U.S. Army clamping down on soldiers' blogs

Soldiers in war zones are already subject to restrictions on blogging and public posts, but the U.S. Army is tightening restrictions on veterans who return and begin posting online, in hopes ensure sensitive information about military operations does not make it to the public. Under a new directive issued in April, soldiers must consult with their immediate supervisor and an officer responsible for what's known within the military as operational security, for a review of planned publications.

Reviews will be needed for Web site postings, blog postings, discussions on Internet information forums and discussions on Internet message boards, according to the Army directive. E-mail that will be published in a public forum is also subject to review under the regulation but because it would be impractical, personal e-mails will not be reviewed.

News source: CNN

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I sort of forgot about this thread, so I'm not sure if anyone is still following it, but I'll address some of the concerns raised with my post.

Firstly, I never said soldiers can blog about precise military locations. I doubt there has ever been a case of that happening, and I doubt it ever will. I said they should be able to blog about their experiences during the Iraq War, and nothing anyone argued above directly addressed this. Writing about experiences in no way puts anyone in danger, it merely brings home the full horrors of war. This may indirectly weaken the domestic support for the war, but that is a consequence the government should have to live with.

Secondly, as the above poster mentioned, it is a gross oversimplification to say that soldiers must always follow their commanding officer's orders. That's just silly. They have to follow lawful orders, that are within the jurisdiction of their commanding officer to issue. It is quite beyond the capacity of any officer to order someone not to blog in their free time.

Thirdly, the above poster got it wrong when they said that the army is just like any other job. In fact, they got it in reverse. The Constitution does not apply to companies and to private citizens, it only applies to the government. It constrains government acts, and widens the scope of private acts. So while it is perfectly within the rights of a private corporation to needlessly restrict the freedom of speech of their employees, the government does not have such a right.

Call it a double standard if you want, but that's the law. You get extra rights when you sign up as a government employee, you don't get less rights.

Unfortunately your post, while well thought out, and quite possibly convincing, is wrong.

The Constitution does not apply to the government, it applies to what the government can do to it's citizens and how it can function. It does not guarantee the rights of it's employees. It guarantees the rights of citizens from the government. The government, just like any other employer in the US, can restrict what it's employees do.

Show me one article of the constitution where governmental employees are specifically mentioned.
http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

Quick search of that yields no results of "employee," but several dozen of "citizen."

You don't get more rights as a government employee, trust me. If that were the case, why can't soldiers go on the news and talk about Bush? Why can't soldiers have a firearm on base w/o having to register it with the armory and usually storing in there? Why can't a soldier grow his (or her) hair and/or facial hair in any manner they want?

This is part of being a soldier. You have your rights restricted for security, comradeship, morale (imagine how demoralized you would be if the people in the military were as anti-Iraq and vocal about it), and to preserve the chain of command.

No they don't. You're property of the government when you enlist or get your commission. Your duty is to follow the orders of the officers above you and defend the Constitution. This falls into the "following the orders of the officers above you" category. Rights are extremely limited when it comes to being in the military. You have to think of people other than yourself, and spouting off about operations in Iraq could compromise security in ways that can cost lives. While I may not agree with this war, I do agree with this censorship action. I want to see as many of our people come home as possible.

Soldiers have the right to blog, just like the rest of us Civilians. Nuff said

When you enlist in the military, you become the property of the government.

Seriously, if someone revealed where their location was when they were deployed, it could pose a serious threat to those soldiers that are STILL in that location. THEN, the government has to hopefully find out before the enemy finds the leaked information, and sets up an attack. If the government does find out in time, they then have to WASTE money moving those troops out of that position and into a new one.

All in all, it puts lives in danger and wastes our dollars just because some jackass wanted to tell his buddies in his blog where he was.

@MrCobra
Are you joking me?!?!??! So you basically are saying that the solders are merely pawns. Philosophically, they are pawns but if you look at it in humane way, the soliders are men just like us. I find your view very disturbing!

harythewho said,
@MrCobra
Are you joking me?!?!??! So you basically are saying that the solders are merely pawns. Philosophically, they are pawns but if you look at it in humane way, the soliders are men just like us. I find your view very disturbing!

Soldiers aren't men "just like us," they are more then that. Some may not remember that, some may. They abide by certain rules and regulations because it's part of their job. They chose to enlist, and as such became government property. As for being pawns...if you think of soldiers like that, you have a low opinion of soldiers. Soldiers are not permitted to question lawful orders from their supervisors, but are always held accountable for their own actions. "My LT told me to do it," is not a valid excuse in the military, but if it's lawful...you are expected to do it.

It's not unlike any other job...if your supervisor says to do something, you do it. What your company is going to do in the next few months isn't "classified," but leaking that information could lead to insider trading lawsuits, and could cause you to to go jail.

Free speech doesn't apply to the workforce, only the government. Places of employment put limits on what people can say and what they can't say all the time. A person working around chemicals is almost certainly not allowed to address the media if there's a chemical leak...only their PR people are. Is that censorship? It depends on how you view that word. The government isn't forcing you not to say anything, your choice of career is.

My point is simple: the starting place in any democracy is that information should be freely traded, and that freedom of speech is a right, not a privilege. This is especially true in the US, where your Supreme Court has used free speech guarantees to strike down laws protecting vulnerable groups.

From that vantage point, there should be strong incentives in place to violate that freedom. Classified information is a logical reason to restrict freedom of speech, but you're treading in dangerous waters throwing around wishy-washy terms like "sensitive" information, or the idea that many individual pieces of information may be combined to reveal classified information. That may be true, but those are NOT good enough reasons to violate free speech guarantees.

The burden lies on the government to declare information "classified," that responsibility is subject to Congressional oversight. These decrees from the Pentagon restricting the ability of the soldiers to recount their non-classified war time experience is nothing short of sickening.

My arguments up to this point have been non-partisan. Hopefully this is simply the Pentagon acting of its own volition; but this also smacks of something the Bush administration would do: talk about "freedom" and "supporting the troops" and then flagrantly violate the rhetoric.

Except for one itsy-bitsy little point; freedom of speech does NOT apply to military members. If they want to go back after their term of enlistment/commission has ended *then* tell their side of the story, that's all fine and well, within reason. But one thing you must consider, when a military member writes something under the premise of being a military member, they become, in a sense, a spokesperson for the military in general.

Being ex-military myself, I often found it interesting and ironic that many of the rights and freedoms we fought for...didn't even apply to us in any practical sense.

phantasmorph said,
Being ex-military myself, I often found it interesting and ironic that many of the rights and freedoms we fought for...didn't even apply to us in any practical sense.

My favorite line to use on soldiers (or whatever you were) like yourself: You are here to defend democracy, not practice it.

tell all that Tom275 to Soldiers families.. Soldiers that were ambushed and killed because someone called his/her significant other and was tellling them about informaton that led insurgents to find out about the troop movement plans. You know the bad thing is they may have been on thier way home that day. But someone blabbed so someone needlessly died.


I tell you what Tom275 post your Full name, your Social Security (if you have one), your address here... if you want ....but I will bet you if you post truthful information someone will attempt identiy theft on you (would never be me). Most of the information marked has "sensitive" has been so for a long time.

You see changes were required because of my example above... the changes CLAIRIFY the requirements they don't really redefine them at all.

But I will drop the subject as the implications here obviously flew past you.. I may respond to other comments but i don't think ill waste the time on yours anymore.... on this subject anyway..

Now if we get in a debate about some tech stuff in the future I won't have a problem with it :P

Since everyone known about classified of sensitive information, the logical question is :

What's a sensitive information?

Magallanes said,
Since everyone known about classified of sensitive information, the logical question is :

What's a sensitive information?


well since the document is published you can read what is sensitve .. its defined right in the document...

if you so care to read it. I however will not define that here as it isn't my place to do.

People crying about this are fools. Don't forget that the army ALREADY does this with things like letters to loved ones and so on. So why are blogs any different?

Classified information is just that: classified. There are rules in place to prosecute and otherwise deter people from releasing classified information to the public.

This goes far beyond that, and is a restriction on posting NON-classified information. The only purpose to that that I can see is to attempt to restrict the flow of information which is almost inevitably negative to the war effort.

So nemo, did you stop to think before posting the above "crap from your fingertips"?

Tom275 said,
Classified information is just that: classified. There are rules in place to prosecute and otherwise deter people from releasing classified information to the public.

This goes far beyond that, and is a restriction on posting NON-classified information. The only purpose to that that I can see is to attempt to restrict the flow of information which is almost inevitably negative to the war effort.

So nemo, did you stop to think before posting the above "crap from your fingertips"?

Then you sir truly do not know the TRUE meaning of OPSEC or what can happen with multiple unclassified resources are compiled together. If there is enough information of UNCLASSIFIED nature then you can make a picture of the Classified missing parts ( or even recreate something classified). Or alternatley can be used to verify certain classified information received from possibly unreliable sources.

The rule has always existed all they did was change the document to be more clear of the defintions.

Besides the point whoever leaked the document is liable to have criminal charges placed against them. as the Document referenced is FOUO and not releasable to the public without a FOIA request. Furthermore the journalist who published it did it will total disregard to that fact. He could have easily cited the fact that the document existed in its form.

He or She could have also requested that the document be released under FOIA.. That would of been the professional thing to do...

However who ever posted it just shows that the person who leaked it probably shouldn't have been trusted in the first place.

ex

Propoganda on news channels + giving garbage statements to the public as if we are stupid. Yes, George is one effing retard who completely goes against the conservative view of freedom and liberty.