Full List Of Sites The US Air Force Blocked To Hide From Wikileaks Info; Includes NY Times & The Guardian

from the sticking-your-head-in-the-sand dept

When the State Department cables leaked via Wikileaks, some government employees and agencies were put in a tough position, in that they couldn't officially view those documents, since they were still classified. As we've noted in the past, this is stupid. In business, any boilerplate non-disclosure agreement says that if some info becomes public due to a third party, the NDA no longer applies. The US government, for reasons that escape me, refuses to do the same thing for classified info that leaks -- even after the press has run stories on it.

We heard all sorts of bizarre stories about government agencies trying to block access to this content which was everywhere, including reports that any Techdirt article that mentioned "Wikileaks" in the title was blocked from Defense Department computers.

Jason Smathers decided to submit a Freedom of Information Act request (via the awesome Muckrock.com platform) to the US Air Force to find out what sites it was blocking. And while the Air Force initially denied the request, on appeal it just changed its mind and handed over the list, which you can see below. Most of the blocked URLs are to various Wikileaks mirror sites, but it also covers the major media properties that Wikileaks initially worked with on releasing these documents, including the NY Times and The Gurdian.
I'm at a complete loss as to what the Air Force thinks it accomplishes in blocking the entire NY Times website because some stories mention content that everyone already knows about. How does that possibly make sense?

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  • icon
    A Guy (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 7:53am

    It's the military. It doesn't have to make sense. They have complete autonomy to enforce any ridiculous draconian rule they want, and they do so at every chance possible. According to several of my friends whom have served, they cannot even criticize the President of the United States. I understand he's their boss but that seems to against everything this country is supposed to stand for.

    Personally, I don't understand why people want to give up their most basic freedoms to serve, but I'm glad they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      "Personally, I don't understand why people want to give up their most basic freedoms to serve, but I'm glad they do."

      Sacrifice your freedoms to 'defend' them ... seems ... non-sequitur. You're fighting to defend the loss of your freedoms to defend your freedoms.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re:

        "Sacrifice your freedoms to 'defend' them ... seems ... non-sequitur"

        I don't think that word means what you think it means.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        :Lobo Santo (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Teamwork

        I've many times witnessed the differences between a group of individuals working towards the same goal (as a group) and a cohesive team working towards a goal.

        The 'teamwork' effect, when all persons work together as a single unit, is an amazing multiplier of effectiveness.

        That being said, military effectiveness is rooted in creating teams--and the first step is shared common experiences. Foremost among these shared experiences is basic training, MOS training, reduced/altered rights, uniforms, etc. It is simply a necessary step in creating an effective military.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        S, 20 Sep 2011 @ 12:37pm

        Re: Re:

        The word you want is 'contradictory' -- or 'bullshit'.

        If you lose the freedoms you're supposedly defending, all you're doing is shooting people (and getting shot at) because some dictator told you to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      It's the military. It doesn't have to make sense.

      Military intelligence is an oxymoron.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Weird!
      In every war movie I've ever seen, all the soldiers/sailors/marines/airmen do is bitch about everything from the officers to the food.
      Yet, the second the shooting starts, it's "all for one, and one for all" and "semper fi" and...well you get the idea!
      When did that change?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 7:54am

    I'm at a complete loss as to what the Air Force thinks it accomplishes in blocking the entire NY Times website....

    Payback for the Pentagon Papers case?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:17am

    Pretty Clear

    Ignorance is Strength

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:18am

    I happen to agree with leaks to clear out the drivel

    One issue is that if "secret" information, once leaked, is no longer considered "secret", then there is an open door to people with clearance to leak those items they want the rest of the world to know.

    The government's only recourse then is to hunt down the person who leaked the information to prosecute them, and *that* should act as a deterrent. My only caveat is that if the leaked "secrets" are drivel (i.e. they shouldn't have been secret in the first place) then the prosecution should be required to be dropped.

    To the point that if a leaked "secret" should no longer be considered "secret": then the act of announcing it is no longer "secret" confirms that the leak was correct -- and wouldn't that be a security violation in itself?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 11:36am

      Re: I happen to agree with leaks to clear out the drivel

      "To the point that if a leaked "secret" should no longer be considered "secret": then the act of announcing it is no longer "secret" confirms that the leak was correct -- and wouldn't that be a security violation in itself?"

      Of course by going after Wikileaks for posting the "secrets" is saying those "secrets" also confirms that the leak was correct. So confirming them by dropping the "secret" or suing and arresting for posting "secrets" does the same thing, confirms they are legit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:19am

    Meanwhile...

    News had just come in that the officers working military intelligence go home, download the cables, then talk about them over the water cooler.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:31am

    OLPC.com

    One Laptop Per Child?

    How did they end up on this list? Did I miss them hosting a mirror or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scooters (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:38am

    What the...

    The NYT is blocked but FoxNews isn't?

    All hope for humanity is now over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:43am

    If I used a giant "laser" to write the content of these documents on the surface of the Moon, would the Air Force and/or other government agencies be forbidden from looking at the Moon?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ContradictionInTerms, 20 Sep 2011 @ 8:54am

    Searching

    Correlating server logs with Defense Department IPs would reveal what leaks the military were really worried about. They may have decided that a simple ban on people searching Wikileaks sites from their desks was not enough of a prophylactic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CJ (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 9:08am

    kind of stupid

    I don't see how blocking helps. If you block it, then it just makes them more curious as to why it was blocked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2011 @ 10:36am

    typo

    including the NY Times and The Gurdian

    --> Guardian

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rich (profile), 20 Sep 2011 @ 10:42am

    Network Error (dns_unresolved_hostname)

    Your requested host "guardian.co.uk" could not be resolved by DNS.

    For assistance, contact your network support team

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Terris Linenbach, 20 Sep 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Par for this course is -100

    They're so intelligent in their intelligence gathering that they know what they're not supposed to know.

    Dumbasses - all the way to the Dumbass in Chief.

    They've kept us safe, no thanks to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vic, 21 Sep 2011 @ 12:18am

    Well, it's a damn good list! Although very incomplete...
    And who says that Air Force is not a good organization to compose and maintain a list of "rogue sites"? As we can see here, they can be perfect at this! If this is not enough, just add block lists from Navy and the Army. That is to complete those lists from MPAA and RIAA.

    And then we can ban the whole Internet thingy!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2011 @ 12:24am

    Security Theatre

    This website blocking is security theater, plain and simple. The persons doing it are deliberately wasting the US taxpayers' money. As such, they are traitors. They should be charged accordingly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nasty, 24 Aug 2012 @ 9:21pm

    perhaps the list was to only throw the public off... for there might only be 2 or 3 they were TRYING to block..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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