The notice went out Friday and suggested any federal employee or member of the military would be breaking the law if they looked at the documents published by the WikiLeaks Internet site, The New York Times reported Sunday.
"Classified information, whether or not already posted on public Web sites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority," the notice said. "Viewing or downloading still-classified documents from unclassified government computers creates a security violation."
The directive made no reference to reading, listening to or viewing media reports about the leak, which has had massive coverage internationally. Some media has lauded the WikiLeaks group as champions of the freedom of information, while others have denounced it as an invasion of a state's right to privacy.
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