White House to federal employees: Don't read those Wikileaks cables!

In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization…

The effort, while understandable, seems entirely futile, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington nonprofit group that has combated government efforts to keep certain government documents secret.

“It just may be a little too late for the government to push these documents down the memory hole,” Mr. Rotenberg said, adding that his center did not support the initial public release of the material. “This is Orwell thought police in the age of the Internet, as these are already so widely accessible on servers around the world.”The Library of Congress has joined in the push, blocked visitors to its reading rooms, or anyone else using its computer system, from accessing the WikiLeaks site, noting that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”