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Pentagon Says It's Looking Into Blocked LGBT Sites

PentagonPentagon Press Secretary George Little released a statement last night in which he said the Department of Defense is going to look into reports that it blocked LGBT sites like this one, Human Rights Campaign's online digs, Bilerico, Good As You and others.

The statement via AMERICAblog, another blocked site:

Recent reports have suggested that the Pentagon is blocking access to LGBT related websites. The Department of Defense does not block websites based on LGBT content.

The Department of Defense strongly supports the rights of gay and lesbian men and women in uniform to serve proudly and openly.

With Internet technology constantly evolving, the Department of Defense is working to ensure that service members have access to an open Internet while preserving information and operational security.

There are a number of different Internet tools used across the department to ensure that adequate cybersecurity and information security standards are maintained, and in certain instances, access may limited to content not directly related to carrying out mission or professional duties.

In order to help maintain adequate levels of information security in support of DoD policy, some components employ commercial tools that may allow users to visit "news" sites while disallowing pages categorized as "personal sites and blogs".

No filter is perfect and some sites may have unnecessarily been blocked. The Department Chief Information Officer will work with relevant components to address these situations.

John Aravosis at AMERICAblog notes how remarkable it is that Little himself, rather than an underling, released the statement, a move that suggests the Department, a known ally of LGBT staffers and pride, will act fast to open up the online avenues.

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  1. They're looking into the possibility of creating a blue-ribbon committee to investigate the need to create a bureaucratic task force that will look into the problems associated with investigating the feasibility of examining the policies that govern the procedures that will be investigated by... Fooey.

    Posted by: jomicur | Jan 5, 2013 1:08:08 PM


  2. BRAVO for Mr. Aravosis, but if he read his readers' comments more consistently, he'd know that, as I posted there yesterday, the Pentagon has known about the problem long before his reported "summer of 2012." Out Marine Capt. Matthew Phelps has written, emphasis mine: "I've been complaining to EVERY LEVEL OF COMMUNICATIONS SHOP IN THE MARINE CORPS about this SINCE September 12, 2011." Second, as anyone knows whose paid attention, the Pentagon has a history of, pardon my French, outright LYING to cover its ass, Administration after Administration—and Obama, Inc., is NO exception [SEE: May 2009 lies about whether they'd been talking about DADT repeal yet, and the last TWO YEARS of lies about how they STILL need to "study" the feasibility of extending gay military couple benefits after their November 2010 report admitted they already investigated the issues extensively]. Hopefully the promised report on their “investigation” will be less devious than that in 2008 about the initial erasing by someone IN the Pentagon building itself of any reference on Wikipedia to the fact the Army Major Alan Rogers was gay after he’d been killed in Iraq. As some will remember, one of Rogers’ gay acquaintances traced the IP address of whoever had deleted the information to, and found it assigned to “Army Information Systems Command-Pentagon,” and the department then run by a Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Intelligence who had worked with Rogers, and participated in his funeral and Pentagon memorial service. Afterward, then Army spokesman Maj. Nathan Banks claimed that they could not identify the source of the Wikipedia article edits eliminating any mention Rogers was gay; and that his friend’s IP tracing “[did] not NECESSARILY indicate” that the IP address associated with the changes “NECESSARILY belongs to any one specific office.” Emphasis mine.

    OF COURSE, there are many well-intentioned, non-homophobic people in the Pentagon, but Press Secretary Little's hands are not exactly squeakly clean for he, too, has helped perpetuate THE BIG LIE, claiming as recently as this past July that they are “working through questions related to benefits” to gay service members. And that his statement about censorship is filled with disingenuous dodges and ludicrous implications [HRC has been a threat to many things, but national security isn’t one of them], hardly warms one’s heart. Whether he was aware of it personally, based on the failure of anyone to do anything for the last nearly year and a half since Marine Maj. Matthew Phelps first brought it to their attention in September 2011—along with the institution’s two and a half centuries of rabid, ruthless homophobia—Good People notwithstanding, the approach of the Community and its paid advocates must uncompromisingly be: “Guilty until proven innocent.”

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 5, 2013 2:21:44 PM


  3. Sorry for typo about Capt. Phelps in the last sentence.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 5, 2013 2:23:00 PM


  4. Sorry for typo about Capt. Phelps in the last sentence.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 5, 2013 2:23:01 PM


  5. Another example of inefficiency in the DOD in that they have lots of different blockers installed. They are probably paying way too much as a result and with no central control.

    Posted by: Jim Elliott | Jan 5, 2013 2:31:16 PM


  6. Good luck with that. When you are from the most despised minority, you can try to swim against the negative deluge -- if you want to devote your lifetime's energy to it. Got decades to spare? Someone or something will always be there to stop you. :) Happy New Year!

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 5, 2013 3:33:06 PM


  7. Gary, some of us are willing to fight for equality rather than letting the majority stomp all over us. But you're weak and I guess we'll just have to accept it.

    Now go troll some other site.

    Posted by: MateoM | Jan 5, 2013 5:44:01 PM


  8. When I was working at the Pentagon during the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, I frequently read Towleroad for updates. I'm still there, but in a different office now, so when this story came out the other day, I immediately pulled up Towleroad. My first stint, I was in an OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) office and now I'm in a Washington Headquarters Services run office, both Pentagon resident agencies. It's important to note that 26,000 people work at the Pentagon and are on multiple networks--Army, Air Force, Navy, OSD, DoD, WHS, etc. They have different rules, guidelines, enforcement, and contractors that run them. I'm sure this is happening. However, it's important to understand the "Pentagon" doesn't do anything vis-a-vis electronic use policies. It's actually closer to a dozen different overseeing offices with 26,000 people working under a dozen different published/unpublished and official/unofficial and enforced/unenforced policies. There are plenty of homophobic jerks around, but I wouldn't actually call most of the Pentagon and definitely not the OSD (SecDef) antigay. And my access has not ever been limited.

    Posted by: llm | Jan 5, 2013 7:27:18 PM


  9. I'm brave enough to state my opinions on this one sided, delusional and often bias site. What equal do you want Mateom? (is that your real name?) That of the neighbor mowing his lawn in suburbia? Try as you might you'll never really be equal. Equal to what?. You and your "Family" will always be mocked --never accepted by many segments of society. Hope you realized that going in. No troll --assho--.

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 5, 2013 8:03:02 PM


  10. There is a petition started at the WHITE HOUSE to end DOD blocking of LGBT web sites, please go to http://wh.gov/Uw58 and sign it.

    Posted by: George Powers | Jan 5, 2013 11:01:33 PM


  11. @LLM - the Pentagon isn't the only federal bureaucracy burdened with a gigantic I.T. minefield. I work in I.T. for the USDA and it's the same crap here. Territorialism, political infighting and one-upsmanship, chronically short budgets and constantly hiring H1B's to come in and make a mess of things - frankly, we're stuck with it all across the government. In the time I've been here I've lost count of the f'd-up deployments that could have been avoided, been stunned by the purchases of the most idiotic and useless crap - both hardware and software - that I've almost come to the conclusion that the only reason a hacker doesn't take down the entire Federal system is because it's such a mess that even the Black Hat Society couldn't figure it out. Then again, when you take the I.T. decision-making process out of I.T.'s hands and give it over to political hacks and bean-counters, what else could you expect?

    Posted by: Mommie Dammit | Jan 6, 2013 6:00:23 AM


  12. This isn't limited to the Pentagon, people. I'm in I.T. at the USDA and see similar problems with our content and app filters there. I don't have an access problem with any of the LGBT sites, but I do have trouble accessing the comment editors, flash objects and anything that's Java-based. Two examples: here on Towleroad I can read anything directly posted and submit comments. I can NOT see or access anything in AskTell news ticker, and some ads containing ActiveX objects will be blocked. On JoeMyGod I have the same conditions, with the added stupidity that I have no access to the comment editor - Joe recently switched to Disqus, and its API is something the "geniuses" in development operations don't like. Now figure this one out... I can log into YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo and watch all the smutty, subversive stuff I want, and I can even play Farmville and Angry Birds. But I can't access NetFlix or Hulu!?! WTF? The USDA/NITC splash page you get is something that maunders on about conserving bandwidth on USDA networks... odd, since we're consistently loading and using some of the biggest resource hogs in the industry for USDA programs.
    While I have no doubt there is some homophobia involved in the Pentagon's mess, I also know that it's not the only driver behind it. Ignorance, stupidity (yes, Virginia, there IS a difference), poor-to-none planning, and badly run deployments play a significant part in this.

    Posted by: Mommie Dammit | Jan 6, 2013 6:23:21 AM


  13. LGBT Pentagon workers should not feel slighted in the least, my housemate said the Treasury Dept. blocks ESPN.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Jan 6, 2013 6:48:38 AM


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