Theodore's World: Obama Administration Theaten Students and Government Workers : Do NOT Read Documents Published By Wikileaks

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December 05, 2010

Obama Administration Theaten Students and Government Workers : Do NOT Read Documents Published By Wikileaks

Government Workers Ordered Not to Read Cables

New York Times

In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff.

The directive applies to both government computers and private devices that employees or contractors might carry in their briefcases and pockets or have in their homes. It does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems, a White House official said Saturday. And it does not prohibit federal employees from reading news stories about the topic. But if they have “accidentially” already downloaded any of these documents, they are being told to notify their “information security offices.”

The Department of Defense, in its own directive to military personnel and icontractors, says that simply reading these documents, without proper authorization, will violate long-standing rules even though they are accessible to the public at large on Internet sites. “Viewing or downloading still classified documents from unclassified government computers creates a security violation,” a spokeswoman said in a statement on Saturday.

The effort, while understandable, seems entirely futile, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington nonprofit group that has combated government efforts to keep certain government documents secret.

“It just may be a little too late for the government to push these documents down the memory hole,” Mr. Rotenberg said, adding that his center did not support the initial public release of the material. “This is Orwell thought police in the age of the Internet, as these are already so widely accessible on servers around the world.” The Library of Congress has joined in the push, blocked visitors to its reading rooms, or anyone else using its computer system, from accessing the WikiLeaks site, noting that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”

The moves have not apparently discouraged staff at WikiLeaks, as the organization continues to post Twitter feeds mocking the efforts to limit access to the documents, including one note on Saturday reading: “Digital McCarthyism: U.S. Military Tries to Intimidate Soldiers Into Not Reading Wikileaks”.


Obama Administration State Department Threatens Students: Do Not Post WikiLeaks On Facebook or Twitter

The Obama State Department threatened university students not to post links to Wikileaks on their Facebook page or Twitter accounts.

Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week.

An email from SIPA’s Office of Career Services went out Tuesday afternoon with a caution from the official, an alumnus of the school. Students who will be applying for jobs in the federal government could jeopardize their prospects by posting links to WikiLeaks online, or even by discussing the leaked documents on social networking sites, the official was quoted as saying.

“[The alumnus] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter,” the Office of Career Services advised students. “Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”

State Department To Columbia University Students: DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter

The email, obtained by The Huffington Post, is published in full:

From: Office of Career Services
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks - Advice from an alum
To: "Office of Career Services (OCS)"
Hi students,

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Office of Career Services


Wild Thing's comment..........

What has struck me about this latest batch of leaks, is that the government seems more worried about the average citizen reading them then the enemy. Also has anyone else noticed that Obama could have cared less when the leaks were about our troops putting their lives in danger. That was OK with the POS Obama.

Before this information was leaked, it may (or may not) have been classified at some level. Whoever leaked it is surely subject to charges and penalty. However, the cat is now out of the bag and there is nothing whatever “classified” about it anymore. These people are just trying to intimidate people into shutting up while they try to stuff the cat back into the bag.

Posted by Wild Thing at December 5, 2010 03:47 AM


That is hilarious. I can't believe that nobody has gotten on their case for doing all that stupid stuff and hiding it. It's almost as if people already accept it as normal for their govt to act secretive and backstabbing. We don't even have any enemies right now, but we might get some if we don't learn to act with some maturity

Posted by: Jeb at December 5, 2010 06:24 AM

Exactly. When released classified documents affected the military, he wasn't concerned but now they affect his state department and he's all upset.

Ordering and threatening government workers and college students? Isn't that a violation of the Bill of Rights? It's HIS job to safeguard he classified documents and he failed in doing so. So, now that the documents are made public, he wants people not to exercise their First Amendment Rights.

I'm wondering what they're doing to find those responsible for giving the documents to WikiLeaks?

Posted by: BobF at December 5, 2010 08:57 AM

Jeb, the worst enemy imo that we have is in our White House leading the charge against our beloved country.

But I know what you mean, this whole thing is just what you said.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 5, 2010 04:22 PM

Bob, I would like to know that too. Was it only that guy Manning? Or where there others that helped in obtaining the docuemnts etc.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 5, 2010 04:25 PM

"Ordering and threatening' gov't workers and college students not to read something already in the public domain is like telling 2 thirteen year olds that you won't be home until after midnight and admonishing that not to watch that porn video you have hidden under your bed!
Isn't there anyone in this admin with the guts to tell the 'emperor' that he is wearing no clothes?
He makes an idiot of himself each time he opens his mouth.

Posted by: dprosenthal at December 5, 2010 11:32 PM