Army tries to suppress new OPSEC regulation

An officious bureaucrat with the U.S. Army has tried to intimidate the Federation of American Scientists into removing from its Web site a copy of the Army’s recently updated regulation on operational security. And FAS government secrecy project director Steven Aftergood told the bureaucrat in no uncertain terms to get lost.

In Cheryl Clark’s May 4 e-mail message, (PDF) she said that hosting a copy of Army Regulation 530-1 (PDF) was “illegal” because the document bears a For Official Use Only classification. It “is a FOUO publication, it is not intended for public release,” she wrote.

Clark tried to say that because the FAS is not an official Army Publications web site, “you can link to our publications, but you cannot host them.”

“Please remove this publication immediately or further action will be taken,” Clark wrote.

Most people would be appropriately intimidated, which was likely the intent. But the threat has no basis in law whatsoever. Aftergood’s public response sets the record straight.

“Our publications are not illegal nor in violation of any applicable regulation,” he wrote in his response.

“I have considered your request that we remove Army publications from the Federation of American Scientists web site,” I responded today. “I have decided not to comply.”

By law the Army cannot copyright its publications, the response explained. Nor is FAS, a non-governmental organization, subject to internal Army regulations on information policy. . . .

To eliminate potential confusion, we added a disclaimer to our Army doctrine web page indicating that the FAS collection of Army records is not an official Army source, and directing readers to several such official sites. — Secrecy News

The new regulation has been criticized in recent days because of its potential negative effects on military bloggers, effects which the Army denies.

Now a copy of the document is mirrored here, too. Come and get it while it’s hot!

One thought on “Army tries to suppress new OPSEC regulation

  • June 25, 2007 at 11:46 am
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    It is all about “THE NEED TO KNOW” – If you belong to the group then you would understand what is at stake here and the general public does not possess “THE NEED TO KNOW” nor would they be obligated to protect this valuable information (lack of understanding for the protection of valuable information). Just because this material is not marked as classified information does not mean anyone can have access to it – these handling caveats are there for a purpose – not for general dissemination – requires certain means for protection of the information contained within (handling instructions – rules for those who are allowed access to the material in order to protect its dissemination).

    This document should not be for all eyes to see – Consider your most private information – bank accounts – SSAN – credit card information – loans, etc. Would anyone in their right mind want this valuable information to be made available to anyone who wanted to see it, on-line — I hope your response is NO!

    Then why would or government wish for someone who did not understand how and why they should protect this valuable information be granted access to it and be able to copy and forward on to anyone they felt should know about it – THAT IS WHY THERE ARE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS MATERIAL – TO WARN THOSE WHO ARE SUPPOST TO HAVE ACCESS ARE MADE AWARE THAT THEY MUST PROTECT THIS VALUABLE DATA. READ ALL THE WARNINGS ATTACHED TO THIS MATERIAL – THEY ARE THERE FOR A PURPOSE – SO THAT THIS DATA DOES NOT END UP IN THE GENERAL PUBLIC – IF YOU ARE READING THIS DATA THEN SO TOO IS OUR ENEMY. DO NOT BE SO GULLABLE TO BELIEVE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS OUT TO HARM US AND KEEP EVERYTHING FROM US – MOST THINGS ARE DONE FOR OUR BENEFIT NOT TO HARM US OR KEEP US IN THE DARK. Yes, there are times when certain things are kept or we are deceived and that is wrong – this will never be a perfect world – we are human.

    This information should be removed and not displayed for all to see. This can and will cause harm to our systems that are in place to protect each and every citizen in the U.S. of A.
    If you are unwilling to share all your personal data then think of this data as personal – needs to be protected to protect you and me.

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