Army Documents Posted “Illegally,” Army Says

A U.S. Army official told the Federation of American Scientists that Army documents on the FAS web site had been published by FAS “illegally” and must be removed.

“There are only 5 Official Army Publications Sites,” wrote Cheryl Clark of the U.S. Army Publications Directorate in a May 4 email message. “You are not one of them.”

“You can link to our publications, but you cannot host them,” she wrote.

Furthermore, she indicated, a recent Army Regulation on “Operations Security” (first published by Wired News and mirrored on the FAS site) was “not intended for Public release.”

“Please remove this publication immediately or further action will be taken,” Ms. Clark warned.

“I have considered your request that we remove Army publications from the Federation of American Scientists web site,” I responded today. “I have decided not to comply.”

By law the Army cannot copyright its publications, the response explained. Nor is FAS, a non-governmental organization, subject to internal Army regulations on information policy.

“Accordingly, our publications are not illegal nor in violation of any applicable regulation.”

To eliminate potential confusion, we added a disclaimer to our Army doctrine web page indicating that the FAS collection of Army records is not an official Army source, and directing readers to several such official sites.

No Responses to “Army Documents Posted “Illegally,” Army Says”

  1. Cary James May 7, 2007 at 3:44 PM #

    Thanks for this act of stubbornness in the face of the continuing assumption of absolute power.

  2. Dave May 7, 2007 at 3:51 PM #

    Bravo! “Further action will be taken” means “hopefully you’ll feel threatened enough and comply without thinking.” Good for you for not giving in so easily where many others have.

  3. Allen Thomson May 7, 2007 at 3:54 PM #

    Heh. I’d guess that Ms. Clark is a lower-level bureaucrat who doesn’t quite understand the nature of reality and neglected to run her letter to you through the legal department. Her use of “illegally” is something of a tip-off.

    Be sure to let us know if there’s a follow-up, though I don’t think there will be.

  4. Nemo May 7, 2007 at 3:58 PM #

    Kudos for standing up to this ridiculous threat, and for making it public, which I’m guessing is about the last thing the Army wanted. :)

  5. Quentin McNamara May 7, 2007 at 6:38 PM #

    I bet Cheryl is embarrassed to discover there are seven official publication sites, not five…

  6. EvilPoet May 7, 2007 at 8:19 PM #

    “The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand
    with the deepest idealism and love of country.”
    -Robert F. Kennedy

  7. Peter Stinson May 8, 2007 at 1:10 AM #

    Oh, I’m so scared! Are you scared, too? Ooo, maybe the government will do something… Perhaps we should all just hide our heads in the sand and let the government take care of everything… People don’t actually need to know what’s going on; that’s why we have the government…

    Meanwhile… keep at it!

  8. Mike Conley May 8, 2007 at 3:15 AM #

    Good on you!

    Cheryl could also stand to learn how to punctuate a sentence. But I suppose the Army doesn’t care much about grammar.

  9. Irving May 8, 2007 at 5:27 AM #

    There is a peculiar new species of bureaucrat that emerged with the advent of the Bush administration: the mid-level political functionary–a kind of soviet-style political officer whose purpose is to strike terror in the rank and file so that they toe the line. Almost all departments have them. You find them re-writing technical and scientific reports, determining the bona-fides of juridical appointees, monitoring the doctrinal purity of memos and papers. They will assume authority over anything that wafts into their aura and the only valid approach is to remind them that there are checks, balances, laws and common sense although the best course of action is to offer them a job with Halliburton.

  10. pzykr May 9, 2007 at 4:13 PM #

    Good on ya, Steven!

    Good luck…

  11. David Zetland May 9, 2007 at 6:31 PM #

    Well done! Same silly ideas as’s ISP revoking service [now up!].

    Keep up the pressure for rule of law of/by/for the people.

  12. Alan May 10, 2007 at 4:23 AM #

    Good for you, Steven! I’m glad you held firm. “Further action will be taken” is such a vague threat. “Stop that! Or I’ll, ummm, email you again!” Hopefully it’s just bureaucratic BS.

  13. Don May 10, 2007 at 2:18 PM #

    from -


    One of the most commonly encountered questions we get deals with the real meaning of “For Official Use Only” and the implications for storage, transmittal, and disposal. The following information, while not formal policy, will hopefully help steer you straight.

    First, off, “FOUO” is primarily a Department of Defense phrase/acronym. Other government departments use it, but many have also come up with their own, similar phrases, to include “Sensitive but Unclassified,” or “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” or just “Official Use Only.” While this discussion only covers FOUO, it hopefully might also answer questions relating to these other, similar markings.

    “Unclassified//For Official Use Only” (abbreviated to U//FOUO) is a handling instruction, as opposed to a true classification marking. It is used only for documents or products which contain material which is exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act. That is, U//FOUO cannot be gratuitously placed on any document simply as a means of better controlling the content.

    For any document/product correctly bearing the U//FOUO handling instruction, certain safeguards must be taken. Generally speaking, the material should be treated as if it were classified CONFIDENTIAL. This means it cannot be discarded in the open trash, made available to the general public, or posted on an uncontrolled website. It can, however, be shared with individuals with a need to know the content, while still under the control of the individual possessing the document or product. For example, U//FOUO material relating to security precautions during overseas assignments may be shared with family members at home. The material should then be returned to the government office and be properly retained or destroyed. Wherever possible, U//FOUO information should not be passed over unencrypted communications lines (e.g., open phones, non-secure fax, personal e-mails). If no secure communications are available for transmission, U//FOUO material may be sent via unprotected means, with supervisory approval after risk has been assessed.

    All IOSS products which are marked U//FOUO should be handled in the manner described above. If you have questions, please send us an e-mail at . Defense Department personnel can learn more about FOUO policy by consulting DoD Directive 5400.7-R, “Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program,” dated September 4, 1998.

  14. Charles Wilson May 10, 2007 at 11:13 PM #

    The document is not secret and it’s not protected by copyright. If the Army didn’t want it published, they shouldn’t have published it.

    The Army is not only wrong, but stupid. No wonder the Iraq War is lost. These people can’t find their ass with both hands.

  15. TMKent July 16, 2007 at 8:42 PM #

    To Charles Wilson: The original term was: “…can’t find their ass with both hands BEHIND THEIR BACK.” It’s more poignant that way, isn’t it? :)