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U.S. military soldiers in Iraq may be fighting the war but they’d better not try to find out too much about it via Wikileaks:
soldiers who try to read about the Wikileaks material, or coverage about the releases via mainstream onlines news sites, receive a page warning from the government.
View Wikileaks-related info and, the government claims, soldiers break the law.
Ironically, military soldiers holding adequate security clearances that would have allowed them to view the leaked documents before Wikileaks released the “secret cables” are now met with threats that viewing of the documents could mean prosecution.
Now the State Department is warning prospective hires that if they communicate online about the Wikileaks releases -- on Twitter or Facebook -- they might be out of that potential job. Gawker says that military installations in Iraq are making threats to keep soldiers from reading about Wikileaks, the media outlet stating it’s received an insider tip:
"the Army's unclassified, NIPRNET network in Iraq has blocked every major news website because of the Wikileaks issue" – accompanied by the insider claim that online news outlets, including the likes of Foxnews.com, CNN.com, MSNBC.com, the Huffington Post and others -- are specifically blocked on the Army's unclassified network.
U.S. forces in Iraq dispute the tipster’s statement -- claiming the websites aren't actually blocked from military personnel, only that attempts to access the online sites on the unclassified network initiates a warning page to tell soldiers that they’re about to break the law:
The government says, “[U.S. forces in Iraq have] not blocked any news websites from being read. Because of the Wikileaks release of secret documents and their easy availability on the web, USF-I has posted a warning page NIPRNet computers go to first. This page simply warns the user that the website they are about to view may contain classified documents and that such documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or distributed on NIPR computers. There is a button at the bottom of this warning page that then allows the user to go to the website.”
Ironically, many U.S. soldiers – whom are receiving the military’s warnings --maintain a security clearance that would have granted those United States soldiers access to the State Department cables before the “secret cables” were released by Wikileaks at the end of November.
Senator Joe Lieberman was able to wield enough power to subtly persuade Amazon to drop hosting of servers to the online Wikileaks site last week – probably uncoincidentally, the Wikileaks DNS provider of domain name also dropped the website, forcing Wikileaks to move DNS services to an international status which resulted in a Swiss domain bases with locales in Sweden and France.
The Library of Congress blocked the Wikileaks website to all employees and computer terminal users.
Military warnings to its United States soldiers aren’t new this year – the military threatened servicemen and women back in August 2010, when the Wikileaks website first released 75,000 documents: months ago the Department of the Navy released “guidance” to sailors and marines in warning that its service members should not be viewing the Afghanistan documents then leaked by Wikileaks.
The U.S. government doesn’t consider the Social Security Administration free from any intimidation attempts: an alert has reportedly been sent to all Social Security Administration employees –with the claim that the Wikileaks documents that have just been released, November 2010, “remain classified and SSA employees should not access, download or transmit them. Individuals may be subject to applicable federal criminal statutes for unlawful access to or transmission of classified information.”
Tips also claim that the U.S. State Department has been ‘putting word on the street’ that people who write about the Wikileaks cables on Twitter or Facebook are better off bypassing application to State Department jobs – if they actually expect to get a position with the government in the future. The Arabist, a blog on Arab culture and politics, says Columbia University’s career department sent students an alert relating to a call the that the office received from a Columbia alumnus and State Department employee:
“The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”