The Defense Department is instructing its employees and contractors not to seek out or download classified material from the public domain that was leaked last week to the Guardian and Washington Post — material detailing a massive, covert and government-run surveillance program.

According to a Friday memorandum from Timothy A. Davis, DOD security director:

Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority. It is the responsibility of every DoD employee and contractor to protect classified information and to follow established procedures for accessing classified information only through authorized means. Leadership must establish a vigilant command climate that underscores the critical importance of safeguarding classified material against compromise.

Accordingly, we request all DoD components send prompt notification to your employees and contractors reminding them of these obligations. Procedures for responding to classified information found in the public domain are attached. These procedures will be promulgated in future DoD issuances.

A similar edict came down in 2010, when the President Barack Obama administration cautioned federal employees from reading or downloading classified U.S. diplomatic cables WikiLeaks had disclosed.

View Source