US military blocks access to Guardian website for troops in Afghanistan

The US army has blocked the Guardian website for troops serving in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Last week, US authorities confirmed to The Guardian that some sections of the site had been blocked by the Department of Defense (DOD), but according to the Guardian itself, the whole site is now unavailable on computers used by US military personnel.

The army is apparently concerned about the dissemination of classified information, even if it has been widely reported elsewhere.

The paper reports that the block comes from US central command, the unit responsible for military operations in the Middle East and South Asia.

Lt Col Steve Wollman, a spokesman for central command, told the Guardian: “US central command is among other DOD organizations that routinely take preventative measures to safeguard the chance of spillage of classified information on to unclassified computer networks, even if the source of the information is itself unclassified.

“One of the purposes for preventing this spillage is to protect Centcom personnel from inadvertently amplifying disclosed but classified information.

“Additionally, classified information is not automatically declassified simply because of unauthorized disclosure.

“Classified information is prohibited from specific unclassified networks, even if the information has already been published in unclassified media that are available to the general public, such as online news organizations.”

The blocking of the site comes in the wake of the leak of classified CIA documents by whistleblower Edward Snowden, detailing thesurveillance practices of the US secret service. American authorities are attempting to extradite Snowden from Moscow after charging him with breaking espionage laws.

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