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Military services caution personnel against accessing WikiLeaks site

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
  • Marine Corps e-mail says looking at the WikiLeaks documents could be a security violation
  • This is not an official ban, but a formal policy may follow, a senior Defense official says
  • Military personnel could have their security clearances revoked, the e-mail says

Washington (CNN) -- U.S. military personnel are being warned not to log onto the WikiLeaks website to view the tens of thousands of leaked military documents there, saying it could be considered a security violation.

While it is not an official ban, a senior Defense Department official told CNN there is consideration being given to establishing a formal policy.

A Marine Corps e-mail circulating within some offices of the corps notes that personnel are "cautioned" not to access the WikiLeaks site from personal, public or government computers.

"By willingly accessing the WIKILEAKS website for the purpose of viewing the posted classified material -- these actions constitute the unauthorized processing, disclosure, viewing, and downloading of classified information onto an UNAUTHORIZED computer system not approved to store classified information. Meaning they have WILLINGLY committed a SECURITY VIOLATION," the e-mail warns.

While the message is not directed specifically at the entire corps, it goes on to note that viewing the classified documents on WikiLeaks could lead military security officials to "immediately remove, suspend 'FOR CAUSE' all security clearances and accesses."

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The message also tells service members, "Do not ask friends to access the website from their home computer." The Marine Corps warns such actions could also lead to failing a polygraph examination and loss of security clearances.

A similar message has been circulated in Navy units dealing with security. Spokesmen for both the Army and Air Force say those services are considering similar messages. All sources declined to be identified by name because the entire WikiLeaks matter involves the security of classified information.

On Thursday, at a briefing for reporters, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell demanded that WikiLeaks stop soliciting for leaks on its site, saying it is trying to entice people to "break the law and share classified information."

"WikiLeaks' webpage constitutes a brazen solicitation to U.S. government officials, including our military, to break the law," Morrell said. "WikiLeaks' public assertion that submitting confidential material to WikiLeaks is safe, easy and protected by law is materially false and misleading."