By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com January 07 2013 4:05 PM ET
A Department of Defense spokesman says they are investigating censorship of gay and progressive websites on Pentagon computers, but so far the cause looks like "operational security reasons."
Americablog editors were notified that their website is unaccessible on military-issued computers. Then Americablog uncovered that several websites geared toward progressive causes and LGBT rights, including The Advocate, Good As You, The Human Rights Campaign's blog, Pam's House Blend, and Bilerico, have all been banned using a filter labeled "LGBT." Conversely, websites of antigay news outlets and organizations including the American Family Association, the National Organization for Marriage, and Red State are not blocked.
According to Americablog, the LGBT filter existed before "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed in 2011 but has not since been removed. The Pentagon has been notified of the problem as early as summer 2012. The software filtering web content on military computers is Blue Coat, which is also used to censor content in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, among other countries.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement Monday that the “The Department of Defense does not block LGBT websites. The pages referenced in several recent articles were denied access based on web filters blocking the 'Blog/Personal Pages' category, not the specific sites themselves. While individuals on a DoD system may visit portions of the main websites (i.e., www.towleroad.com, www.AMERICAblog.com), certain additional links/pages – to include personal blogs – are blocked. Personal pages and blogs are blocked in accordance with DoD policy allowing military commanders the option to restrict access to personal pages for operational security reasons.”