Pentagon Bars Staff from Visiting WikiLeaks Site

August 10th, 2010 - by admin

Rowan Scarborough / The Washington Times – 2010-08-10 00:56:04

(August 5, 2010) — The US military is banning personnel from visiting the WikiLeaks website, which recently released more than 70,000 classified diplomatic and military messages on the long war in Afghanistan.

“[Department of the Navy] personnel should not access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information,” said a July 29 message to sailors from the Navy’s national security litigation law division. “Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks.”

“There has been rumor that the information is no longer classified since it resides in the public domain. This is NOT true,” said the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.

Asked if the Pentagon is making the site off-limits, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told The Times that all four services “have put out such messages.”

The orders seem to be the most far-reaching effort by the Pentagon in its ongoing effort to stop the release of classified information. The military is telling the troops they cannot even view what is publicly available, even though the WikiLeaks documents are on hundreds of websites.

An Army intelligence analyst is suspected of leaking the classified materials — Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Md., who is being held in a military detention center at Quantico, Va.

Days before WikiLeaks posted the documents, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sent out a memo threatening personnel with criminal prosecution if they leak secrets.

Titled “Wikileaks Website Guidance,” the Navy message states:

“Government information technology capabilities should be used to enable our war fighters, promote information sharing in defense of our homeland, and to maximize efficiencies in operations. It should not be used as a means to harm national security through unauthorized disclosure of our information on publicly accessible websites or chat rooms.”

A Marine Corps message threatens to discipline offenders:

“By willingly accessing the WIKILEAKS website for the purpose of viewing the posted classified material – these actions constitute the unauthorized processing, disclosure, viewing, and downloading of classified information onto an UNAUTHORIZED computer system not approved to store classified information, meaning they have WILLINGLY committed a SECURITY VIOLATION.”

“Not only are these actions illegal, but they provide the justification for local security officials to immediately remove, suspend ‘FOR CAUSE’ all security clearances and accesses. Commanders may press for Article 15 or 32 charges, and USMC personnel could face a financial hardship as civilian and contractor personnel will be placed on ‘Administrative Leave’ pending the outcome of the [criminal] investigation,” the message states.

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.