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A contractor that runs much of the Internet service functions for the U.S. Marine Corp and the U.S. Navy says it is a Navy operation that appears to be blocking access to WorldNetDaily, a leading news source on the Web.
Barbara Mendoza of EDS marketing strategy and communications said her company runs the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, servicing bases in those two military branches across the nation. But after checking, she says her system is not responsible for the trouble that has prompted a flood of military service member contacts with WND about why they are not able to access the site.
“The WND website is not blocked on the NMCI enterprise ISA policy nor by the NMCI DNS black hole,” she said. “It appears the website is blocked by the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) government website,” she said.
Further calls by WND trying to contact those with access to that operation were unsuccessful.
Efforts to resolve the problem have been going on since early in the week, when Marine officers in Quantico, Va., where the Internet services for both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy are managed, told WND they are investigating the situation.
“I sent (the question) to the appropriate folks. They can research it,” Capt. Teresa Ovalle told WND. “I don’t know how long it will take.” She could not be reached via e-mail or telephone for an update on the investigation yesterday.
Ovalle suggested there could be nothing more than a technical glitch involved and that unplanned blocking can happen through circumstances that do not involve the actual websites.
Sailors use their free time to check e-mail in the library aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Feb. 24, 2007. The military is looking into why many Navy and Marine bases have completely blocked access to WND.com
Mendoza said she uncovered a link that revealed the NCDOC computer was blocking a series of Web addresses that appeared to encompass the WND location, but that was outside of her jurisdiction.
“It looks like it’s an NCDOC block list problem,” she confirmed. A Web address contact for that location yesterday gave WND a security warning and an advisory against proceeding.
WND readers have told the news site that they noticed filters began blocking Marine and Navy computer access to WND at least 18 months ago.
“The first time I was unable to access WND from NMCI was about 18 months ago,” wrote one man, who wasn’t identified by WND because of his position. “I was attempting to access using www.WorldNetDaily.com and was denied access. I then tried www.WND.com and was able to use that URL for about four months until it, too, was banned.
“When the WND.com URL was banned, I had good reason to believe that the WorldNetDaily.com had not been banned by accident. There was/is a deliberate attempt to ban WorldNetDaily,” he wrote. “As would be expected, I was a little upset.”
However, he wrote that as a contractor he was unable to do anything about it. “I … hope you are able to clear up this mess,” he said.
WND founder Joseph Farah has said he doubts the block was the result of political activism, even though one cannot be certain until the investigation is complete.
“I don’t want to make accusations or cast aspersions on anyone associated with the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marines, two great military institutions I revere,” he said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation. It has seriously hurt WND’s ability to grow and compete. But as long as this situation is resolved quickly and doesn’t occur again, I’m sure we at WND will simply be grateful the error was corrected. We are just looking forward to rebuilding our once substantial audience among sailors and Marines.”
Another reader, whose name also was withheld by WND, told the news site he has spent time working for Electronic Data Systems, the principal contractor running NMCI for the Navy and Marine bases, and discovered he was unable to reach WND.
WND’s own server statistics show the news site has a huge following among members of the military. Statistics gathered over just a few days show that from computers with an address ending in
“.mil,” indicating a military source, there have been readers coming through almost 1,000 Internet service providers.
The majority are from “army.mil” and “af.mil” sources, with a few from “pentagon.mil” and “centcom.mil.”
Ironically, for the past 10 years WorldNetDaily has been immensely popular among U.S. military personnel, with countless service people both stateside and abroad emailing WND insider news tips, concerns and notes of appreciation. Indeed, from recent stories like the dismissal of Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt for unauthorized praying all the way back to one of the defining issues of the 2000 presidential election – the suppression of the military vote and the subsequent court-ordered recount of Florida’s military votes – WND has taken the lead on stories important to the U.S. military.
WND, a fiercely independent news site, was launched 10 years ago by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, and for more than 100 weeks in a row was listed as the No. 1 most popular website in the world by Global 100.
Just within the last few weeks, Internet audience ratings service comScore Media Metrix said WND’s traffic growth was No. 1 among all political news sources and No. 2 among all sites related to politics in any way.
WND’s traffic increased 54 percent in January, according to the report, which said WND attracted more visitors in the month than the websites of any of the presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
WND has also been consistently ranked by several major Internet ratings agencies as the “stickiest” news site on the Internet – meaning readers average more time on it than any other.
By WND’s own traffic counts, the site attracts about 6 million “unique visitors” (meaning different people) every month. It attracts between 50 million and 60 million pageviews per month.
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