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US soldier fined for posting classified information

An Arizona national guardsman serving in Iraq has been demoted for posting classified information on his blog, an army official said.

Leonard Clark (40) was demoted from specialist to private first class and fined $1 640 said Colonel Bill Buckner, a spokesperson for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, on Monday.

Soldiers in Iraq are allowed to maintain blogs but cannot post information about army operations or movements. They also are barred from posting information about the death of a soldier whose family hasn’t yet been notified.

”The intent of the policy is not to violate soldiers’ rights, but to safeguard soldiers,” Buckner said. Blogs are ”a growing phenomenon, I guess. It’s something a lot of people do and has some uses.”

Buckner said he didn’t know what kind of classified information Clark had posted.

Clark’s blog contained two posts on Monday, one with links to articles on him and one stating Clark would comply with a gag order.

Calls to his home Monday by The Associated Press went unanswered and contact information for him in Iraq wasn’t immediately available.

Clark is a Glendale, Arizona, kindergarten teacher who has run unsuccessfully for the state Legislature four times. He could have appealed the ruling but declined to, Buckner said.

Clark’s company was called to active duty in November and has been in Iraq since around January, said Captain Paul Aguirre, a spokesperson for the Arizona national guard. The company is expected to be brought home next January. – Sapa-AP

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