Monday, April 22, 2013

US Civil Air Patrol Sends Cease & Desist Letter to

On April 19, 2013, the general counsel for the United States Civil Air Patrol sent a "cease and desist" letter to Lindsay C. Blanton, founder and CEO of This site has a discussion forum, and a highly regarded frequency database used by most people in the radio hobby.

The matter concerns a CAP communications plan document which was made available by a poster to the forum some time ago. This document was and is considered to be  Unclassified - For Official Use Only (FOUO).

Here is the forum announcement from Lindsay Blanton, RR's founder and CEO:

RadioReference receives a Cease and Desist Demand from the Civil Air Patrol

We received a Cease and Desist demand from the Civil Air Patrol to remove a post that had a PDF attached of a CAP communications plan.

We've complied with the request for now pending further review of the legalities of the request.

This is followed by links to two pdf documents:

The 4/19 letter is NOT about government censorship, at least not on the surface. It refers to statutory protection of all CAP materials and documents from unauthorized commercial use:

As set forth in 36 USC §40306, Civil Air Patrol has the "exclusive right to name, insignia, copyrights, emblems, badges, marks, and words" the corporation adopts. Therefore, we reiterate that you are hereby directed to cease and desist in your use, publication, dissemination, distribution or reference to said document or file and refrain from the use or reference to the CAP name, logos, insignia, emblems, badges, marks and words or the use of any and all CAP e-mail lists for any commercial purposes. 

It is the prior email, from CAP Chief of Communications Malcolm C Kyser Jr, that has major ramifications for the radio hobby, by broadly invoking FOUO on content as well as delivery.  One part reads:

The reason for my concern is that the frequencies we use are granted to us by the Air Force and the DoD considers them “For Official Use Only”.


I know your readers are interested in monitoring the Civil Air Patrol but I’m sure none of them want to put our frequency support in peril. For this reason I am officially requesting on behalf of our organization that you delete the document from public view.

These word choices would seem to indicate that the CAP is claiming some official cloak of secrecy over the frequencies. While this sounds to your editor like bureaucratic butt-covering, the matter has still forced Utility World to exercise the "abundance of caution" that we're hearing so much about lately.

Therefore, the CAP frequency list, despite its being obtained completely by monitoring ALE soundings, has been temporarily deleted from this column's ALE list. It will be restored when and if the matter with has been further clarified.

It is understood that this decision is likely a total over-reaction, having little or nothing to do with the issues raised in these letters concerning sensitivity of unclassified official documents. Even so, the present national security climate dictates that over-reaction is preferable to no reaction at all.

We hope that readers will understand the reasons for this action.