The Two-Way
9:36 am
Fri June 28, 2013

U.S. Army Restricts Access To 'The Guardian' Website

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 12:35 pm

The Monterey County (Calif.) Herald has a great scoop:

"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."

In simple terms: If you're accessing the Internet at an Army facility across the country, you would not be able to access parts, if not all, of the website for the British newspaper.

The Herald reports:

"Presidio employees described how they could access the U.S. site, www.guardiannews.com, but were blocked from articles, such as those about the NSA, that redirected to the British site."

The Guardian, if you remember, was the first news outlet to publish leaked information about top secret National Security Agency surveillance programs.

But a spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) told the Herald that the restrictions were routine to "mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information."

"We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security, however, there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information," Gordon Van Vleet wrote in an email published by the newspaper. "Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information — including material released through an unauthorized disclosure — must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel."

There is no word as to any Army restrictions on the websites of American publications — such as The Washington Post — that also published reports based on the leaked documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Update at 1:26 p.m. ET. Not Blocking Websites:

A Defense Department spokesman tells us that the DoD is "not blocking any websites."

Instead, it is blocking offending content.

"Should any website choose to post information the department deems classified, that particular content on the website will be filtered and remain inaccessible from DoD networks so long as it remains classified," Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said in an email.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.