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Pentagon issues new policy on social networking

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says everyone from troops in the field to the highest brass and civilian leaders will be allowed to Twitter, blog and use Facebook and other social networking sites on the military's non-classified computer network.

The decision comes after a seven-month review in which Defense Department officials weighed the threats and benefits of allowing the wide use of emerging Internet capabilities.

The department issued a new policy Friday that essentially acknowledges that the Internet is a useful tool for recruiting, public relations and a myriad of other tasks.

To guard security, though, the new policy allows commanders to cut off access — on a temporary basis only — if that's required to safeguard a mission or reserve bandwidth for official use.