Friday, June 28, 2013

US Army Cyber Command Blocks Access to NSA Spy Story

The United States Army is now blocking access to portions of the Guardian news website covering leaked information about the National Security Agency's domestic spying program.

The Guardian first broke the story of the NSA's pervasive program to monitor and record virtually all digital communications within the United States including emails and social media through networks like Google, Facebook, and Verizon. The alarming news of the government agency's blatant disregard for the Constitution and liberty was brought to their attention by whistleblower Michael Snowden, a former NSA contractor who has since been charged with espionage by the U.S. government and is on the run across the globe.

The Monterey Herald reports:
Gordon Van Vleet, an Arizona-based spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering "some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks."

He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative "network hygiene" measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
 NETCOM is a subordinate of the US Army Cyber Command

This measure could be termed as a psychological operation, designed to leave American troops less informed than the general public, and ignorant of the crimes perpetrated by the same government which these troops fight and die in the name of. This is not simply a question of troop morale though, and cuts right to the heart of the core virtues of serving the government in a military capacity and leaves these troops open to allegations of complicity in crimes perpetrated by the government.

The Army has elevated the game another level, by threatening troops who access the classified information made public by the Guardian. The Presidio in San Francisco, information assurance security officer Jose Campos dispatched an email to employees warning of consequences for the troops.
He wrote that an employee who downloads classified information could face disciplinary action if found to have knowingly downloaded the material on an unclassified computer.
In other words, any soldier who downloads the publicly available information could be viewed as a spy, and charged criminally. Not only is this a serious implication for servicemembers, but the public in general, that the government still views this material as classified.

Could any one of us also be charged with espionage, even treason, for downloading the information on the NSA's program to spy on citizens? Website operators operating withing the U.S. could be particularly vulnerable to charges of espionage if they were to upload mirror images of the information. 

In the worst of ranting conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, "There's a war on for your mind."

You can read the classified documents at the following link, if you dare.


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