The Army has admitted that it prevented employees from accessing stories about the National Security Agency's phone and Internet surveillance program on The UK Guardian's website after the newspaper broke the story and published classified information.
It was first reported that Army employees at the Presidio post in Monterey, California were affected, but a spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) has since told The Monterey Herald
that the restriction was Armywide.
"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."
At the same time, he said the Army didn't single out the Guardian website to be blocked, rather it "relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns and malware threats."
The Presidio is home to the Army's Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
Another Army official, Jose Campos, based at Presidio, suggested that employees who download classified information could face disciplinary action and force the department to wipe or destroy any computers used to download the information.
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