AMERICAblog has been raising awareness over the past week about a problematic Internet filtering problem at the Pentagon, and rightfully so. Apparently, a preponderance of LGBT news sites have been blocked by the DOD, including AMERICAblog, Towleroad, Good As You, The Bilerico Project, Pam’s House Blend, The Advocate, and the Human Rights Campaign’s blog. (According to our sources, ThinkProgress and our LGBT vertical remain available.) Though the filtering itself is a problem, the Pentagon’s response has been that much more troubling.
On Friday, the DOD released a statement on its Facebook page completely obfuscating the situation:
We’ve received some questions/comment recently about DOD’s web access policies, and wanted to provide this statement:
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.
As AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis points out, this statement does not withstand scrutiny on multiple counts. First of all, the filtration software specifically identifies the sites as “LGBT” as a reason for being blocked. Secondly, this doesn’t explain why plenty of anti-gay conservative blogs and personal pages are not blocked, including RedState, Breitbart, the Family Research Council’s blog, the National Organization for Marriage’s blog, and Ann Coulter’s and Glenn Beck’s personal sites. There is also no explanation how LGBT content could threaten national security, though of course the filters could predate the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell when this question was considered controversial.