The Deepwater defense contractor scandal has echoed from the halls of Congress across the World Wide Web, and despite being shut down by its ISP after posting documents considered central to the controversy, online resource Cryptome.org remains alive.
On May 7, Cryptome transferred its archives to Network Solutions, a move necessitated by a termination of service notice received from its previous Internet service provider, Verio, on April 18.
Since Cryptome was founded in 1999, Englewood, Colo.-based Verio had weathered a stream of complaints from people who took issue with controversial documents posted to the site's pages, yet the firm allowed the resource to remain online.
But on the same date that Cryptome's operator first posted key Congressional testimony about Deepwater -- a military procurement fraud scandal currently under investigation by Congress and the United States Department of Justice -- Verio suddenly gave the site two weeks notice to find another home.
Cryptome, founded and operated by John Young, a 72-year-old architect from New York, is an exercise in the dissemination of notorious information. Over the years the site has angered the likes of British Intelligence and the Japanese Ministry of Justice, along with stateside government and business officials, for posting declassified documents, photos, and maps that the groups weren't happy to see surfacing online.
In previous instances, Young claims that Verio customer support workers went to great lengths to inform him that Cryptome was being investigated, or that the ISP had received formal requests to take it offline. But the April termination notice came with no explanation, he said, with Young's contacts at the firm turning unresponsive and the company offering no specific details of the circumstances that led to its demise.
In a statement, Verio officials would give no hint of any factors that contributed to Cryptome's termination, other than stating that the site had violated its acceptable use policy.
"Verio's decision to terminate Cryptome in this instance resulted from a situation, different from those presented in the past that Verio was unable to reconcile with its [use policy]," the company said. "Based on this situation, Verio made the decision that a different course of action was required. Verio is confident that it has been fair and consistent in its approach to these matters, and stands by its decision in this instance."
While the ISP claims that it acted independently, and that it "respects the rights of its customers and those of third parties," Young, and others familiar with the Deepwater scandal contend that Verio folded to some form of outside pressure based on the testimony that was posted.
What else would explain the sudden change of position, questions Young, who wonders why the ISP worked amicably with the site in the past to edit or delete content that was proven to be somehow inappropriate or classified, before pulling the plug with no explanation mere hours after the Deepwater testimony went live.
"We typically get about a half dozen complaints per year where people make allegations or claim copyright protection, and there have been several incidents since September 11th where the government was involved, but Verio has always been very straightforward about handling things," said Young.