On December 30, 2010, Captain Andrew Poulos, Jr. of the U.S. Army Police sent Public Intelligence a threatening demand to remove a document from this site. The U.S. Army Police Intelligence Fraudulent Law Enforcement Credentials and Badges Guide, which was posted less than ten hours prior to the demand, is a “law enforcement sensitive” and “for official use only” document that details forged credentials which may be used by criminals and terrorists posing as law enforcement officials. The document is unique in that the warnings against publication featured on its cover claim to subject anyone who publishes the document to penalties, stating that the “release of information contained herein without the permission of the United States Government is prohibited by law, and may subject those responsible for its unauthorized release to criminal and/or civil penalties”. The message sent by Captain Poulos seems to echo this statement, demanding that if we do not remove the document we must “provide the name and contact information for the individual for which legal process can be served.”
This, of course, is absurd, as it is a well established fact that there are no prohibitions on the publication of “for official use only” (FOUO) documents by those outside of the U.S. government. In fact, a recent Congressional Research Service report makes it clear that even the publication of classified information is protected under the First Amendment. Government employees and contractors sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from being able to disseminate FOUO information without facing penalties. However, an average citizen is not bound by any of these restrictions.
This site is not bound by any legal requirements to conceal FOUO information. Far from it, we are actually empowered with a fundamental right to publish it. Despite Captain Poulos’ statements, we do not require the government’s permission to publish information. It is our constitutional right to inform ourselves and others via the dissemination of information in the public interest. Many of the documents published on this site have been written about in newspapers and publications around the world, in scholarly articles, and even in documents produced by the U.S. Government. In fact, the Department of Defense has cited FOUO documents from this site in its official doctrine publications.
Subject: Unauthorized Posting of U.S. Government Document (UNCLASSIFIED)
From: “Poulos, Andrew Mr CIV USA IMCOM” <Andrew.Poulos@us.army.mil>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 14:02:07 -0500
This website has posted a Restricted U.S. Government document titled U.S.
Army Police Intelligence Fraudulent Law Enforcement Credentials and Badges
Guide. This document was obtained and posted without the permission of the
U.S. Government. Remove the document immediately. If you will not comply
with its removal, please provide the name and contact information for the
individual for which legal process can be served.
Captain Andrew Poulos, Jr.
Department of the Army Police
977 Murphy Drive
Fort Monmouth, NJ 07703
Office: (732) 532-4203
Fax: (732) 532-5684