Senate security is reportedly telling its staffers to ignore the widely available “top-secret” documents that revealed a couple of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) data-collections programs last week.
According to Forbes, the department sent out an email to its employees saying that despite the fact that the information is out there and in the public eye, it is still classified and should be treated as such.
The reported email advises, “Senate employees and contractors shall not, while accessing the Web on unclassified government systems, access or download documents that are known or suspected to contain classified information.”
So, you know, don’t go to any news websites, staffers.
Last week, the Guardian posted a secret court order issued to Verizon asking for all call data from anyone making calls within the U.S. to foreign receivers — or any calls made from a U.S. party to a U.S. party. This data includes originating and terminating phone numbers, how long the call lasted, and when it was made. The next day, the Washington Post released a slide deck intended for National Security Agency advisers that outlined PRISM, a data-collection program that requests photos, videos, audio files, and more from some of the nation’s top technology companies.
These documents were later given legitimacy through comments made by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, and a reported criminal investigation launched to discover who released them.
Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, revealed himself as the whistle-blower soon thereafter.
It seems the Department of Defense sent a similar email around saying all employees and contractors should respect the documents as classified and keep away from them.