Secret Internet Protocol Router Network Made Known By WikiLeaks

Sometimes called the “classified Internet”, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet for short, was a name largely known only within the Defense Department and military until a flood of classified documents were released by WikiLeaks. This article on Popular Mechanics attempts to explain what SIPRNet is and why it is important. Both SIPRNet and NIPRNet (Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network) is simply the way the Defense Department moves information around on computer systems. SIPRNet can handle classified information, up to the secret level, while NIPRNet is reserved for less sensitive unclassified information. Access to SIPRNet was expanded after the terrorist attacks of 9/11and the Pentagon estimates there are now about 400,000 to 500,000 SIPRNet users including account holders from the Pentagon, as well as other agencies like the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“That debate, according to retired Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, predates WikiLeaks. ‘There’s this natural friction between needing to share the information with the broadest range of people possible in order to make effective use of it,’ says Meyerrose, a Harris Corp. executive who was previously the chief information officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ‘There’s always the chance somebody will abuse it.'”

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