Air Force In Super Denial Mode: Blocks Access To News Sites Covering Wikileaks

from the head-in-the-sand dept

And we thought the Library of Congress was in denial mode for blocking access to Wikileaks. It appears the Air Force has gone a step further into denial, as it’s now blocking access to over 25 sites, including major news publications covering Wikileaks, such as the NY Times and The Guardian. Apparently, anyone on an Air Force computer who goes to the NY Times is being told: “ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored,” Along with a notice warning people that anyone accessing an “unauthorized” site may be punished. Apparently none of the other branches of the military have the same thing in place, though we’ve heard from others in the military that Defense Department computers are blocking websites with “Wikileaks” in the title.

As Jeffrey Toobin notes in the CNN link above: “Our enemies can see the documents, but not those whom we trust to defend our country.” How does that make sense?

And, of course, to make matters even more ridiculous, this is the Air Force… the supposed “cyber” expert branch of the military, these days. A little while back, the Defense Department announced that “cyber” issues were to be handled by the Air Force. Yet, they can’t figure out that blocking their own access to mainstream media news sites is a dumb idea? These are the guys we’ve tapped to handle our country’s “cyber defense”?

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Comments on “Air Force In Super Denial Mode: Blocks Access To News Sites Covering Wikileaks”

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Michael (profile) says:


This is CyberWAR! Who better to handle it than the people that can block themselves from knowing what is going on in the world?

Think about it, the best in the CyberWarfare game are 12 year old’s sitting in their parents’ basement living on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets. They never watch the news or pay attention to current events and instead spend all of their time hacking websites.

Clearly, to fight these Cyber-Terrorists, we need to make a division within our Air Force exactly the same!

Hey, wait, why did we pick the Air Force? Shouldn’t they be the best at being out in the open? At some point, did we really find that our Air Force (you know, they guys that FLY JETS) is more accustomed to be sitting in front of a computer in a cubicle than anyone else in our defense department? That seems a bit weird.

jcurbo (profile) says:

Correction: while the AF once claimed they were the cyber experts, responsibility for “cyber” issues inside DoD is now handled by US Cyber Command, a joint command. Each service has a component that reports to Cyber Command, of which 24th AF is the Air Force’s component.

Otherwise, I agree with you that it is shortsighted policymaking. There’s a good article over at the USNI blog that cover all this.

Richard Kulawiec says:

Re: Re:

Yes, and these are the folks who can’t figure out how to stop attacks from Chinese network space…when easy techniques for doing so have been common knowledge for years.

(How? The easy way is to grab the CIDRs for CN ranges from and bidirectionally drop all traffic from/to them. The better way is to bidirectionally deny all traffic and then only enable it to/from those allocations for which there exists a need to exchange traffic. Now, granted, this won’t stop attacks which originate in CN space but are redirected via systems in allowed network space, but it reduces the scope of the problem dramatically which in turn makes the remaining problem far more tractable.)

In a fair fight, I’d bet on script kiddies from 4chan over these clowns. At least the script kiddies have some creativity/ingenuity, qualities that are utterly absent at “Cyber Command”. (I feel like there should be a soundtrack for that phrase, something like a big brass hit that slides down the scale and ends in off-tune cacaphony.)

Anonymous Coward says:

This is not stupid. They have to prevent classified documents (even if they’re now no longer really a secret) from showing up on the unsecure network.

Organizations of that sort maintain “classified” and “unclassified” networks. (I hate that term, but it’s the one that’s used.) If a classified document shows up on the unclassified network it’s a BIG problem, because it indicates that someone has been transferring data from the secure side to the unsecure side. There are all sorts of processes that have to be followed, like wiping or destroying hardware.

Now wikileaks shows up and provides access to all sorts of documents that are marked as classified. Somebody downloads on (through whatever process) to the unsecure network and it triggers the entire response. The people responsible for maintaining data security can’t just blow it off. Blocking access to any place that somebody might end up with one of those documents is the only way for their IT crew to retain their sanity.

Pixelation says:


A man walks into a room. A general is standing there up to his knees in shit. The man says, “General, why are you standing in shit?”. The General responds, “What shit?”.
“The shit at your feet”.
“I’ve been ordered not to look at my feet, there is no shit”
“Who’s going to clean it up?”.
“Clean up what?”

The man walks out, head in hands…

lux (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Argument for what? I have no need to prove to you that classified documents remained classified whether or not they’ve been leaked.

Do you expect the US gov’t to suddenly open up SIPRNET to everyone, you know, only the parts that been compromised? Otherwise, I mean, they’re just “censoring” and “sticking their head in the sand”, and any other parroted phrase around here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

By the way the government could have done better.
Even though some of the smartest people on earth work for the U.S. government there is something to be said about environment induced dumbness.

The heart and minds of people are being lost at home for actions taken by the government this should be a wake up call.

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