Air Force blocks news sites posting WikiLeaks cables

15 Dec 2010

The US Air Force is blocking its personnel from using work computers to view more than 25 news sites and blogs which posted the diplomatic cables leaked by whistle-blower WikiLeaks.

According to the New York Times, which was among the list of blocked sites, officials say that anytime Air Force staff try to access the banned sites, the screen reads “Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored.”

Air Force officials said that those who try to view the content from unauthorised sites will face punishment. Only sites which post the full classified documents, as opposed to parts of it, would be blocked.

Other media outlets banned include the Guardian, France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel and Spain’s El Pais.

Within the Air Force, there are established procedures which keep classified information off unclassified computer systems. As WikiLeaks posts classified information, it falls under these regulations.

However, some officials acknowledged that military personnel could easily access the documents at home, in spite of this.

The US Army, Navy and Marines said they were not blocking these news sites, due to guidance from the Obama administration. The Defence Department told its employees and contractors not to read anything released from WikiLeaks unless they get security clearance.