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Military Exposes Investigation Data By Mistake

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-02

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Failure to properly edit a PDF file posted to a military web site reveals details of the investigation into the shooting of an Italian agent.

Military editors thought that by blacking out parts of a report would make them unavailable to viewers. They were wrong.

By simply using the Select Text feature of Acrobat Reader, users could view names of soldiers and their units manning Iraqi checkpoints, and other information about security and attacks in Baghdad.

"We need to improve our procedures. We regret this happened. We obviously didn't take sufficient precautions," said U.S. Air Force Col. Donald Alston.

Editors should have deleted the text from the documents, rather than simply trying to overlay them with black rectangles. According to Col. Alston, some of the information revealed was classified in nature.



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