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DoD to Troops: Lawfare=Wikileaks

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Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Those of you concerned about the Wikileaks disclosures will be reassured to know that the military IT folks are on the case and are aggressively cracking down on–drum-roll, please–us. That’s right, folks, Wikileaks, Lawfare. It’s all the same. They’re both on the Internet, after all.

I awoke this morning to an email from alert reader Jeffrey A. Sherman, a reserve JAG Army Captain in the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which is currently deployed in Iraq. He notified me that the following text now appears on his computer when he tries to access Lawfare:

USF-I ALERT NOTIFICATION

*** YOU HAVE SELECTED A SITE THAT MAY POTENTIALLY CONTAIN CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ***

Due to the recent disclosure of US Classified Information to public news and media sources, the site you are attempting to access may potentially be hosting US Classified Information (CONFIDENTIAL to SECRET//NOFORN) documents. Downloading, copying, typing text into another document or email, printing, saving to a workstation, server, or any drive connected to a NIPR or Unclassified system is considered a compromise of that system. Additionally, printing, sending, transmitting or forwarding this information is also considered a SPILL and established SPILL cleanup procedures must be followed. Users will lose network access until the incident can be fully resolved IAW USF-I and CENTCOM standards, including user training.

Viewing these documents is not considered a spill in of itself; however, once a user identifies the information as classified or potentially classified, the individual should immediately cease viewing the item and close their web browser.

IAW with DOD guidance and USF-I OPSEC Hash 10-2, all personnel are to refrain from viewing any of the articles pertaining to Wikileaks releases on their DOD NIPR system.

If you have questions regarding this message contact the JNCC-I IA Office, VoSIP: 708-243-6391.

*** YOU HAVE SELECTED A SITE THAT MAY POTENTIALLY CONTAIN CLASSIFIED
DOCUMENTS ***

Logged Information

Proxy Server: ARIF1-N-1-PROXY
Username:
IP Address: 143.73.144.27
UTC Timestamp: 2010-12-03 12:06:25
Category: Government/Legal;Blogs/Personal Pages
URL: http://www.lawfareblog.com/

I cannot tell you how much I resent this. It’s not just the stupidity of the failure to distinguish between leaks and commentary on national security law–which inevitably will occasionally touch on leaks. It’s also the ridiculous phrase “May Potentially Contain Classified Information,” which in this instance translates roughly to “Does Not Contain or Discuss Classified Information Not Already Disclosed by Entities With Orders of Magnitude More Readers.” We have not posted any State Department cables here on Lawfare. The most we have done is linked to a New York Times article that refers to some cables and re-quoted what the Times had already quoted. We have actually taken pains over the life of this blog–and before–to avoid compromising sensitive material in the course of work that necessarily brings us into contact with it. On a few occasions, we have gone so far as to decline to post on sensitive matters that have come our way as a result of accidental disclosures. We write off of the public record here at Lawfare. Some of my press friends may not admire that, but that’s what we do. Glad to know the military appreciates the effort.

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