Not quite, but we have been blocked at the Air Staff, at Langley AFB, and at MacDill, Hickam, and every other Air Force installation.
After posting our special report on last year's nuclear accident at Minot AFB, In From the Cold (apparently) became blog non grata for the Air Force. We received a flurry of e-mails Monday morning, notifying us that our blog could no longer be accessed from office computers at various Air Force bases.
Fine by us--the service invested a lot of dough in its IT network, and they can block whatever they want. I suppose there's a certain badge of infamy in joining the ranks of various porn sites, on-line casinos and various other outlets deemed inappropriate for our boys and girls in blue.
But we find the decision more than a bit ironic. So does veteran investigative reporter Susan Katz-Keating, who noted at her blog:
The series is not a hit job on the USAF. It is the product of meticulous, thoughtful reporting aimed at shedding much needed light. Seriously: We don't want to lose control of any of our nukes, ever. We need to learn from what happened at Minot. This report helps us do that.
That was our certainly our intent. Our Minot series is based on detailed interviews with various experts, including one of the service's most experienced nuclear weapons technicians, who has more than three decades of experience in that demanding career field. That source's reputation as a leader, manager and straight shooter is above reproach.
We should also note that our report does not contain any classified information. That was one of our ground rules in researching the series. As we've observed on numerous occasions, there are secrets that must be kept, even in a democracy. Some of those secrets involve the operational details our our nuclear weapons arsenal. Readers will find that our discussion of the actual incident--in terms of weapons and aircraft--was limited to what the Air Force has publicly disclosed.
And, for the record, we have never served with any of the key personalities involved in the Minot episode. So, the series isn't about settling old scores, or trying to make someone look bad.
Instead, the Minot story is one of human and system failings that triggered one of the nation's worst nuclear weapons mishaps. Those are the types of errors that (in our judgment) the public has a right to know about. More importantly, as Ms. Katz-Keating occurs, there is an opportunity to learn from this incident, and (hopefully) minimize the chances for similar accidents in the future.
In tomorrow's final installment of the series, we'll examine the long-term fallout from the mishap, and it's potential impact on the nation's security. As in previous articles, we will make every effort to present an objective assessment of the incident, based on what has been revealed so far.
For that, we make no apologies--even if it keeps us on the "blocked" list.