The nation’s biggest defense contractors, who employ thousands of people with security clearances, are taking steps to restrict their access to Wikileaks, including one company which is blocking employees from accessing any website, including news stories, with “wikileaks” in the URL.
An employee of one major defense contractor told TPM that she wanted to read our report on the Library of Congress blocking access to WikiLeaks, but was unable to do so because the company blocked the webpage.
“I’ve clicked on a lot of headlines on many different news sites and any link that includes the dreaded letter sequence ends up displaying the company’s ‘Access Denied’ page,” the employee wrote.[TPM SLIDESHOW: Inside The Bahnhof Bunker, Home Of Wikileaks’ Servers]
When a website with “wikileaks” in the URL pops up, this message is displayed:
We block web sites which contain inappropriate content, those that contain malicious code, and those that provide services that may be unsafe to the company network and or its resources.
The company’s server also crosses out links which are not accessible because they mention Wikileaks. As an example, the employee sent along a screengrab of what the Daily Beast looks like on a company computer:
The defense contractor’s position towards websites puts them out further than the military itself, which has only blocked access to specific URL addresses so far. A source close to the defense information agency told TPM that WikiLeaks.org (which has been offline for everyone) is blocked under the “INOSC East Global Block.” One mirror site, http://mirror.wikileaks.info is blocked as under the category of “Political/Activist Groups,” while another at http://188.8.131.52/ just wouldn’t load.
As TPM first reported today, the White House has requested that federal agencies bar their employees from looking at WikiLeaks and its leaked diplomatic cables.
*Late update: A Boeing spokesman confirmed to TPM on Tuesday that the defense contractor blocked access to WikiLeaks.
“Wikileaks has been blocked for all Boeing employees for several months. We proactively block a number of sites that we’ve determined pose unwise risks to the company and our employees,” said spokesman Todd Blecher.
Blecher said he couldn’t cite the exact month the block was put in place, and said he wouldn’t comment on any guidance the company received from the government.
“I will say that as a government contractor we know our responsibility to protect against employees inadvertently handling information that the government considers to be classified or otherwise controlled,” Blecher said.