WASHINGTON – The Army has updated its 17-year-old rule book on espionage to specifically require that troops alert authorities if they suspect classified leaks to the media.
The revision comes on the heels of the service's WikiLeaks debacle. Earlier this year, an Army intelligence analyst was charged with providing a classified video to WikiLeaks, an anti-war organization that runs what it describes as a whistleblower Web site.
The new Army regulation, released Monday, requires that troops alert authorities if they suspect that classified information has been provided to anyone who isn't authorized to have it. It also directs the Army to create a central system to collect threat reports.
The guideline identifies media leaks as a threat for the first time. Soldiers also are required to alert authorities if classified information has been removed from the workplace.
The guidelines are much more specific than the 1993 version, which requires that troops report cases of treason or attempted intrusions into automated systems.
Pfc. Bradley Manning is charged with leaking video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. WikiLeaks posted the video on its website in April.
Military investigators say Manning also is a person of interest in the leak of nearly 77,000 Afghan war records that WikiLeaks published online in July.
The Army regulation was first reported by the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News blog.
Steven Aftergood, author of Secrecy News, said he was somewhat surprised to see warnings of media leaks lumped in with cases of sabotage and subversion. The changes are most likely a reflection of the government's "increasingly aggressive posture" toward keeping its secrets from the public, he said.
"It's part of a larger picture of heightened sensitivity to external and internal threats," Aftergood said.
Lt. Col. David Patterson Jr., an Army spokesman, said the revision was not in response to the WikiLeaks case "but involved a comprehensive review and update process."