said they may include media sites. Removing such material after it ends up on a computer could require “unnecessary time and resources,” Major Tones said.
The move was ordered by the 24th Air Force, commanded by Major Gen. Richard E. Webber, following the late November publication of U.S. diplomatic cables. The Army, Navy and Marines aren’t blocking the sites, and the Defense Department hasn’t told the services to do so, according to spokespeople for the services and the Pentagon.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense has issued guidance against visiting WikiLeaks or downloading documents posted there, according to defense officials. The Air Force told its own personnel in August to avoid those actions.
This seems a little pointless as, presumably, most troops (at least those stationed here in the US) undoubtedly have their own access to the internet whether it be at home or via something like a cell phone. In a digital age, once this sort of information gets on the internet there’s no going back. The toothpaste is out of the tube.
Attempting to censor the information is not only likely to be ineffective, but it makes the military look rather foolish. “Never give an order you know won’t be obeyed,” is an oft-cited rule of command. I think it applies here. If anything, by taking such draconian action the military is undoubtedly upping curiosity among the troops as to the Wikileaks information.Tags: air force, wikileaks