US Air Force orders ban on removable media

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Late lockdown.

Senior US Air Force officials have appealed to personnel not to use removable media on any systems residing on the Defense Department's SIPRNET network, in the wake of the latest Wikileaks scandal.

"All Air Force organizations must immediately suspend all SIPRNET data transfer activities on removable media," read a December 3 order, obtained by Wired magazine.

SPIRNET was the source of the latest tranche of documents that many suspect were delivered to WikiLeaks by Private Bradley Manning.

The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued a statement in November after the latest release conceding that its post- September 11 efforts to improve information-sharing had "backfired".

The appeal to personnel not to use removable media appears to be an interim measure as Defense responds to two recent reviews which called on the department to disable all write capabilties for removable media on classified systems and limit data transfers to a few machines.

Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, in a radio interview responding to cables about his character, said liberal access to US information systems was the "core problem" behind the release.

"When you have a quarter of million cables and on top of that you have people who have had access to the system ... in excess of two million people, that's where the problem lies," the former Australian Prime Minister said.

Stopping leaks however, is expected to have a price-tag.

The Air Force order also acknowledged that the ban on removable media will mean staff "will experience difficulty with transferring data for operational needs which could impede timeliness of mission execution."

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