Air Force Reportedly Blocks Sites Posting WikiLeaks

12/14/2010 06:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This story is being updated.

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly blocking news websites which have posted the WikiLeaks cables. In what some are calling an unprecedented intrusion by the government, at least 25 sites have been blocked so far.

Air Force users who try to view the websites of the New York Times, Britain's Guardian, Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde or German magazine Der Spiegel instead get a page that says, "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored," according to a screen shot reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The notice warns that anyone who accesses unauthorized sites from military computers could be punished.

Reuters quoted Major Toni Tones, a spokesperson for the Air Force Space Command in Colorado, as saying that the Air Force "routinely blocks Air Force network access to websites hosting inappropriate materials or malware (malicious software) and this includes any website that hosts classified materials and those that are released by WikiLeaks."

Previously, the State Department had suggested that students consider not interacting with the cables, and the federal government has banned employees from accessing the cables on their work computers. The Pentagon also bans employees from accessing the documents, but had not gone as far as blocking news sites that publish the documents, reports Reuters.

Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News blog, called the ban "astonishing" and told The Huffington Post that this move was dramatically different from previous attempts at censorship. According to Aftergood:

In the past, government agencies have selectively blocked access to private websites that post controversial, disputed or classified information. But a block on the New York Times web site is really unheard of. It represents an extreme misunderstanding of information security policy.

If you're in the U.S. military or you work at a government agency and your access to online news sites posting the WikiLeaks documents has been restricted or blocked, please let us know by emailing marcus@huffingtonpost.com.