File this under “F” for futile: The Army is restricting access to the Guardian website to try to crack down on leaks, the Monterey County Herald reports. The Guardian was the first to write about the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program earlier this month, and it reported details about a separate spying program yesterday. The Guardian’s reports are based on classified documents leaked by former government tech contractor Edward Snowden, who is now wanted by U.S. authorities.
The access restriction is part of the Department of Defense’s routine preventative “network hygiene,” Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), told the Herald. The censorship/network hygiene is meant to prevent the downloading of classified documents — like the kind the Guardian has linked to on its website and which presumably has already been seen by many people. “Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information — including material released through an unauthorized disclosure — must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel,” Van Vleet wrote.
The military also blocked access to more than a couple of dozen news websites a couple of years ago after another famous leak. After whistleblower website WikiLeaks obtained U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010, the Air Force banned its personnel from accessing the websites of the New York Times and others, which also published the cables. Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who has admitted to leaking some documents to WikiLeaks, has been on trial for the past few weeks.
In other news about government leaks, NBC News reports that retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is under investigation for allegedly leaking information about Stuxnet, the virus that hit computer systems of a nuclear plant in Iran. Stuxnet, which was first discovered in 2010, has been reported to have been a joint effort of the United States and Israel.