U.S. Army Blocks Access to The Guardian Over NSA Info

Military minds must not be polluted by what everybody in the world already knows


The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday's Herald, but Armywide.

Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since The Guardian broke several stories on data collection by the National Security Agency.

Gordon Van Vleet, an Arizona-based spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering "some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks."

He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative "network hygiene" measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

"We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security," he wrote, "however there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."

In a later phone call, Van Vleet said the filter of classified information on public websites was "Armywide" and did not originate at the Presidio.

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  1. Thank our lucky stars and stripes that US service members get their news exclusively from the Guardian and now will not be poisoned by being exposed to Snowden’s despicable treason.

    What monumental derp.

  2. Is there some mental gymnastics whereby this doesn’t qualify as censorship?

    1. Well, they aren’t stopping the Guardian from publishing it and the people who can’t access the info at work can access it elsewhere.

      It seems imminently stupid and useless at accomplishing its goal, but it doesn’t seem especially censorious.

      1. “Well, they aren’t stopping the Guardian from publishing it and the people who can’t access the info at work can access it elsewhere.”

        You are correct in that the *publishing* was not prevented. I’ll say that’s low end matt-work gymnastics, kinda like China blocking any TV comment about Tibet when Mr. and Mrs. Sevo were there. The Chinese certainly didn’t stop anyone from sending the signal, just did their best to stop anyone from getting it.
        I’m sure someone sees that as ‘not censorship’, right?

        1. I’d say there is a difference between trying to stop anyone from getting information, period, and trying to stop employees from getting information on their work computers. Maybe that’s just mental gymnastics, but it seems meaningfully different to me.

          Trying to restrict people in the Army from accessing the Guardian on their own time might qualify as censorship, but I haven’t thought it through.

          I think as long as there are easily accessible alternatives — smart phones, home computers, etc. — restricting what one can view at work is more an instance of workplace rules than censorship, even if the employer is the government. Again, though, that doesn’t mean the policy is any smarter than the one which requires government employees to behave as if classified documents available on the web don’t actually exist.

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