I got this message yesterday from Army Reserve leadership:
As a security reminder to all Soldiers, individuals should not access the WikiLeaks web site to view, download, or print any information which is potentially classified. All personnel are reminded that the accessing of classified information on an unclassified network, either on government or privately owned computers, could constitute a security violation or place our national security at risk.In accordance with Executive Order 13526, classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure and will remain classified until it is formally declassified by an appropriate authority. Therefore, information on the internet which is or appears to be classified should be handled as such until it is properly declassified. The unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information may result in termination of security clearance, termination of employment, or prosecution.
You, on the other hand–assuming that you aren’t a military member, government employee, or holder of a current security clearance–are not prohibited by this Executive Order from accessing classified information via wikileaks.
Does anyone else find this to be like the idiocy of restrictive gun laws:
If only uncleared personnel are able to access classified information, then the only people with access to classified information will be those without security clearances.
Horse. Stampede. Barndoor.
Jay made the analogy to finding a classified document on a copying machine. You’re not permitted to read it. But the analogy, as he pointed out, is extreme. A copying machine in a secure facility is not the internet.
Question: If instead of Wikileaks, it was the Washington Post that had printed/posted these documents, would it then be open source information? Yes. Now that’s not to say that someone with a clearance would then be permitted to confirm the documents’ authenticity. But I don’t think you’d see a push to prevent cleared people from reading the newspaper. The regulations haven’t caught up to the fact that whether it’s a website or a newspaper, they’re both open sources of information.
As I said in my previous post on the subject:
This is really the same problem that has long confronted recording artists, the motion picture industry, and other creators of intellectual content: electronic data is easily copied, easily shared, and not easily restricted to paying customers or rightful recipients. The RCIA and MPA have had more than a decade to formulate new business models to the threat of file sharing . . . with varying degrees of success. The federal government is late to recognizing this as a problem, but has the advantage of being able to quickly learn from those who came first.