Alabama National Guard network disallowed access to Fox News while allowing CNN on Thursday
Yellowhammer News has obtained video and photographic material showing that the Alabama National Guard (ALNG) network had been allowing internet access to CNN but not to Fox News’ website on Thursday morning.
A video recorded by an ALNG noncommissioned officer shows that attempting to access FoxNews.com via the internet using an ALNG desktop computer resulted in the user instead getting a National Guard Bureau message boldly headlined in red, “Access denied.”
It read under that, “As per the National Guard Bureau’s Acceptable Usage Policy your requested URL has been denied.”
Meanwhile, using the same ALNG device and browser, access to CNN.com was allowed.
The National Guard Bureau is a joint bureau of the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force, in addition to being an agency of the Department of Defense. The Bureau holds the responsibility for administration of the U.S. National Guard, which is comprised of the National Guard in each state and the territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as well as the District of Columbia, for a total of 54 separate organizations.
A standard DoD acceptable use policy can be publicly accessed here.
Watch the video:
Editor’s note: The computer’s serial number was blurred out by Yellowhammer News in the above video and photo to protect the identity of the guardsman.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. W. Michael Houk, spokesperson for the National Guard Bureau, told Yellowhammer News in a phone call on Thursday shortly after 3:00 p.m. CT that Fox News’ website appeared to be accessible as of that time. He explained that network issues can sometimes inadvertently and temporarily result in access being denied to websites of all sorts.
Major Jacqueline D. Whitt is the deputy public affairs officer for the Alabama National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Montgomery, where she commands the 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
In an email to Yellowhammer News, Whitt stated, “For a very short period of time earlier today it appears that Fox News was not accessible on our network. Once the issue was discovered, it was brought to the attention of the National Level National Guard Network Management and was resolved rapidly. Fox News is normally available on our network and is currently available as of this email (3:32 p.m. CT).”
Whitt said the exact cause of FoxNews.com being unaccessible was not immediately known to her. Houk in an email advised the National Guard Bureau is working on getting that information for Yellowhammer News.
Following those emails, a second source inside the Alabama National Guard informed Yellowhammer News that they still could not access Fox News on the ALNG network as of 3:30 p.m. CT on Thursday. This second individual attempted access to the website from a different computer than the original source but got the same URL denial message. It should be noted that both of these sources utilized computers at the same site, which was not ALNG headquarters.
This story will be updated as more information comes in from the National Guard Bureau.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn