first_imgEarlier in the week, it was British defense officials who were red-faced over their own security screw-up that inadvertently leaked classified information to the Internet. Today, it’s US officials’ turn. Documents pertaining to the bomb-resistance and secure construction of the Pentagon Annex facility in Alexandria, Virginia were posted on a public website managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The documents were removed over 24 hours after Reuters notified the Corps and the Pentagon that the files, marked clearly “For Official Use Only,” were publicly accessible.The “For Official Use Only” tag means that while the documents aren’t classified, they should only be circulated through official channels, and that staff are expected to maintain professional confidentiality with regard to them. It also means that the documents aren’t for public consumption.The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the design and construction of the facility, called the Mark Center, which will be used to consolidate defense personnel currently scattered across the Washington DC metropolitan region. The Corps is taking the breach very seriously, but aside from removing the document from public view (even though a version of the document was available afterward in a Google cache) there isn’t much the Corps can do. Once something goes public on the Internet, it’s there forever.The document was clearly intended to be shared with defense contractors working with the Corps on the design and construction of the facility. The Corps, on the other hand, has remained quiet about who posted the document except to say they’re launching a full investigation to determine whether the error was due to a contractor’s mistake or a government employee.Perhaps the most notable information in the document that caused concern when it was leaked, was the minimal bomb-proofing effort that went into the construction. The facility was designed to withstand vehicle bombs outside the building of up to 220 lbs of TNT, which pales in comparison to the truck bomb that decimated the Federal office building in Oklahoma City. That bomb weighed in at close to 4,000 lbs of TNT.Still, the Oklahoma City building and the Mark Center are very different: one is a brand new office complex that overlooks a major interstate, but has entrances far from major roads. The other was a downtown office building with minimal security. Regardless, any leak of sensitive data, especially with regard to the defense capabilities of a military facility, is serious business. It’s unlikely the Pentagon will let the public know how the matter is resolved, but it’s almost certain that at the very least someone will lose their job over this.Read more at Reuterslast_img

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