The U.S. Army admitted Thursday to blocking its personnel from accessing any stories about the National Security Agency leaks covered on the Guardian newspaper's website in an attempt to preserve "network hygiene."
"In response to your question about access to the guardian.co.uk website, the Army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks," Gordon Van Vleet, an Army Network Enterprise Technology Command public affairs officer, told the Guardian in an email statement.
"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."
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The Guardian was responsible for breaking the news about the U.S. government's Internet and phone surveillance programs with the help of whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this month.
But Army officials worry that access to the Guardian's stories could result in the "unauthorized disclosure of classified information," the Monterey Herald reported.
"Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information — including material released through an unauthorized disclosure — must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel," Van Vleet said. "If a public website displays classified information, then filtering may be used to preserve 'network hygiene' for DoD unclassified networks."
Twitter users spoke out angrily about the Army's ban on the Guardian's stories.
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