Rumsfeld orders .mil Web lockdown

Friday, 17 January 2003, 1:26 PM EST

U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week directed the armed service to strip military Web sites of information that could benefit adversaries, citing a terrorist training manual and a year-long review of the Department of Defense's 700-gigabyte Web presence.

"An al Qaeda training manual recovered in Afghanistan states: 'Using public sources openly and without resorting to illegal means, it is possible to gather at least 80% of information about the enemy,'" Rumsfeld wrote in a memo electronically circulated throughout the armed services. "One must conclude our enemies access DoD Web sites on a regular basis."

The Pentagon has long enjoyed an uneasy relationship with the Web, beginning in 1998 when then-deputy defense secretary John Hamre issued a directive that greatly restricted the type of unclassified information defense sites can put online (classified data is not allowed on the Internet). Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Defense Department pulled or pared thousands of additional pages, and established still stricter policies on Web publication.

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