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June 27th, 2013

Army Blocks Access to The Guardian

According to a story posted by Phillip Molnar at the Monterey County Herald, the U.S. Army is blocking access to parts of The Guardian, the UK based news website which broke the story about the NSA’s surreptitious data collection programs. When the Herald’s story was first posted last night, it was unknown how widespread the outage was or who was behind it, only that employees at the Presidio of Monterey, California were unable to connect with certain pages of the UK website:

“Employees could go to The Guardian’s U.S. home page…but were blocked from reading stories, such as NSA articles, that redirected to the British site, Presidio spokesman Dan Carpenter said.”

The Presidio of Monterey is the home to the Defense Language Institute.

As of last night, the Naval Postgraduate School, which is also located in Monterey, and a Department of Defense building in nearby Seaside, were not affected.

Yesterday Gordon Van Vleet, a spokesperson for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM), the unit that oversees the Army’s computer network, reportedly denied that NETCOM was behind the block and indicated it could be originating from inside the the Monterey Presidio. However, at 1:42 PM EDT this afternoon The Herald posted the following update:

“NETCOM spokesman Gordon Van Vleet admitted the Army is ‘filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.’ Van Vleet said the block is limited to classified computers.

“He said in part: ‘The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative “network hygiene” measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks.'”

FOSS Force writer David Bean, who has contributed to this story, is a long time resident of the Monterey Peninsula. He says he feels somewhat personally connected to the story:

“I live in Monterey, CA. I was thrilled and humbled this week when I was informed that an article I had written on Internet surveillance and privacy for FOSS Force appeared in The Guardian UK.

“Imagine my shock to learn that parts of The Guardian newspaper had been removed from internet access at the local U.S. military installation in my own hometown.”

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