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Army tells soldiers they can blog after all

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The Army is downplaying its own regulations requiring soldiers to get their commander's approval before blogging or sending email after the restrictions raised concerns about free speech on the net.

While the regulation hasn't been rescinded, a fact sheet released yesterday effectively says 'never mind.' "In no way will every blog post/update a Soldier makes on his or her blog need to be monitored or first approved by an immediate supervisor," the fact sheet states. It was released a day after Wired News reported the clamp down on online dispatches.

The clarification is reassuring, but it still contradicts an official regulation the Army adopted in April that requires all Army personnel to "Consult with their immediate supervisor and their OPSEC Officer for an OPSEC review prior to publishing or posting information in a public forum."

Army Regulation 530--1: Operations Security (OPSEC) goes on to state:

"This includes, but is not limited to letters, resumes, articles for publication, electronic mail (e-mail), Web site postings, web log (blog) postings, discussion in Internet information forums, discussion in Internet message boards or other forms of dissemination or documentation."

"The regulation was clumsily drafted, and it was not well thought out," Steven Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists director of the Project on Government Secrecy, told FCW.com. "The fact sheet is a much more moderate approach, and I think that is right way to go."

No word if Army wonks will change the official directive. ®

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