Employees unable to call up WikiLeaks on government computers as material is still formally classified, says US Government.|
The Obama administration is banning hundreds of thousands of federal employees from calling up the WikiLeaks site on government computers because the leaked material is still formally regarded as classified.
The Library of Congress tonight joined the education department, the commerce department and other government agencies in confirming that the ban is in place.
Although thousands of leaked cables are freely available on the Guardian, New York Times and other newspaper websites, as well as the WikiLeaks site, the Obama administration insists they are still classified and, as such, have to be protected.
The move comes at a time when civil rights and other liberal groups are becoming increasingly critical, inviting parallels with the kind of bans on information imposed by China and other oppressive governments.
The Library of Congress, one of the biggest libraries in the world, serving both Congress and the public, and essentially the library of record for the US, issued a statement tonight, which read: "The library decided to block WikiLeaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information. Unauthorised disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents."
Disclosure of the ban brought a flood of criticism from liberal bloggers, critical of the Library of Congress's behaviour.
News of the ban was first reported by the Washington Post.
The commerce department, in an email circulated to employees on Monday, said the WikiLeaks material remained classified and "is NOT authorised for downloading, viewing, printing, processing, copying or transmitting" on government computers or communication devices.
It warned anyone downloading the WikiLeaks material: "Accessing the WikiLeaks documents will lead to sanitisation of your PC to remove any potentially classified information from your system, and the result in possible data loss."
The education department said any employees who had already looked at the material should contact their internet technology department. An internal email said that IT staff "will work with you to remediate your device".
Some Reader Comments
The news that any students caught reading them and passing info through twitter and Facebook would never get a job with the US Govt chilled me.
I knew I did not trust twitter and Facebook for a reason. No account for me. They are watching.
Sorry... but how can anyone take these loonies seriously anymore?
Is there no limit to the US government's stupidity? Are they so dumb that they can't even see that the horse has already bolted?
I'm beginning to feel that with each new disclosure and hysterical establishment reaction, enough people will just maybe start to question what it is that their government is so desperate to hide.
With the promise of more leaks about the banks, I live in hope that people will be stirred to action to help bring down the rotten edifice that scheming politicians and their corporate paymasters have constructed and replace it with one built on fairness and decency.
Not surprising the US government are blocking access to the truth... they killed a president who told the truth... and the witnesses to the killing of the president who told the truth... and millions of people in south east Asia who knew the truth... and hundreds of thousands in the middle east and god knows what on September 11th 2001.. Who knew the truth...
The US will go to any lengths in order to maintain its own self delusion.
The US has never, to my knoweldge, accepted any responsibility for the lies its leaders have told the world and its own people over the years. This is not a nation that can handle critical self analysis. THe US public do not seem to have the appetite or courage to be openly critical of the government. Patriotism replaced scrutiny as the favoured filter for reflection. Heaven help us all.
We have had key-logging down pat since the F.B.I. invented it with their "Magic Lantern" spying code, which, by the way, is where all this key-logging malware came from. As soon as it was released it was copied and modified by the criminal scammers and spammers... dumb Americans...
I can read the cables? The staffers can read the cables at home but not at work?
I just want to understand: in principle US citizens are banned from reading stuff their government produces and that is no longer technically confidential, and as stupid as that is, it becomes utterly brainless when combined with the fact that the rest of the world can still read them, and presumably so can the banned Americans if they just go home or use a smartphone.
Headline: US criticizes countries for censoring the InterNet Headline: US censors US InterNet. Just how hypocritical can the U.S. get - guess their cables show us.