The Pentagon restored Internet access Thursday to hundreds of unclassified documents that it recently took offline, including directives on myriad topics, from defining policies on conscientious objectors to displaying flags at half-staff.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that, a Web site that archives documents and news stories that have disappeared from the Internet, posted the directives shortly after the Defense Department removed them earlier this month.

Steven Aftergood, who reported the developments in his Secrecy News newsletter, said before access was restored that the disappearance was the latest example of public documents being taken down from government Web sites after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The directives are freely available in printed form and are used by contractors, job seekers and people with family members in the military, said Aftergood. He said his organization, the Federation of American Scientists, would invoke the federal Freedom of Information Act to challenge their removal.

"If we want an open and accountable government, we need this type of information in the public domain," Aftergood said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Aftergood credited the Pentagon with getting the message after being challenged.

"An optimist would be entitled to conclude that it is still possible, even under current conditions, to effect change in official secrecy policy, at least in a modest way," Aftergood wrote in his newsletter.

Source: SecurityFocus