Ryan Gallagher has unearthed a directive from the US military that tells their members not to read any news item from Gallagher’s news operation The Intercept. The directive states:
We have received information from our higher headquarters regarding a potential new leaker of classified information. Although no formal validation has occurred, we thought it prudent to warn all employees and subordinate commands. Please do not go to any website entitled “The Intercept” for it may very well contain classified material.
As a reminder to all personnel who have ever signed a non-disclosure agreement, we have an ongoing responsibility to protect classified material in all of its various forms. Viewing potentially classified material (even material already wrongfully released in the public domain) from unclassified equipment will cause you long term security issues. This is considered a security violation.
This infantilizing of military people is not going down well with those being treated like children.
A military insider subject to the ban said that several employees expressed concerns after being told by commanders that it was “illegal and a violation of national security” to read publicly available news reports on The Intercept.
“Even though I have a top secret security clearance, I am still forbidden to read anything on the website,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “I find this very disturbing that they are threatening us and telling us what websites and news publishers we are allowed to read or not.”
It is significant that Gallagher has a source who is willing, even anonymously, to talk to a reporter at the very publication that he is not supposed to read.
This directive reveals two interesting fears that the US government has. One is that there exists another leaker. The other is that if their own people know more about what their government is doing, it may encourage even more defections. Not exactly a vote of confidence of their own ranks.